The backlash against globalisation
Sir, – The global financial crisis of 2008, as predicted, fired a significant backlash against globalisation, evident in a steady growth of nationalism, coming to a head, for example, in Britain’s Brexit debacle and its consequences for Ireland.
Theresa May promised “a truly global Britain” outside the European Union – a promise that stirred up a torrent of opposition from those who wished to stand firm on their desire for increased autonomy in running the affairs of state.
The political mood was steadily embittered.
Populist rebellions, such as that in France, are clear indications that globalisation is out of favour; people are losing the appetite for economic adventures beyond their familiar national and cultural boundaries.
Nationalism and protectionism are both on the march, propelled by a growing number of populist politicians.
Since the days of Seán Lemass, the natural inclination of Irish leaders has been to follow the globalisation route, encouraging international trade and investment but, like all who follow this centrist line, are under attack from both right and left.
For the nationalist right, exemplified by Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Rally (formerly known as the National Front) in France, international trade deals are an example of how a globalised elite betrays the interests of those seeking to develop local businesses.
Those on the far-left point to the alleged sins of multinational companies, seen as thriving on tax avoidance and money laundering.
The backlash against globalisation has been intensified through the rhetoric of US president Donald Trump.
There is a growing fear among globalists that he and fellow anti-globalists will undermine some of the rules that facilitate international trade and investment.
Ireland, flooded by multinational companies, has a booming economy; it fails to be deterred by the Irish suspicion that it cannot last. However, Irish suspicions are frequently shown to be sufficiently grounded as to fall just short of predictions. – Yours, etc,