I suggest there are two key points in common between the nomination of Donald Trump as the republican candidate, and the ‘Brexit’ vote in the United Kingdom:
- the failure of our economic system to deliver distribute of increased economic wealth
- a backlash against immigration
The first point is that we have created a disconnect between a strong economy, and wealth of most individuals. This has created a situation where people are desperate for change, and do not believe economic growth alone will deliver for them as individuals. Trump and Brexit offer what can be seen as trying something different, even though in both cases the ‘establishment’ says the economy will suffer. People want their own circumstance to improve, and have lost faith that improving the economy will improve their personal outcomes.
The “it’s the economy stupid” from the Bill Clinton presidential campaign, is out of date. Now it has to be “here is why it will get better for normal people”.
Also in common between the Brexit proposition, and the platform of Donald Trump, is at least caution towards immigration. Is this simply a rise of xenophobia, or is there an underlying reason for rise of this sentiment.
In the developed world, internal population growth has basically slowed to a halt. Now population growth is almost entirely driven in developed countries from immigration. Could it be that the same instinct responsible for smaller families, also creates an inner desire to not find a new way to expand the population?
Is it that the world has simply become too crowded? Already, almost 1 in 100 people are displaced and have no home country. Humanity has just gone through an unprecedented growth in population. Many people have worried about producing sufficient food for the expanding population, but perhaps unwanted displaced people will be the biggest problem from the growing population?
Whatever the reason, simply declaring people are wrong in fearing immigration is not the solution.
Our current economic system evolved for the growth age that ended forever with the GFC. The world needs focus on how to adjust our economic system, and better solutions to providing for all of the global population. These are not small challenges addressed by minor tweaks to what is happening now. That there needs to be real international attention to these problems of the level currently given to global warming. I will post more on both topics.