They are not able to adapt and adjust to the effects of globalization and the

They are not able to adapt and adjust to the effects

This preview shows page 11 - 13 out of 25 pages.

is a winner. They are not able to adapt and adjust to the effects of globalization and the repercussions of technol- ogy, but do not want to admit it. Therefore, they buy into the slogans of blaming foreigners and rolling back the changes, so their jobs that were outsourced or victims of technology can come back.
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22 THE INTERNATIONAL ECONOMY WINTER 2019 Many such workers are the backbone of the industrial age—skilled manufacturing workers doing jobs that have disappeared and will never come back. Many are destined to a miserable life with no prospect of solutions to their problems. The establishment has failed and let these workers down. It withdraws into its own shell without much com- municating with the social losers. It also focuses globally while the social losers become more and more inward- looking and nationalistic. A huge gap opens up between those who think they have the right to lead and those whom they are supposed to lead. Democracy has failed to deliver solutions. In reality, it has brought about deeply divided nations, allowing a monopolization of economic wealth and political power to take place. This becomes an existential problem because the populists want the society of yesterday. That is the lesson from Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. This is out of reach and cannot be delivered, but creates a platform for those promising to do so. The situation is not unlike the build-up to the French Revolution in 1789. Clear-sighted people saw the prob- lems, but could do little about them due to past mistakes, the elite refusing to give up privileges, and the system not susceptible to fending off the growing discontent. The lie is that the rise in inequality is something that happened, not the result of conscious policy. DEAN BAKER Senior Economist, Center for Economic and Policy Research I n the United States, the pay of a typical worker has badly trailed productivity growth over the last four de- cades, allowing only marginal improvements in living standards over this period. At the same time, a small num- ber of people have gotten incredibly rich in the finance and tech sectors and by being top executives in major U.S. corporations. There is a similar, if somewhat less stark, picture in most other wealthy countries. The standard story for this rise in inequality is that this is just the inevitable course of globalization and technology. While many in the elite may feel bad for those left behind, and even propose policies to help them, the line is that the rise in inequality is something that hap- pened, not the result of conscious policy. That is a lie. And the persistence of this lie is one of the reasons that populist politics has so much resonance in Europe and the United States. There was nothing inevitable about who would be winners from technology and globalization. Those who won have been successful because they wrote the rules and run the institutions. It is that simple.
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