Globalism, Neoliberalism and the Big Questions of Our Time 214

France is a standing affront to neo-liberals. Despite a failure to bow down to deregulation, despite extensive worker protections, despite complex health and safety, environmental and building regulations, despite strong and legally entrenched trade unions, France persists year in year in having productivity levels 20% higher than those achieved by unprotected, deregulated Britons. Despite the fact French workers put in 15% less hours per week, and refuse to be less Gallic.

You can find right wing economists who attempt to explain this away so as to make it consistent with the neo-liberal narrative. The most hilarious right wing propagandists like Professor Ryan Bourne argue that this is because the French economy, due to over-regulation, does not produce enough low skilled jobs. This is nonsense. There are not far less people picking vegetables, sweeping streets, serving coffee or washing restaurant dishes in France. A related argument is that high productivity somehow causes high unemployment. This is based on a strange fallacy that an economy is of a fixed size. If economic output was limited to x, then using less people to produce x would indeed cause unemployment. But I cannot readily conceive how stupid you would have to be to believe that. No, unemployment in France is caused by insufficient demand, which cannot be caused by high productivity. The answer to unemployment plus high productivity is a stimulus from public spending.

The truth of the matter is that deregulation does nothing to increase productivity. What deregulation does do is increase corporate profits, by decreasing workers pay and conditions, and decreasing public health and safety and environmental benefits. Deregulation transfers monetary and other goods from people to corporations. It is just a lie that it is anything to do with productivity – indeed the evidence is that a workforce with no job protection and few other rights is demoralised and less productive. That is certainly the obvious conclusion to draw from the comparison between France and the UK.

The concern on the left in France is that Macron is a creature of the corporations who wishes to introduce Anglo-Saxon style deregulation into France. This is, in a word, true.

Deregulation is a bad thing because it vastly reduces a whole stock of public goods.

Where confusion has arisen in public discourse is the notion, propounded also by neo-liberals, that globalisation and domestic deregulation go hand in hand. They do not and there is no reason at all that they should.

There are many definitions of globalisation, but I use it here as meaning the increasingly free movement of goods, capital and people around the globe. In that sense, I am a strong advocate of globalisation. Yet, at the same time, I am a strong opponent of deregulation.

Trade is a good thing. There are things that grow in different climates, there are raw material resources which make production particularly suitable in a particular location, there is local expertise and cultural flair. Trade has existed as long as men have existed, and is undoubtedly a common good. The increase in trade is a good thing too. There is not a single person in the UK who has not benefited from the massive fall in the consumer price of white and electronic goods caused by globalisation. I am today in Ghana where the availability of technical and trading partners from Turkey, Singapore, China etc, in competition with the traditional powers, is part of the revolution which has transformed the economy and the living standards of ordinary Ghanaians since 2000. The economy here grew by an average of over 7% over that entire period and is about to take off into higher regions again. (After a brief interlude of ultra-corrupt government very much sponsored by the USA and the multinational GE, but that is another story).

Globalisation is caused by a combination of technology and reduction of artificial barriers to trade and movement of people and money. It has beyond any doubt caused a huge amount of economic growth in Asia, and although from a very low base, in Africa too. Africa is the coming continent. The opponents of globalisation are those who wish to see a disproportionate amount of the world’s resources continue to be consumed in the old industrialised countries. They disguise this as protection of the working class.

Immigration does not depress living standards. Again, to believe that it does you would have to be extremely stupid and to imagine that an economy was a fixed size. If immigration depressed living standards, the United States and Germany would be among the poorest countries in the world. It is a complete and utter nonsense.

If it were not for immigrants, there would have been no growth at all in the UK economy for a decade, and absolutely no chance Britain could maintain its pensioner population. Immigration does not depress wages, it grows the economy. To take but one example, Polish immigration has contributed enormously to the British economy and to British society. It has given new economic opportunities to Polish people, and a Polish person is worth every bit as much as a British person. But the competition for Labour is also an upward pressure on wages in Poland, which is a good thing too.

I support globalisation very strongly as boosting the economies and raising the living standards of the entire world. That is the internationalist view.

But globalisation is not synonymous with the deregulation agenda. Neo-liberals have managed to establish in the public mind the idea that globalisation and domestic deregulation are necessarily part of the same process. The left has accepted the fight on this neo-liberal ground, with disastrous consequences to which I shall revert. But as is often my style when I say a truth outside the accepted political discourse, I am going to say this twice.

Domestic deregulation is not a necessary concomitant of globalisation.

Domestic deregulation is not a necessary concomitant of globalisation.

The neo-liberals, whose interest is that corporations rather than people profit from the process of globalisation, argue that domestic deregulation is necessary in the face of globalisation. This is the so-called model of the “race to the bottom”. Whoever pays the least, can shed labour easiest, has least health and safety and environmental regulation, will succeed in the global market. Therefore to face the challenges of globalisation, domestic protection must be dismantled.

I offer two irrefutable proofs that the neo-liberals are wrong:

1) France. And Germany too.

Annoyingly for the neo-liberals, many of the most regulated economies in the world continue to be the most productive countries in the world. This stubborn fact is extremely frustrating for the neo-liberals, and leads them to make fools of themselves coming up with the daftest possible explanations (see Ryan Bourne above). It is also why they are desperate to destroy the French model (see Macron above).

2) TTIP. And more or less every other multilateral trade agreement too.

Why did the neo-liberals have to stuff the proposed TTIP with proposals to destroy regulation within the EU market? If the neo-liberals believed their own propaganda about deregulation increasing productivity, then by a natural and ineluctable process the EU would be doing this as the invisible hand moved them to compete in the globalised market. But actually it is not a natural part of the process of globalisation at all, and has to be forced on by the corrupt political class in the pockets of corporations. Hence the deregulation provisions in the trade agreements, along with other corporation boosting measures like extra-territorial arbitration.

Frequent USA/EU rows over Boeing vs Airbus illustrate my point very well. Each accuses the other continually, and fines the other continually, over state subsidy. But within free trade, why is it of any interest how the state(s) trading mobilise their own internal resources? Again, if neo-liberals really believed what they say they believe, then by subsidising aircraft production a state is damaging its own economy massively elsewhere and opening up other comparative advantage opportunities for its trading partner. It makes no more sense for states trading to try to police their internal mechanisms, than for a car manufacturer to argue about where another car manufacturer places its canteen in relation to its production line.

How a state organises its internal resources, how much it pays people and how it protects its inhabitants from unfair dismissal, pollution or bad food, even how it subsidises a particular industry, cannot give it any unfair advantage across the whole range of trade with another state. The most economically productive and successful states are those which do regulate strongly for worker and general welfare and health, not those who raced to the bottom.

Domestic deregulation provisions are unnecessary, inappropriate and damaging to trade treaties.

You can reject deregulation without rejecting globalisation. That is a largely ignored intellectual position and it is one which the Left needs to adopt if it is to distinguish itself from the far right. In France, Macron represents the neoliberal position of embracing both deregulation and globalisation. LePen stands for the rejection of both. A worrying number of people who call themselves “left wing”, in France, throughout the media, and on this blog, allow themselves to flirt with the notion that LePen’s position is preferable.

The anti-globalisation angle that attracts the left is recidivist. In the name of protectionism it opposes the movement of capital, of goods and, its strongest emotional pull, of people. Here it blends neatly into the fascist agenda.

I argued earlier that those who oppose globalisation are opposing the trends which have pulled a huge proportion of the population of the earth out of extreme poverty in the last decade. I have argued that those who oppose globalisation were happy with a situation where a massively disproportionate share of the world’s economic resources was consumed by those in the first industrial world, and wished to return to that situation. This in itself is an inherently xenophobic position.

But they are also racist in another way. The process of domestic deregulation – a different process to globalisation – has massively increased wealth disparities in western states. The Tories are parroting that the top 1% of taxpayers pay 28% of all taxes. That is because the top 1% of taxpayers consume over 28% of all income.

The ultra-rich have distracted the mass of the people, who are suffering increasing and real poverty and an inability to acquire housing and other fixed capital.

The wealthy and their political and media propagandists have pointed to immigrants and persuaded people that it is not the obscene share of resources sucked out of the economy by the ultra-rich, but rather the productive immigrants who are responsible for their poverty. And people fall for it. This is the attraction of the racist dog-whistle on immigration blown by Trump. LePen, UKIP and now shamelessly by Theresa May and the Tories. Some who consider themselves Left fall for this racism to the extent they are prepared to tolerate LePen.

LePen is a genuine fascist. She is in the tradition of the Nazis and Vichy. Her chosen senior colleagues are Nazi sympathisers and holocaust deniers. She is the grossest of crude Islamophobes. I detest the lies and callousness of neo-liberals, their complete absence of empathy, but there is no moral equivalence between a neo-liberal and a Nazi, and it is ludicrous to pretend that there is. Anybody who does so is not welcome, as I have said, to comment on this blog. I have no desire to associate with Nazis. The rest of the internet is open to you.

The Left has failed to formulate a coherent intellectual response to globalisation, largely because they have fallen for the neoliberal intellectual trap of believing domestic deregulation to be a necessary concomitant. The rejection of internationalism has led some who consider themselves “left” to be attracted to LePen and fascism, at least to the extent they do not recognise her extreme evil. Anybody who has felt that should be deeply ashamed.

Nick Cohen’s book “What’s Left” identified tolerance of Islam as the weakness of the British and European Left. In fact he was diametrically wrong. The weakness is an abandonment of internationalism and a susceptibility to racist anti-immigrant dialogue.

214 thoughts on “Globalism, Neoliberalism and the Big Questions of Our Time

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  • Kempe

    ” France …. despite complex health and safety, environmental and building regulations ”

    Which anyone who’s ever had much contact with France will tell you are widely and openly ignored which is why the fatality rate amongst French workers is 3.0/100,000 compared to 0.5/100,000 in the UK and some parts of UK industry (construction in particular) are scary enough.

    That as you correctly say is the real price to pay for de-regulation but let’s not hold France up as an example of virtue here.

  • David

    Good article Craig. Globalisation has become synonymous with something more insidious though. It “feels” less like the sharing of global wealth and more like the accumulation of massive wealth into the hands of a few truly globalised companies, ergo a few individuals. Globalisation at street level has to do with the reduction of employment rights, job insecurity and the movement of lower paid jobs from countries with stronger workforce protection to country’s with little or no workforce protection. I personally fear globalisation, as country’s now start the inevitable race to the bottom ( or carry it on, depending on your world view) workers in higher wage higher regulation economies will pay the price. The consumer doesn’t get a better deal, the person working in the low reg. low wage country doesn’t get a better deal, the corporations who embrace the concept wholeheartedly and their owners will. Globalisation has seen the biggest transfer or wealth from the masses to the few since I was born. Hence the globalists view that deregulation is the answer to everything, its the answer to all their problems, and the beginning of all of ours.

  • David G

    “If immigration depressed living standards, the United States and Germany would be among the poorest countries in the world. It is a complete and utter nonsense.”

    Straw man argument. Maybe if their immigration was less their countries would be richer still: there are other rich countries which do restrict it. Contrariwise, would unlimited immigration, not just from Europe but the whole world, raise our income per person? (Real GDP per capita – any country can “grow” by letting more workers in.) Bearing in mind global warming, would all the contruction of houses, schools, hospitals and roads be a good thing?

    Is it a good thing for our hospitals to poach staff from poorer countries abroad who need them just as much because our hospitals are so wretched and demoralised they cannot retain their native staff? Immigration is an easy cop out for poor UK employers and does not help raise our productivity.

    Churchill said: “Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds?” Socialite: “My goodness, Mr. Churchill… Well, I suppose… we would have to discuss terms, of course… ”
    Churchill: “Would you sleep with me for five pounds?”
    Socialite: “Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?!” Churchill: “Madam, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the price”

    The same is true of immigration. 100 million in one year would be unwise: none in one year likewise. All we are doing now is haggling about the numbers, bearing in mind the systemmic constraints in the UK economy like the rate of house building.

  • bevin

    An interesting post, with much of which I agree.
    You are mistaken, though, on the central matter of international trade which, far from being an unalloyed benefit, is the cause of many of the worst problems that we face. There are two basic problems the capitalist trade model. The first is that it leads to the diversion of resources, including land and labour, away from the satisfaction of basic social needs to the production of commodities which can be sold on the international market for profits.
    The classic examples are the seizing of village peasant land in India to produce Opium and Cotton for export. Current examples include the use of farmland in Kenya to produce delicacies for European supermarkets and rice land in the Phillippines to produce flowers airfreighted to US florists.
    This helps cause the second big problem which is the massive inefficiency, in environmental terms, that the business of transporting cargoes-for no reason but to make profits half way around the world; cargoes which include agricultural surplus produces being ‘dumped’ in countries, such as Mexico, where the peasantry formerly produced their own food but now work for, low, wages and buy imported food to live on. Add to this the impact of farming methods, including excessive fertiliser use, genetic tinkering, insecticide use and the many other horrors of modern capitalist agriculture, including obscene animal husbandry practises, and the arguments to be made in favour of self-sufficiency, local markets and reducing international trade are irrefutable.
    The problem that Craig’s analysis suffers from is that, despite everything, he remains wedded to capitalism as a system, capable of solving the problems that humanity faces. Unhappily capitalism is the problem and its removal is becoming increasingly urgent.
    There is much more in the post to discuss and I look forward to reading what others, with more time, have to say about it.

    • Krief

      “where the peasantry formerly produced their own food but now work for, low, wages and buy imported food to live on.”
      I’d say being constrained to grow your own food is the definition of peasantry. Presumably the low wages are preferable to toiling in a field and only ever being a drought away from starving to death.

      But as you say, it destroys the environment. Far better for them to stay poor while we continue to live in relative luxury. Inequality is only a problem when it’s people richer than me, after all.

      • Michael McNulty

        The word peasant had a different connotation several hundred years ago, until the first Enclosure Act, whatever year that was. Until then a peasant owned a small parcel of land, usually granted for services in war or passed down to him. The land meant he could grow enough food for his family and graze a few animals and produce some surplus to sell, but more importantly it meant he was not beholden to the local lord and could not be required to fight for him, or made to provide labour on his land (corvée).

        This independence made peasants quite powerful politically, as is any man who cannot be compelled against his will and can tell the local aristocracy to beat it. The Land Enclosure Act passed ownership of the peasants’ land to the local lord, instantly leaving the peasants landless, homeless and without any means. Since then of course peasant means someone who is extremely poor.

    • craig Post author

      Thank you for those interesting thoughts.

      I am not a supporter of central planning. I think market demand better signals what should be produced. so a social democrat, I suppose. I have never claimed to be a socialist. But nor would I call myself a capitalist as I wish to see radical changes in enterprise ownership and in remuneration differentials which would prevent the kind of capital formation we are used to.

      • Resident Dissident

        I’d be interest in how this centrally planned non market version of international trade would work – it is not exactly as is COMECON was a wonderful success. Social democracy as a way of managing markets has been pretty successful in many European countries and social democratic ideas for managing international trade such as reserve currencies, including Kaldor’s Bancors which have been undergoing a bit of a revival, protection of infant industries etc also exist as well.

        I do think there has to be a more nuanced idea as to what makes effective regulation however – regulation such as in much of the world that hands power to bureaucrats (So that they can often extract bribes), or workers so there is no pressure to do their jobs properly, or protects oligopolies by raising barriers to new entrants, or just makes life difficult for the poor bloody customer is presumably not what any social democrat would want to see.

  • Martinned

    Maybe stick with what you’re good at. Some of the claims in this articles are quite right, others are so far off the mark they aren’t even recognisable as purportedly economic statements.

    Just to pick a couple of each:

    Annoyingly for the neo-liberals, many of the most regulated economies in the world continue to be the most productive countries in the world.

    Yes, and that should caution people about the use of productivity. Labour productivity depends on whether you measure it per hour worked, per day, or per fte, and in any case is quite obviously dependent on the amount of capital deployed. (Yay capitalism! Booh labour theory of value!) Total factor productivity is quite literally the bit of output change that cannot be explained in some other way, so it’s inherently murky too. In any case, you’d expect marginal productivity to be lower than average productivity, so deploying more capital and/or more labour should reduce average productivity. (The combination of all of which explain to some extent why high-capital, low-services, lower-labour deployed France and Germany have higher productivity than services-focused UK.)

    Domestic deregulation is not a necessary concomitant of globalisation.

    Amen! (Though harmonisation of regulations is.)

    What deregulation does do is increase corporate profits, by decreasing workers pay and conditions, and decreasing public health and safety and environmental benefits. Deregulation transfers monetary and other goods from people to corporations.

    Yeah, no. This is an example of the same “fixed cake” fallacy that you rightly mock elsewhere in the post. Deregulation does all of the things stated in the first sentence, while also increasing – or at least potentially increasing – the money paid out in wages. Not a transfer from the workers to the bourgeoisie.

    • craig Post author

      I studied economics at the Civil Service College where I was taught by people including William Keegan and Jeffrey Sachs. I was in charge of HMG’s economic reporting in turn from three different countries. I am chairman of four companies in three different countries, the largest of which is expected to turn over $50 million this year.

      Whereas you are just a very right wing lawyer who never had an original thought in his life. I don’t need you to patronise me over economic knowledge.

        • Macky

          Indeed; he come across as an immature attention-seeking know-it-all student, quoting soundbites from the texts he has to study, in order to sound clever, & to justify to himself his Right-wing views.

          • Macky

            I forgot to mention this classic bit of typical Craig schizo-hypocrisy :

            “Martinned, generally I enjoy your observations,” 26th April

            “you are just a very right wing lawyer who never had an original thought in his life.” 2nd May

            LOL ! 😀

          • Habbabkuk

            At least he comes up with substance as opposed to merely sniping at Craig (Macks) and false indignation plus virtue signalling (Spencer-Davis).

            No contest.

          • Macky

            No need to be for such blindingly obvious observations, such as you being a clown & a troll.

            BTW one sniping is that you do, pulling-up a Blog Host on a political blog for his political inconsistency, and hypocritical statements, is what happens, (shock ! horror !), on political blogs.

        • John Spencer-Davis

          I know precisely who Martinned is. I have not said so and will not say so on this forum as he clearly wishes to remain anonymous.

          • John Spencer-Davis

            And I don’t think you should have put it up. I have my own website, and I would not particularly appreciate it if anyone put it up here, because it’s not relevant.

          • John Spencer-Davis

            As far as I know he does not put his real name on that blog and he also just commented that he is varying his usual anonymity to share his qualifications, so clearly he does wish to remain anonymous on here.

            Yes, you do have a point, he could remove that link if he wanted to. But personally I would not pull out his personal comments to someone else and stick them up here. I wouldn’t want anyone to do that to me.

          • Macky

            @JSD, Sharp Ears did not reveal his real name, so your’s is still a silly moot point; funny kind of anonymity, he doesn’t reveal his name, but posts loads of photos of himself ! 😀

      • Martinned

        Since we’re comparing qualifications, let me vary my usual policy of anonymity a bit to note that I have a Ph.D. in economics and do economics for a living. (As for whether I’m also a lawyer, that depends on how you look at it. Not professionally at the moment, anyway.)

      • Salford Lad

        Would that be the Jeffrey Sachs who was responsible for the ‘Shock Doctrine’ policy of privitisation in Russia in the ’90’s. Which wrecked the Russian economy, created widespread poverty and caused many deaths. The beneficiaries were the Russian Oligarchs, funded by US Vulture funds.
        Modern Economics as taught in University has no basis in reality. When banks and money are not included in their DSGE models. They failed ignomously to predict the Great Financial Crash of 2007/8 and the next one which is overdue.

  • reel guid

    Robert Menard the Front National mayor of Beziers wanted to have the religion of every pupil in the city put on record. That is not untypical of the FN in local government. The things they do with local power they would do with national power.

  • David Venables

    Perhaps you’d like to offer an explanation as to why wages have stagnated, food banks are rampant, the Tory’s failed miserably to bring immigration down ( I venture that they had no intention of doing so. There were machine operators in the Brexit heartlands that were making £14.00 per hour in the early 200’s who were all layed off and replaced by Polish workers earning £7.00 per hour. These actions caused the wave of Brexit supporters and the anti polish rhetoric that went with it. Channel 4 reported on some enterprises hiring 100% Polish workers -I’m sure this did wonders for race relations. You need to get out more.

    • Martinned

      Because people with power decided to do those things? (Except for immigration, which the government has much less control over than it likes to claim.)

      As for hiring practices: Pret report than 1 in 50 of their job applicants is British. What are they supposed to do?

      • Stu

        “As for hiring practices: Pret report than 1 in 50 of their job applicants is British. What are they supposed to do?”

        Is the Pret claim nationwide or just central London? A British person is very unlikely to apply for a full time service job in central London.

        • Martinned

          Across their entire company, which is predominantly (but not exclusively) in London.

          And this:

          A British person is very unlikely to apply for a full time service job in central London.

          is of course exactly my point.

          (Although the same article also says they’re paying £8.85 an hour, which seems like a ridiculously low wage for London, and if I’m not mistaken below the incoming London living wage.)

    • craig Post author

      Yes that is very easy to explain. Deregulation, which is not due to Globalisation but quite a different process. May I ask if you are unable to read?

  • Ian Seed

    So now people who oppose globalisation are racist. If you voted for Brexit you are racist too.

    I think we should club together and get you a dictionary Craig.

  • Ian Seed

    You say “Domestic deregulation is not a necessary concomitant of globalisation.” But that is EXACTLY what Macron is going to deliver. And you know it.

    You’ll see exactly what you get from Macron. He is not about your “good” version of globalisation, ie the increased international trade etc. He is for the banks. First last and always.

    And for more war in Syria.
    And to hell with being friends with Russia.

    You’ll see exactly what you get from that horrific globalist Rothschild hologram sock puppet if he gets in and all your attempts to intellectualise why he is alright are thrown out the window.

    • craig Post author

      My you are stupid, Ian, I said precisely that Macron will deliver deregulation. Of course I know it, I said it. Fuckwit.

      • Habbabkuk


        “My you are stupid, Ian, I said precisely that Macron will deliver deregulation. Of course I know it, I said it. Fuckwit.”


        In my report on this thread, make I take the above comment of yours as indicating that Ian’s seed – like that mentioned in the Old Testament – has fallen on stony ground?

    • Wolsto

      He could steal my lunch money, punch a baby in the face, and turn the Louvre into a McDonalds, and he’d still be better than a fascist like Le Pen.

      • K Crosby

        He could behave like a fascist and be better than a fascist? Fascism is in behaviour not “identity”, which is a diversion from the class struggle.

  • Ian Seed

    You state “Immigration does not depress wages, it grows the economy”

    Well that’s a nonsense. One does not preclude the other. Yes, the economy might grow – but that does not grant you higher wages as a given fact. Try telling any plumber or brickie in London that immigration did not depress wages.

    • Bhante

      Immigration under globalisation is not a free-for-all. The conditions are set by the interests of the corporations in securing the lowest possible labour costs. That is precisely why the “freedom of labour” and of course also the “freedom of capital” are essential to the EU project. And it is precisely why the end result is that the workers of economically poorer countries travel to countries here the wages are higher, causing the wages there to fall – because that was the explicit purpose of the policy, to get cheap labour for the corporations. I have nothing against causing the workers of poorer countries to find a way of increasing their incomes, but it is not as simple as that. The core tenet of globalisation is that corporations can shop around for the cheapest labour markets and the cheapest raw materials much more effectively than the workers can shop around for the best wages and the best working conditions. It is not a level playing field.

      As Ian Seed implies, a plumber in London has to compete with immigrant plumbers from poorer economies offering their services at a lower price, and so the London plumber suffers a negative result from immigration. That has absolutely nothing to do with racism, it has everything to do with economics and exploitation by globalised corporations.

      It seems to me this cuts right to the core of your diatribe on immigration and ‘racism’, Craig.

      • Martinned

        You’re the ones who spent the last few decades electing politicians who advocated union busting. Blame them, blame your fellow voters, don’t blame globalisation.

        Unions are important for exactly the reason you (and Craig in the original post) set out: they allow workers to negotiate more effectively, so that the gains from trade are divided fairly and so that effective incentives for innovation and/or productivity improvement are created. You can have too much of a good thing, but also too little.

        Either way, none of this has anything to do with the EU, which (in its Charter of Fundamental Rights) explicitly recognises “the right of everyone to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his or her interests”.

    • Bhante

      “Immigration does not depress wages, it grows the economy”

      It depresses the wages for some, and inflates the wages for others. Likewise it grows the (relevant part of the) economy for some, and deflates it for others. The yuppies benefit disproportionately, while the poor suffer disproportionately.

      • Martinned

        The yuppies benefit disproportionately, while the poor suffer disproportionately.

        Only if there is no/insufficient redistribution. Which is within the gift of the relevant people to vote for/against.

    • Theresa's EU pawn

      plumbers and brickies in London are paid far more than in the outlying provinces. London is totally unsustainable and many brickies come there to make money from exactly those area’s.
      That there are never enough brickies who can stand the pace and do the job is down to educating them better.

  • mog

    Surely, if we follow your argument faithfully to its conclusion, then we are morally obliged to open our borders to anyone from around the world. If captital, goods and services can and do move essentially freely accross our borders then to fulfill the criteria of your definition of globalisation, people must too. We are morally obliged to make this happen today.
    What would happen is obvious. That this will not happen is obvious.
    You start from a false premise. There is no globalisation as you define it. People are not able to move freely around the world and your citing of Polish workers’ migration is a narrow example that omits this crucial point.
    The thing that I take away from Marx’s analysis, the thing that seems to me to be indisputable is the labour theory of value. We are rich in the UK, primarily because we benefit from the value extracted from coerced labour in other countries around the world. It is indisputable.
    I am all for the free movement of people, for making borders obsolete. This though cannot happen under a state capitalist system, no matter how ‘utopian’ you regard the alternative.
    Contrary to what you write, I think that the Left have been the only political strand to have acknowledged that the disparity of wealth accumulation that was seen locally in Britain at the beginning of the industrial revolution was maintained by the same mechanism as global inequality is today.

    Aside from this point, you don’t mention the environmental catastrophe or the massive distortion of democracy from the rise of globalised market actors that are a consequence of globalised trade gone max.
    Enough is enough. Capitalism is a zombie walking.

    • Martinned

      31When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

      34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

      41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

    • craig Post author


      Very true though I think it is reasonable to administer the process to minimise dislocation effects. I have never been able to persuade any of my Ghanaian friends to move to Scotland, they object to the climate.

  • Macky

    Not surprising that a pro-EU Globalist would admit to reading a book by Nick Cohen !!

    • craig Post author

      I read a huge amount. I have read a great deal of Marx, not only Capital. I have read things I profoundly disagree with, like Nietzsche and even bits of Hitler, in order to understand them. And not just great thinkers – I have indeed read one of more thing by Cohen, and Aaronovitch. I have even read Andrew Marr’s book. If you read stuff you don’t agree with too. Macky, you might be less stupid.

      • Robert Thain

        Someone of your background should not be calling those who post here ‘fuckwits’ or ‘stupid’, even if you consider they are. Please reconsider how you respond – you should really be above that.

        • craig Post author


          Generally I don’t, but I am engaged in a deliberate effort to drive certain commenters away from the blog. The “someone from your background” idea is a misconception. I seldom swear, but I heard more swearing from very senior people in government (John Kerr and Nigel Sheinwald come to mind and any number of senior New Labour people) than I ever have anywhere else.

          • Sharp Ears

            Came across Sheinwald’s name today when looking for the Shell board.

            ‘Sir Nigel Sheinwald GCMG
            Non-executive Director
            Born June 26, 1953. A British national, appointed a Non-executive Director of the Company with effect from July 2012.

            He was a senior British diplomat who served as British Ambassador to the USA from 2007 to 2012, before retiring from the Diplomatic Service. Prior to this, he served as Foreign Policy and Defence Adviser to the Prime Minister and Head of the Cabinet Office Defence and Overseas Secretariat. He served as British Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the European Union in Brussels from 2000 to 2003. He joined the Diplomatic Service in 1976 and served in Brussels, Washington, Moscow and in a wide range of policy roles in London.

            He is a Non-executive Director of Invesco Limited and Raytheon UK, a Senior Adviser to the Universal Music Group and a Visiting Professor and Council Member of King’s College, London.’

            Says it all.

            Shell are decommissioning the Brent oil rigs one by one and have decided to leave the massive rig legs in situ sticking out from the water. I consider that this poses a terrible danger to shipping especially in storms in those far Northerly waters.

            Shell begins huge task of decommissioning Brent oil rigs
            After a decade of planning and consultation, removal of Brent field rigs built in 1970s could take up to 10 years to complete

          • Habbabkuk

            Sharp Ears

            re. Nigel Sheinwald

            “Says it all.”

            What does it say, Sharp Ears? Tell us. And if you’re unable to for Heaven’s sake stop posting such drivel day in and day out.

          • Sharp Ears

            ‘Says it all’ refers to his connection to Raytheon UK as a director which you appear to have missed. I suppose you know that they are manufacturers of weapons for use by the gangsters-in-charge.

            Find out what they produce and on which peoples their products are used.

            These for starters.
   See a mention of Paveway?

            They have a presence at RAF Waddington from where the UK runs its hideous extra-judicial-killing-by-drone programme.

            Trust this is sufficient for your purposes.

            PS Perhaps you could tell us all about your own career in the FCO.

          • Habbabkuk

            Sharp Ears

            “‘Says it all’ refers to his connection to Raytheon UK as a director”


            Not really an answer, is it.

            What does the fact that Nigel Sheinwald is a director of Raytheon “say” ?

            Develop your thinking and tell us.

            If you dare.

        • craig Post author

          Macky in the case of the Cohen book I did not read every word but enough of it to get the arguments and guage the level of evidence adduced. Same with Aaronovitch’s Voodoo Histories, for example. How do you argue with people without knowing their arguments?

      • Mike

        Are you pissed? I’ve never before read so much venom coming from you on this blog. For all your undoubted intelligence, you’re often so wrong about so many issues. It seems you are only able to believe what you want to believe, and you still have a very narrow closed mind despite all your reading.

  • fred

    “Immigration does not depress living standards. Again, to believe that it does you would have to be extremely stupid and to imagine that an economy was a fixed size.”

    Then the Community Activist in Govan who was just on Radio 4 must be extremely stupid. He’s under the impression that the population in his area has doubled due to the influx of immigrants but the money available to provide services has dropped considerably. He thinks this has led to overcrowding leading to infestations of rats and parasites.

    I am in favour of freedom of movement for people, I’d like there to be no borders in Europe, all one people but it has to be done right. If the population increases increase refuse collection, medical and social services, build more schools and employ more teachers. It’s looking to me like the government is deliberately creating slums and ghettos so the people will rise up against immigration while the politicians do their virtue signalling.

    • Martinned

      the money available to provide services

      Translation: The Tories cut the budget available to the local council.

      So why not blame them?

      • Wolsto

        Exactly, Martinned. If there is a shortage of housing, wages, local services and effort towards community cohesion it’s because the budget to afford any or all of them has been slashed by some millionaire Tory politician, while they point accusingly at anyone with a funny sounding name.

  • David Venables

    “I support globalisation very strongly as boosting the economies and raising the living standards of the entire world. That is the internationalist view.”

    In which case unlike myself you have never worked in a mutinational corporation. At $0.75c per hour fully loaded overhead cost for manufacturing in China versus $7.65c for manufacturing in UK in the 1980’s I can assure you that making the decision to transfer manufacturing from UK to China had nothing to do with boosting the Chinese economy and raising the living standards of the world believe me.

      • David Venables

        I doubt over the short term that the wages paid in China had significant impact on peoples quality of life. Likewise the 4500 people in the UK who were made redundant probably didn’t subscribe to this theory. In the long term as robotics and AI are introduced it will make sense for manufacturing to be be done near to the customers and markets they serve. This short term exploitation of cheap labour will eventually come to an end.

  • Laguerre

    Actually I don’t agree that Macron is going to be a neoliberal deregulator. Not as such. France has been through all this before. Firstly Sarkozy went at Thatcherite deregulation like a bull at a gate, and failed. And again, Hollande’s law of el Khomry wasn’t really a success, and that was supposed to be designed by Macron. He is not going to be raring to go at slashing right and left. After two defeats, whatever’s done will be done with circumspection. Which means in effect not neoliberal deregulation, just a degree of liberalisation at the most.

    True that he is a banker, but then so is May, and deregulation is far from her main banner. Macron’s family tradition is also not deregulatory – he comes from a family of bourgeois doctors “en province”. Such people go for a traditional French life, not the destruction of French values. Sarkozy was very different; he was not at all embedded in French traditions, so he was free to abase himself before the deity of US capitalism, but also free not to get re-elected.

    • Stu

      Looking at his policy platform he seems to planning a demented round of deregulation and theft.

      1) ”REMAKE THE FAILED & VACUOUS POLITICAL SYSTEM” (translation: maintain the same political system but curtail people’s ability to protest or initiate change)

      2) ”RELAX LABOUR LAWS” (translation: cut protection for workers)

      3) “CUT BUSINESS TAXES” (translation: make the wealthy wealthier in the name of “stimulating the economy” or some such nonsense words)

      4) “REFORM UNEMPLOYMENT SYSTEM” (translation: cut or eradicate protection for those rendered unemployed by the above two policies)

      5) “ENCOURAGE SOCIAL MOBILITY” (translation: give the above jobs to illegal immigrants working for slave wages under threat of forcible repatriation)

      6) “CUT PUBLIC SPENDING – BUT BOOST INVESTMENT” (translation: destroy public health, schools, infrastructure and “invest” the money in the 1%’s multiple homes, nuclear bunkers and private planes)

      7) “SHRINK PUBLIC SECTOR” (translation: make the above as permanent an arrangement as possible by selling off public assets at ridiculous rates to Macron’s banker chums )

      8) “REDUCE NUMBER OF MPS” (translation: accelerate erosion of representative democracy)

      9) “ESTABLISH EUROZONE GOVERNMENT”(translation: one step closer to global control)

      10) “HIRE 10,000 MORE POLICE AND GENDARMES” (needs no translation – when you’re destroying people’s livelihoods and living standards you need a lot of men with guns to keep them quiet).

      I’m not sure why you would campaign on this unless you meant it?

      • Laguerre

        “I’m not sure why you would campaign on this unless you meant it?”

        Because he thinks it will go down well with the voters? That’s normally why people say things before elections.

      • Laguerre

        In any case you’re quoting an off-guardian statement of his policies (repeated from the Graun), not quoting the man himself. To a voter, the original might sound OK for reviving the French economy. And as I said, he’s unlikely to get a radical programme through, or even try.

    • Habbabkuk

      Sarko was the first and only French President of the Vth Republic since Georges Pompidou ( a normalien) not to have attended ENA. Make of that what you will….

  • Bhante

    I think the “Big Question of our Time” is whether neoliberal globalisation (aka the western establishment) are able to consolidate their check-mate on the whole world at this critical time, thereby enabling the completion of the greatest fascist project of all time, or whether a few people are going to throw a spanner or two into the works.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    So, regulated globalism is the cry?

    How the hell do you regulate globally? And unlimited growth is (a)great? (b) desirable? I fear you are buying the sweet reasonableness of those in whose interests global homogenisation and suppression of the individual really works. More later, perhaps.

    • Martinned

      How the hell do you regulate globally?

      By having global or at least regional democracy, like the institutions that the UK is currently in the process of Brexiting. That’s Brexit in a nutshell: going from being democratic rule-makers to being rule-takers.

  • Fellow de se

    The left doesn’t need to formulate a coherent response to globalization. ECOSOC, UNCTAD, and the G-192 have already done that. The befuddled discontent of ‘the left’ is an artifact of the propaganda bell jar sealing US satellites off from initiatives of the outside world. US indoctrination has produced this remarkable public agnosia that hides everything outside the Bretton Woods ambit. So the rest of the world will leave the US bloc behind until its retrograde development reaches the terminal stage.

  • Seydlitz

    FFS this capitilism in operation it amazes me how over two centuries why the working class has not fucked these parasites into the dustbin of history.

    • Seydlitz

      You cannot alter the laws of capitalism,all the reforming ideas have not worked, the example of post war Britain is the great example the the much vaunted NHS is in the mode of being returned to private operation.

  • mog

    The opponents of globalisation are those who wish to see a disproportionate amount of the world’s resources continue to be consumed in the old industrialised countries.

    Does this include organisations like Global Justice Now? In my experience the greatest opponents of the kind of globalisation that exists today are those most passionate about addressing global inequality.

    You write:
    I argued earlier that those who oppose globalisation are opposing the trends which have pulled a huge proportion of the population of the earth out of extreme poverty in the last decade. I have argued that those who oppose globalisation were happy with a situation where a massively disproportionate share of the world’s economic resources was consumed by those in the first industrial world, and wished to return to that situation. This in itself is an inherently xenophobic position.

    From Global Justice:

    Back in 1981, when the free market revolution was just taking off, there were 288 million people in sub-Saharan Africa living on less than $2 a day (205 million were living on under $1.25 a day). By 2008, this figure had almost doubled to 562 million (386 million on under $1.25 a day). Of course the region’s population has also increased over this period, but even proportionally, there has been almost no improvement in poverty rates in sub-Saharan Africa since 1981.
    Other continents have done a little better but mostly because of the arbitrary measure chosen: the proportion of people living on under the equivalent of what $1.25 a day would buy you in the USA in 2005. It has been argued that the figure should be closer to $5 a day as anything less than that would not cover the basic cost of food and other essential needs.
    Changing this poverty line radically changes the picture. So if you take a poverty line of $1.25, poverty fell 27 per cent between 1981 and 2005. But if you have a more realistic poverty line of $2.50, the number of people in poverty actually rose by 15 per cent over the same period of time.
    The problem is not an issue of whether national deregulation and globalisation are intrinsically linked, but rather a question of whether regulation happens at a national or international level, or, ultimately, whether it is democratic.
    A global market that is regulated at the national level is a chimera. Markets and governments are two sides of the same phenomenon, so there is no choice but to have some form of global governance of a global market place. The current form of global governance is one that is wholly undemocratic and imperial in nature.

  • Seydlitz

    Le pen is not a facist in the meaning of 1930,s Western Europe, she a ardent nationalist who like many in Europe want to return the glories of a dominant nation state.

    • Martinned

      Well, that and throwing out all the brown people, abolishing the rule of law and generally all checks and balances. You’re welcome to call that something other than fascism, that won’t change the ugliness of the ideology.

  • RobG

    What I don’t see mentioned in Craig’s piece is the ‘American Empire’, which is essentially what ‘globalisation’ means in the modern context.

    To maintain hegemony, the Empire has to maintain the dollar as the world’s currency.

    This largely involves dropping lots of bombs on defenseless countries who try to get out of the American sphere of influence.

    I love the smell of globalisation in the morning.

    • lysias

      The American empire has morphed into the moral equivalent of Nazi Germany. What does that say about how we should view a supporter of that empire?

      • Martinned

        The American empire has morphed into the moral equivalent of Nazi Germany.

        Glad to see you’re not exaggerating.

        • Macky

          I take it you have not read through the torture reports of those caught up in the so-called “War on Terror”; murder, & the torture of children, are documented ; the details contained in even the heavily censored reports that saw the light of name, reveal sadistic barbarism, and sadistic barbarism is sadistic barbarism whoever commits it; frightful to imagine what’s contained in the suppress material that they still dare not release.

    • Theresa's EU pawn

      From the website you quoted.
      ” Le Pen addresses the fundamental interests of the vast- majority of French workers, farmers, public employees, unemployed and underemployed youth and older workers approaching retirement.”

      Marine Le pen advocates leaving the EU and here is were the farmers will not follow. Are you looking forward to see French farmers competing, together with UK/Scottish and Welsh farmers competing on a global world market distorted by state subsidies? It would result in a revolution within two years of leaving the EU, France can’t afford to subsidies its farmers, nor can the UK.

  • lysias

    Craig ignores the war agenda of the neoliberals, which threatens to exterminate the human race.

    • RobG

      lysias, I have to stress again that I’m talking about the *American government*, and not the American people, when I bang on about the heinous things that occur in this world.

      How Craig can write a lengthy piece about globalisation, et al, without mentioning the role that the US Government plays, is beyond me.

      • craig Post author

        As you well know, I have addressed that on numerous occasions. It is simply a device to transfer resources from ordinary people to certain corporations and interests, as first diagnosed in J A Hoson’s Imperialism. I don’t have to reprise everything I ever wrote in every new post to account for your selective memory, when you are just angry at being called out as racist for your views on immigration.

        • RobG

          Craig, I’m not quite sure what you mean by calling me a ‘racist’, when you blatantly allow right wing loons to post in these comment sections.

        • Habbabkuk


          Just for the record;

          You incurred Macky’s majestic displeasure before you ever called him a racist (if you ever did). It goes back to the time when you called him an idiot.

          • Macky

            And you wonder why I call you the Habba-Clown; Craig was bizarrely called RobG a racist, not me; yes I, along with many others who sometimes find themselves in disagreement with Craig, often are referred to as an idiot or stupid by him, but that doesn’t bother me; however what does bother me is hypocrisy, and further what really revealed Craig’s true nature, was his disgusting attempt to firstly blame the victims of the Odessa Massacre for their own murders, because initially according to Craig, they were almost all definitely paid Russian agitators, and to finally put the blame not the real Ukrainian Fascists who actually murdered these people, but on Putin ! That is some sort of sick Russophobia, where you can even excuse Neo-Nazi murderers, and some sort of sick hypocrisy to now claim you are against the Le Pen because of her association with fascism.

  • Seydlitz

    Since when has the mass of the working class has any say or influence over the workings of international finance or trade. They are the ones who dependant on where global capital invests their money they the
    are either poor or are or relevantly afluent .This a precarious situation where profite beckons money and jobs follow.

  • Macky

    Funny how Craig who is apparently so strongly opposed to fascism, doesn’t seem to remember that one definition of fascism is the marriage of corporation and state; his promotion of Globalism is effectively the promotion of Corporate States, where States exist to primary serve the business elite. Western State Fascism is behind the unending war on the Third World, because looting & spreading death & destruction, is a top money spinning for our elites; you would of thought he would be aware of this given his background !

    • craig Post author

      Macky, the precise opposite of what I argued in my piece, which is that states should regulate and interfere in the domestic economy to protect people from corporations.

      I have had enough of your continued lies and distortions.

  • nuck

    Besides which, UN special procedures have implicated the US in systematic and widespread murder and torture. The systematic and widespread threshold makes these US actions crimes against humanity. In law, crimes against humanity have been defined as doing what Nazis do. So this distinction between supporters of US state predation and Poujadists like LePen makes no sense. LePen advocates discrimination. The US advocates violence. Both are illegal under ICCPR Article 20. Both ideologies have salvageable bits and it would be priggish to suppress all discussion of those.

  • Seydlitz

    Graig you can read many books on economics and polotics it is what you reason behind them,the World is ruled by the elite,all the masses the majority are slaves to the rule they endorse,democracy does not exist.

  • Deepgreenpuddock

    One of the features of recent times in politics is the failure of the left. For a long time now i have been saying that the left needs to re-invent what, for want of a better word, is ‘the commons’ or a redefinition of our collective interests and the responsibility of ALL for the development and the maintenance of the things that define our collective interests. I am not sure how much this chimes with the idea of ‘regulation’ but there is possibly a problem with the word ‘regulation’ as it seems to contradict the development of individual freedoms and the expression of self which has been enabled by the internet. In a sense personal identity anf the idea (I suspect bogus) of personal instrumentality has replaced our community identity. This is reflected in many many ways, including the collapse /rapid change of the traditional political tribes.
    If i have a criticism of the essay above, it is not the condemnation for neoliberalism, which is beyond dispute a destructive and anti-constructive( dismantles human activity systems and simplifies rather than builds). It is a set of values that it does not ‘dream’ it is utilitarian. The problem however is that we cannot uninvent technology which os certainly a defining aspect of the current condition and we are also seeing the effects of shrinking resources/greater competition for resources as billions of mainly Asian but also African people, aspire to the levels of consumption that the west has enjoyed for decades. So the problem os the environment and the dilemma that poses for growth of any kind.

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