The determination of the Trump administration to take on China as a manipulator in trade and finance is at a key stage. Yet it should be explained why he has so much internal opposition from politicians and corporations and unless the conflicted loyalties to Wall Street as against Main Street are laid out, it cannot be put into proper perspective. The distinction is clear now and must be taken into consideration.
While we have known about “globalism” as a concept, and as an industrial label, for many years (the “world car” etc ), the left doesn’t hold its opposition to it on its own now. In this modern era the left supports (and is funded by) billionaires who profit from the new order and for whom the one world, no borders type of social system resonates and is praised. By contrast, adhering anew to the descriptor of “Nationalist”, or more often used (by both supporters and critics) “Populists” is anathema to them. For the new world order, it is as shown in the previous post, Clinton cabinet member Robert Reich laid out the new economics quite clearly, including this especially:-
“…there will be no national products or technologies, no national corporations, no national industries. There will no longer be national economies, at least as we have come to understand that concept..” and so on
Why Main Street, why Wall Street?
Used to differentiate the new Wall Street economy from the old economy, that traditional economy was the one which made things, traded things, both internally and internationally. It was the engine of production in each country and through which mutual benefit allowed export trades (yes “free” or tariff-managed trade) to continue when mutually beneficial to the various countries.
It is a narrative that contrasts that Main Street with the modern “Wall Street”. This latter grouping doesn’t merely trade the shares of the traditional corporations on the value of their productivity, efficiency, profits etc, but now, with the traditional hedging (on the trading of actual products) morphing into the broad derivatives per se. And it is solidly international, with multi-national corporations being the key; where various parts of its organisation are in various countries, often far from its nominal head office.
Corporations operate out of multiple countries, tax havens and so on, but it is only in relatively recent years that we realised that the idea of national boundaries have been rejected and in recent decades that those same “national” corporations rejected “country” or “nation” and now have no loyalty to anything but profit and shareholders. As recent financial crises came and went, especially the Global Financial Crisis, with its derivatives crash, the idea of Too Big to Fail, the crisis of the Eurozone, with the Greece bailout etc, only then did the issue come clearly into public consciousness.
But it was the loss of jobs and industries from various countries that made the big leap from consciousness to demands for action; from supposedly cyclical downturn to structural revolution leading to destruction of whole communities. This last was accompanied by political surrender to globalism, with the “those jobs aren’t coming back” and “what, do you have a magic wand”. In the new corporate world the production and, most importantly, the jobs, became mere inputs into the corporation business, with no mooring to any part of any country or to any particular country at all.
Trump and the change
Trump had been in favour of taking on China for decades and campaigned on bringing jobs back and so on, but this last on jobs was laughed at by his predecessor. Even many economists doubted that anything would succeed and politically it was treated as impossible.
This opposition to Trump, however, further illuminates forces within the US and other economies which are also advantaged by the status quo and fighting hard against any change. Certainly being against any changes that made labour more expensive or was particular as to area of production. Under Obama there had been very large imports of labour for the Big Tech corporations, even as millions of Americans graduated in computer sciences each year, In some cases there was a replacement policy where imported labour was to replace Americans actually in work!
The final stage to which the Wall Street v Main Street “contest” had reached prior to Trump entering into office was well-described by Sundance of the Conservative Tree House in a June 2019 article (Please read the lot, including the links)
The collapse of U.S. manufacturing did not happen accidentally. The rust-belt was not created accidentally. NAFTA was not designed accidentally. The back-door to the U.S. market was not created accidentally. Middle-class jobs were not lost accidentally. Wages did not stagnate accidentally…. All of these results were brought about by specific design.
He linked to international traders, China, the US Chamber of Commerce and all those groups, corporations and nations relying on cheaper labour from overseas than in their own country. Not only that as an objective reality, but that it was actually designed to be that way. Whether that is completely accurate or not, it cannot be denied that when these changes were proposed or planned every one of them facilitated actions by the globalists which resulted in flow-on effects detrimental to local labour and the economic bottom line of the US and other nation states to which it applied (ie loss of industrial activity). Until Trump, there was no real effort to ameliorate the effects of what was happening to America over that time frame.
That is the great change of today, as it seems that the terms of the real debate are quite narrow. Not simplistic as in a Pro/anti Trump argument or even an effort to get back to the relative international trading calm of earlier days.
Whether those parts of the USA where work, mines and manufacturing have come back are completely thanks to that apparent Trump “magic wand” or not, the things we are not short of are vested interests. Plenty of them. But the idea of the Wall Street/.Main Street divide must always be kept in the centre when gauging and analysing the actions of those interests. The bloody mindedness or otherwise of each or any party will be a recurring theme which must be put through this prism to make further sense of it. Because it is such a major issue and such a challenge to a 30-year status quo in international trade, appropriate attention must be given to the China/US trade challenge of today, and its effect on many countries, including Australia. Export-oriented countries fear this challenge to their prosperity of those easy days, times where their independence was whittled away and China became more and more the leader and not the follower (or even partner). However, Trump highlighting the issue and (apparently) proposing a solution, might separate those export-oriented/ dominated ones who are screaming blue murder about the Trump measures and might find the willing partners Trump was looking for.Follow