Rise of Trump, Sanders and populist movements of Europe do nothing to curb their desire for an ‘open’ economy and country.
There are globalists and then there are globalists. New York Times columnist Thomas “The Earth is Flat” Friedman has never seen a multi-nation trade deal he didn’t like. He has spent years traveling the globe, vacuuming up big speaking fees and landing book deals promoting the virtues of the “interconnected world.”
His recent column is actually meant to reach Trump voters.
In other words, despite everything that has happened politically here and in Europe, the elites like Friedman have learned nothing.
Here is what he says we should do:
“The smartest thing we can do now is to keep our economy as open and flexible as possible — to get the change signals first and be able to quickly adapt; create the opportunity for every American to engage in lifelong learning, because whatever jobs emerge will require more knowledge; make sure that learning stresses as much of the humanities and human interactive skills as hard sciences; make sure we have an immigration policy that continues to attract the world’s most imaginative risk-takers; and strengthen our safety nets, because this era will leave more people behind.”
In other words, despite everything that has happened politically here and in Europe, the elites like Friedman have learned nothing. He continues to embrace Hillary Clinton’s “open markets, open borders” view of the future. At least he’s more honest about it than Mrs. Clinton, who tried to hide the transcripts of her speeches to big banks, where she told them exactly what they wanted to hear — that the old, quaint idea of the nation state was in the rearview mirror.
Isn’t this basically the exact same policy we’ve been pursuing? This is not a response to the Trump voters; this is simply slamming the door in their faces.
Friedman is the poster boy for the status quo—a man totally insulated from the way most in Middle America live, hailed by multi-national corporations as an intellectual guru. He is the guy who (in)famously asked, “Am I a bad guy for wanting to be China for a day?” He is the toast of the universities that have enjoyed the big cash and cache of having entire departments or fields of study endowed by the Saudis and the Chinese. He’s one of those guys who thinks we’d be fine if we ran trade deficits forever. He believes labor is fungible — American, Indian, Korean, whatever!
For years now, the American people have pleaded with their leaders for a new economic policy. They know that the Clinton/Bush/Friedman model of globalization is bad for them, their children and their communities. They know that it empowers dictators in China and weakens what used to be the free countries of the West. They know that it makes a mockery of American independence, not to mention national sovereignty. So they wanted it to change. But Friedman and his fellow spokesmen for globalization refused to compromise, or even to take our concerns seriously. Even now, on the eve of an election that could sweep Donald Trump into the White House, Friedman can’t do anything more but promise the same-old, same-old.
Trump may not win. But if he does, it will be the the blind fanaticism of people like Tom Friedman — people who refuse to make any significant change in policy, despite years of failure — that paved Trump’s road to the White House.