Liberal internationalists and global learning

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

As, on my good days, I'm a liberal internationalist, I read Timothy Garton Ash's piece in The Gurdian: Liberal internationalists have to own up: we left too many people behind, with more than passing interest – as I do with most of the articles he writes, it should be said.  I may even have mentioned that before ...

Garton Ash writes:

"Populists channel [their] widespread grievances into paranoid paths.  But the grievances nonetheless have a foundation in reality and it behoves us to recognise that the causes do lie, at least in part, in free-market, globalised liberal capitalism as it has developed since its historical triumph in 1989."

There follows much interesting stuff about capital, Trump, bankers, the EU's contradictions, and Brexit.  He ends

"... effectively addressing the cross-border effects of globalised liberal capitalism will actually require more international cooperation, at the very moment when populist nationalists are leading so many countries in the opposite direction.  To remedy the unintended consequences of globalisation we need more liberal internationalism, not less."

Such collaboration is proving difficult, although the recent news about the updating of the Montreal protocol, and the ratification of the Paris Agreement, are welcome environmental counterweights to the social gloom in the EU, the Middle East, the UN, South Africa, and much of elsewhere.  However, when our news outlets have stopped obsessing about the US elections, and we've abandoned X-factor and Strictly, perhaps we shall be able to turn our attentions to all this.  Perhaps not, especially with capital gearing up for Christmas.

I thought about all this as I sat listening to the Oxfam input at the CPRT event in London the other week.  It seems clear that part of the trouble with the cross-border effects of globalised liberal capitalism is that they are seen and experienced in different ways by different groups of people because they are framed in different ways.  The dispossessed (and those who see themselves as such) tend not to see migration through a generalised global justice lens or in terms of a successful economy in the round.  Rather, they tend to see them through what they see as its effects (real and imagined) on them personally: jobs going to foreigners; local resources stretched thinly; lack of primary school places; a shortage of affordable housing; etc, whereas Guardian readers and Oxfam supporters tend to regard the global justice gains as of prime importance.

Global learning, meanwhile, always sides with the Guardian and Oxfam.



Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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