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Can Globalism and Nationalism Coexist?

Recently, I came across an interesting article titled, “Our national leaders have failed us. It’s time to hand over power to global institutions.” The article was posted on the World Economic Forum’s website. The World Economic Forum is the organization that has its yearly event at Davos, Switzerland. A link to the article is found here.

The article was written by Ms. Dambisa Moyo. Her bio is found here. Ms. Moyo’s argues that the economic problems impacting the world’s economy are not based on globalism but rather on the short-sightedness of the world’s leaders. She points to Brexit and the rise of populist politicians as examples of that short sightedness. Her conclusion at the end of her post was a call that national leaders need to give up their sovereignty to global institutions as it relates to the economy. Although, I would agree with her assessment regarding the politicians’ short sightedness about economics, I disagree with her conclusion.

One of the common themes between Brexit and the election of President Trump is a fear of a government that is bent in taking away the individual’s right to make decisions. In the matter of Brexit, the EU was viewed as an unaccountable bureaucracy that made decisions on every matter and was tone deaf to the people’s reaction. Consider the following quote from the Independent:

If it weren’t for the EU, the democratically elected Tories would be able to do whatever they bloody wanted. Where would we be without a European bureaucracy, totally unaccountable to anybody, taking power away from national parliaments?

The context of this article was a report on Labour’s argument about why the UK should be part of the EU and not leave.

President Trump’s election echoes this similar theme. Consider the following statements made at his Inauguration speech:

What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. Jan. 20, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.

The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now. You came by the tens of millions to become part of an historic movement, the likes of which the world has never seen before. At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction that a nation exists to serve its citizens.

Some are beginning to call this, the “forgotten man speech.”

It seems that the globalist have failed to grasp this lesson of accountability when applying Ms. Movo’s idea.   Why should nations give up their a part of their economic sovereignty? Although her motivation is a good one, the consequences of her solution will be worse. If nations were to give up their economic sovereignty to a global entity, the first question is that needs to be asked is who and how will such a global entity be held accountable? The threat of corruption and short sightedness is just as great in a global institution as it is in a nation. To ignore that possibility borders on naivete. To give that much power to a global entity reminds me of Lord Acton’s famous quote about power-“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Accountability brings forth a very important virtue-humility. Humility in the sense that one knows the limitations of what they can and cannot do. Here is where the globalists have failed to learn. Both the globalist and the nationalists have a deficiency in this virtue.  Humility from a globalist is seen when they recognize that those who oppose them are not racists or “deplorables.” Instead, they are people who love their country and are concerned when their leaders treat them as serfs in a fiefdom.  From the nationalist perspective, globalists are not unpatriotic, but rather frustrated by the demagoguery that comes from the elected officials.

Can Globalism and Nationalism co-exist? The answer is yes. Globalism and nationalism can exist together when globalist recognize that solutions to the world’s problem need to come from the bottom up instead of the top down. It happens when globalist recognize that they have limitations, like every other person on this planet. When citizens have that power of accountability, then those same citizens must bear the responsibility of their actions. It is at that level within the nation, that the problems pointed to by Ms. Moyo’s article can be addressed.

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