Globalisation and free trade have beggared millions, but nationalism is inadequate in our interdependent world. Something else is urgently required, says Gordon Brown
PROTECTIONIST and ‘bring-back-control’ movements will flourish so long as globalisation remains leaderless, lacks a human face, and advances like a runaway train.
Sadly, there are good reasons why globalisation has become a dirty word for millions of people. The pillars of the 30-year-old Washington Consensus have been collapsing. Most now agree that free trade without fair trade creates millions of losers, and some winners. Unregulated capital flows, especially short-term speculative flows, can destabilise economies. Rising social inequalities can be bad for growth.
These realisations are punching holes in the free-market fundamentalism — focused on liberalisation, deregulation, privatisation, tax-cutting, and the shrinking of the state — that has prevailed in policymaking over the last few decades. Ten years after the global financial crisis, we can now accept that individuals and corporations acting solely in their own self-interest do not serve that of the public.