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Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Nationalism vs Internationalism (2) - Multiculturalism

recent GPF article called "In Defense of Nationalism" made me wonder about the relationship between the Technological Revolution of 1800-2100, the Left-Right Divide of 1800-2000, the surge in Nationalism of 2000-onwards, and the occurrence of two World Wars.

The Industrial Revolution (1760-1840) was the 1st part of the Technological Revolution (1800-2100). Technology and Trade are intertwined and a major cause for both global wealth and imbalances in the distribution of wealth. Technology has also created human fearsmechanisation (19th century), automation (20th century), and Artificial Intelligence & robots (21st century).

The combination of wealth imbalances, (military) technology, and fear & despair created a toxic cocktail in Europe during the first half of the 20th century. Nationalism was its consequence. To a certain extent, the same elements - wealth imbalances, technology, and fear - are creating another toxic cocktail today.

The political answers to the above started with the political Left-Right divide, and similar Left-Right international alliances (ie, NATO, Warsaw Pact). The surge in post WW2 global wealth ended the political relevance of the Left-Right divide (1800-2000) and created new social issues: Globalization, Multiculturalism and Urbanisation.

Today's political answer to the above is Internationalism (aka Globalisation) versus Nationalism. Globalisation was late in addressing its wealth imbalances (eg, housing, jobs, urbanisation, welfare) and underestimated its new fears (eg, cultural identity, immigrants, irrelevance, Islam, refugees, technology). Nationalism surged on these weaknesses and its denial by Internationalism. The Great Recession (c. 2008 - c. 2012) was probably its tipping point.

Technology and international trade will continue to be drivers of global wealth. Anti-globalization is mainly about the distribution of wealth and not about its existence. While young people are addicted to technology (eg, smartphones, social media), older people fear losing their jobs to Artificial Intelligent robots. I expect that a Universal Basic Income will become the (Western) political solution to address this fear (and wealth imbalance).

Multiculturalism in Europe has resulted in a modern and mutual version of Apartheid. Each group maintains its own culture (eg, language, religion, traditions). There is a mutual lack of willingness to integrate as each cultural group considers the other group(s) as inferior. To some extent, Islamic terrorism in Europe is proof of the failure of Multiculturalism.

Multiculturalism will keep Internationalism (we Need you) and Nationalism (we don't Want you) divided, and similar to the wealth imbalances in the Left-Right divide (1800-2000). However, Urbanisation will continue to erode the importance of Nationalism. This observation is less comforting than you might expect. Hippocrates once stated that desperate times call for desperate measures. Heinz Guderian, a German WW2 general, once stated: "There are no desperate situations, there are only desperate people".

 We Are The World (1985) by Michael Jackson - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2