Thoughts and Things

This is my blog for random thoughts on the events in my daily life.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Why some of what Trump and Brexit says almost seems to make sense

Ok... before I go any further, let's make it clear that I support Hillary, and staying in the EU (which doesn't really matter, because I'm Canadian, and can't vote for either thing anyway).

Trump has gained more support than anyone thought possible, and the UK just voted to leave the EU... How is this even possible?

Trump has said many ridiculous things, but his main message is consistently focused on how he's going to "make America great again". Which means, from what I can tell, he's going to make it so that white middle class families can get decent jobs again. That doesn't actually sound so bad if you're a white family who is struggling to maintain their middle class status. Heck, he hasn't even said white... you could actually pretend he isn't all racist all the time, and extend that to everyone.
Let's pretend that Trump actually had a clear policy platform and didn't contradict himself or spew racist and misogynistic views at every turn. The concept of "de-globalizing" the economy to reign in the established elite actually starts to sound reasonable. With the Panama papers, the exit of manufacturing jobs to cheaper labour markets, diminishing wages, and skyrocketing CEO salaries, you can quickly see why Trump's story is sticking. Brexit is tapping into the same story, as is Bernie (although with less racism and misogyny).

So how do we re-write the story? Is "de-globalising" the right way to go, as suggested by Nigel Farage and Donald Trump? Should we be putting up walls and trying to return to the whitewashed days of imagined glory? (the 50's for Trump, and the days of colonialism for Nigel) What is it about these days of imagined glory that appeals so strongly? If you're struggling in our society, either to make sense of the progressive social mores, the rapid expansion of technology, or the new economic reality that we are living in, then it becomes much easier to buy into the picture of past glory.

Bernie's brand of socialism aims to use government and taxes to try to reign in the wealth focusing. Unfortunately Chavez, Castro, and many others have soured the socialism soup, at least in the public eye. While Bernie was able to gain considerable support, he was not able to clinch the nomination, in part, I think, because of the incredible effectiveness of the anti-communist campaigns of the past.

So, how do we go forward? Our society is producing more and more wealth, but we can't seem to figure out how to share effectively. Big government and taxes seem like a good solution to some, but with the cronyism and corruption that has plagued other socialist governments, there is a legitimate reason to be skeptical. Going backwards seems like a good solution to others... but... well... it doesn't really work, and despite the effectiveness of the rose-coloured glasses, the past wasn't always that great.

I personally think a combination of government and transparency, combined with a negative income tax for lower earners seems like a good solution, but we're likely to disagree on that... Lets try to disagree with civil discourse, rather than violent thuggery, ok?