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How Richard Longworth Predicted 20 Years Ago That Globalization Would Cause a Social Crisis by Aaron Renn

One of the major themes woven throughout the book is the moral bankruptcy of America’s elite.

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Whenever we see the reality of momentous shifts in society, it’s always good to go back and take a look at the people who saw it coming far away. Generally speaking, there were usually people who understood what was happening in advance. For example, Daniel Bell wrote his book The Coming of Post-Industrial Society in 1976. There were probably even other earlier books touting the same theme.

One person who clearly saw the challenges that globalization would bring to the developed countries was Richard C. Longworth. Longworth was a reporter for most of his career, and a long time foreign correspondent at the Chicago Tribune. Most readers probably know him from his 2008 book Caught in the Middle: America’s Heartland in the Age of Globalism.

Arguably more important was his 1998 book Global Squeeze: The Coming Crisis for First-World Nations, a book in which Longworth predicted most of the dynamics that would play out in the next two decades, culminating (so far) with Trump’s election. He predicted massive job displacement from China’s entry into the global trading system, describes how developing world countries would move up the value chain, predicts the erosion of middle-class standards of living, the rise of the gig economy, and the deterioration in race relations. He puts his finger on the nationalism vs. globalism debate and anticipated populist revolt. He didn’t predict everything, but he nailed an awful lot of it...

One of the major themes woven throughout the book is the moral bankruptcy of America’s elite and more broadly those who, like me at that time, were living large and loving life thanks to this new economy.  The social contract with ordinary Americans has been broken. Footloose global corporations have stopped paying the taxes that financed it. The slack has been taken up, at least partly, by higher taxes on workers. In other words, workers are financing their own social contract. It’s robbing Peter to pay Peter. The losers are comforting the losers, while the winners pay minimal taxes in Indonesia or buy bonds in cyberspace. Or set up shell companies in Ireland or Luxembourg. ...

 

For the rest of this perceptive article read at Aaron Renn.

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