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The Working Class And The Rise Of Nationalism

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This is part three in our series Two and a Half Minutes to Midnight in the World of Today. Merriam-Webster defines Nationalism: loyalty and devotion to a nation; especially :  a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups. Economic Nationalism  is a term that includes economic policies and theories designed to improve the domestic economy relative to foreign economies and oppose globalization, or at least question the benefits of unrestricted free trade. These protectionist policies were the favored way of trade for Presidents Washington, Lincoln, Grant, and Theodore Roosevelt.

The opposite idea Globalism arose after WW2 and was used to refer to a group of ideologies that advocated for such policies as increased immigration, free trade, lowering tariffs, interventionism and global governance. The United States rose to prominence through nationalism during the 19th and 20th centuries, becoming a great industrialized nation. Globalist ideas took hold in the late 20th century in the 1970’s and decimated the middle class of the US by turning the economy from a manufacturing to a consumer based. This benefited the corporations and the political power structures of the world at a price to the American worker. Leaders who supported the shift towards Globalism were President’s Carter, Reagan, Clinton and Obama.

President Carter stated, “Globalization, as defined by rich people like us, is a very nice thing… you are talking about the Internet, you are talking about cell phones, you are talking about computers. This doesn’t affect two-thirds of the people of the world.”  President Carter granted the People’s Republic of China full diplomatic and trade relations in January 1979 through the “Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations.” According to a report by the Brookings Institute, from 1980-2005 the nation lost about 4.5 million manufacturing jobs or about 24 percent of its manufacturing employment. Also from 2000-2010 the United States lost more than 5 million manufacturing jobs, amounting to nearly one-third of its remaining manufacturing employment. The US China trade deficit between 2001 and 2015 alone cost 3.4 million American jobs.

The US election voted President Trump into office based on his nationalist protectionist views. These views focused on a few main ideals. The first of which consisted of a border wall along the US and Mexican border with massive immigration controls focusing on removing illegal aliens and baring citizens from Muslim countries.  The second part was President Trump’s mantra of bringing back jobs to the country by imposing severe import penalties along massive tax breaks to corporations to create an incentive in bringing manufacturing back into the country.



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