June 30, 2016    4 minute read

The Current State Of Democracy And Globalisation

Changing Gears    June 30, 2016    4 minute read

The Current State Of Democracy And Globalisation

“There’s two globalisations…the elite globalisation represents minority forces. The elite globalisation is about making money… The people’s globalisation, the democratic mass globalisation is about life values.”

Kevin Danaher, Activist

The victory of the Brexit camp triggered a domino effect in which the magnitude of the shock continues to be a mystery. Although the world expected to see the concurrent sharp fall in the value of shares on the London stock market and the depreciation of sterling, the ripples across the rest of the European markets were unforeseeable.

Those who voted for Brexit planned to “take back control” of their nation to the times before the United Kingdom became part of the “Common Market” in 1973. However, this plan seems to be nothing but a whimsical dream. Brexit did not aim to block globalisation and economic developments. What it is doing is worse. Brexit is hindering opportunities to tackle significant global events and their impact, from the harm in unregulated financialisation of capitalism and taking control of collective policy. This operation is beyond the capability of a single national government – it entails collaboration among political bodies.

“Growth is never by a mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.”

James Cash Penney, Founder of JC Penney

It is only a matter of time before the UK’s decision to leave the EU becomes a contagious disease among other member states. This forecasts nothing but an unhealthy future for the EU and reflects the downside of globalisation. This situation also does nothing but encourage people to leverage an act of nationalism (though with hints of capitalism) and concentrate on remembering their long lost lifestyle instead of focusing on figuring out practical answers to solving the concurrent global issues, especially the deteriorating globalisation.

Although an event like Brexit seems to be implausible because it goes against conventional logic, the British scepticism towards Europe should have been obvious to the world. The UK refused to join the EU monetary union but freely exercised its right to trade in the European Common Market. The UK also chose not the be a part of the Schengen Visa system that allows non-EU passport holders to travel to EU countries using just one European visa instead of applying for multiple ones.

It is evident that the European Union acting as a powerhouse is nowhere near democratic. Many decisions seem not to accommodate the needs of the ordinary European citizen but are, instead, aimed at serving the requirements of central banks and investment hubs that are deemed beneficial to the European economy. Still, these are issues that could be resolved by pushing to democratise the political structure of the EU instead of leaving the block.

The complication lies in the complexity of the EU. It operates in ways that are somewhat similar to the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), with both entities encouraging regional peace and security while promoting economic growth. Unlike the European Union, ASEAN does not deal with domestic political disputes.

These transparent domestic political disputes within the EU member-states are to blame for the dysfunctionality. Suppose the UK were to go down the route of leaving the EU over the next two years without considering an alternative deal with the EU to remain – the UK would still need to trade with Europe. To do so, it has to negotiate an alternative trade agreement with nearly every European country.

By taking a look at the vote for Brexit as an act of nationalism, it is nothing but a mere portrayal of the consequences stemming from the intersection of constant discomfort amidst anticipated incompetence and inability to prioritise modern member-state issues.

There is no escaping the reality that the vote has left the EU stuck in a vicious circle of chaos. What will happen now is dependent upon how the UK government regains “control” and gets back on its feet, as well as the response from the rest of the world. Moreover, the end does not justify the means. Making a decision with long-lasting effects on a country must have more components than just a one-off democratic vote that, so far, leads to nothing but act as a catalyst for global economic and political turmoil.

“Every economy exists, no matter what the level of democracy, has elements of crony capitalism. It’s – given human nature and given the democratic structures, which we all, I assume, adhere to, that is an inevitable consequences.”

Alan Greenspan, Former Fed Chairman

Policymakers can now only look into ways of driving economic growth forward and making the hiccup in globalisation as brief as possible. Another target has to be steering the path from “elite globalisation” that only favours the “minority forces” to “mass democratic globalisation” where “life values” matter.

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