First, go read this blog post.
Or if you’re not going to do that, then just refer to this chart here:
It’s called the “Elephant Chart” because of its shape. And there’s a big problem there that we need to fix. We need to start talking about how we can redistribute wealth into the “B” area. Solve that problem andÂ the next Trump/Brexit/European fascistÂ won’t rise in 20 years. Don’t, and – I fear – weÂ walkÂ into a class-based, xenophobic backlash of unstoppable proportion.
Real quick summary for folks who don’t want to read the article. If you’re in the “A” area, then you’re probably from China or India and a LOT wealthier than you were 25 years ago. If you’re in the “C” area, then you’re probably from the US, upper middle class, and a LOT wealthier than you were 25 years ago. If you’re in the “B” area, then you’re probably what’s left of America and Europe’s middle class, and globalization has left you no wealthier, if not somewhat poorer, in the last 25 years.
Trump/Brexit/European fascism is being powered by the groups who feel marginalized by being in group “B”.
The fear of free trade is being powered by the groups who feel marginalized by being in group “B”.
And we’re failing to have the hard conversations around:
- The massive growth in “A” – it’s killing our planet, but does anyone have the right to say stop? By dumping free trade, we’ll slow that growth down. Then what happens with 2+ billion underemployed citizens across Asia and Africa?
- The jobs we need to create to help the “B” group – they’re not going to come from our corporate economy which means we have to find ways to re-introduce a competitiveÂ economy. But the corporates are entrenched, have economies of scale, and won’t just roll over. And the consumer has already run the mom-and-pop shop out of business to replace it with the retail chain, to then replace the retail chain with the eCommerce giant. So how do we re-introduce employment as a priority when the consumer just wants inexpensive?
- The gains in wealth for “C” – is there a fair opportunity for everyone to access those gains, and, assuming the answer is no, how can we fix that? Picketty tells us that if you don’t own sources of wealth, there’s no way to fix it. Redistributing land and wealth just for the sake of redistribution may be an option, but the how feels quite daunting.
I think what I really want is more to read and learn from about how folks are thinking about this. Especially from non-OECD points of view. And then to figure out how to be part of fixing this issue.