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Economic English

The Strange Death of Globalisation

Attention

This week Japan wrote an open letter threatening Britain with divorce.

The Japanese government said its firms could quit UK over Brexit-related uncertainty.

[gview file=”http://londonconversation.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/japan-letter-1.pdf”]

And the Financial Times advised British companies to pay attention.

A Call to ARMs

But despite this, Japan’s SoftBank snapped up Britain’s largest technology firm.

What is going on?

Is ARM so strategic that SoftBank bought it in spite of its own government’s concerns, or is the Pound so weak that SoftBank just couldn’t refuse?

Very mixed signals from the Japanese — do they know something we don’t?

Either way, ARM and SoftBank’s CEOs issued a joint statement via Brunswick, their PR firm, in which they took technocracy to a whole new level:

“Whether it is advanced robotics, 5G networks, green data centers, supercomputers or intelligent connected devices, we can and will help to enable positive change. It is now our collective vision to realize an Information Revolution that brings happiness to everyone”

[gview file=”http://londonconversation.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Simon-Segars_Masayoshi-Son-letter_Sept-6-2016.pdf”]

 Sovereignty

If ARM really are as world-beating as they sound then surely patriotic Government Ministers like Business Secretary Greg Clark, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, or even Gaffe-Prone Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson would have intervened to protect hard-won UK sovereignty and stand up for GB PLC.

Think Again.

PM Theresa May, former Business Secretary Sajid Javid, and new Chancellor Philip Hammond have a fondness for referring to Britain as being “open for business”.

But what does this actually mean? Is everything up for grabs? Are there no limits?

Judging by this week’s newspapers, the answer is mixed.

For us cynics who believe the UK government can’t help selling everything and anything — the tide may be starting to turn.

TTIP

Following the BREXIT vote the EU-US Trade agreement also known as The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is said to be floundering.

At the G20 this weekend the official communique stated that Globalisation needs to be sold to the masses. Rising populism threatens Big Business — Marine Le Pen and Donald Trump are a step too far.

G20 globalization & labour & migrationThere is a bit of a paradox at play here.

Businesses and governments are supposed to serve both consumers and citizens.

But has government gotten so into bed with business that it now fears a backlash?

And what of these populist candidates?

Some of them — especially the Tea Party — are funded by Big Business.

Alt-Left

I remember hearing Webster Tarpley in 2008 saying that the only way to get at Obama was to attack him from the left.

That is what we’ve seen played out over the last 8 years.

In the US Big Business has got behind the most extreme side of the Republican Party. The same model has been exported to the UK.

The FT ran an editorial on Monday in which they actually referred to the limits of deregulation. I thought I was hallucinating:

Here is arch-Brexiteer, Conservative MEP, Daniel Hannan in the Sun – note how the article refrains from using the term TTIP :

Hannan Sun

ALEC

Hannan is part of a radical right-wing American Republican Party ‘think tank’ called ALEC — The American Legislative Exchange Council.

Their mission is to deregulate and privatise everything from the bottom up. Liam Fox is a member. So is prominent UKIP MEP Roger Helmer.

ALEC have successfuly deployed a coup d’état in the UK by shifting the policy landscape and terms of debate onto their terrain.

This is Hannan addressing ALEC in 2009.

Hannan spearheaded the Brexit campaign from Brussels.

He famously surprised Newsnight presenter Evan Davis the day after the Brexit vote by saying he didn’t think Brexit meant an end to free movement of labour.

Why would a Tory MEP as passionately devoted to both EU-US relations and Brexit be prepared to go on TV straight after an immigration-dominated campaign and say he believes in free movement of labour?

Foreign Firms

And where does this leave us in relation to the foreign takeover of another UK firm?

Foreign firms are obviously in favour of free movement of labour but not that keen on regulation.

So if the UK deregulates even further in favour of corporations and away from employees, then I can’t see the Japanese or any other government complaining.

Here is an article from today by George Monbiot on the current state of play re: TTIP and its ugly Canadian sister CETA.

For anyone interested in finding out more about TTIP & CETA there is a facebook group, a website, and a couple of mailing lists for general trade issues and for organising actions.

 

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