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History Table of Contents
1994 Summer Conference
 
Summer Conference 1994
Globalism and Tribalism: The New World Disorder?

Globalism: Threat or Opportunity?

DONALD COXE, President, Harries Investment Management Inc.

It is probably helpful to the audience if the speaker defines his or her goal at the beginning.

Mr. Broadbent told you that his goal was to convince you that he was in possession of the truth. I would regard that as vaulting ambition, because since socialists have been busy rewriting history, in truth, ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The idea that he was at this moment in time in possession of the truth is an extremely grandiose ambition.

In the light of Frank Zingrone's comments, my ambition, is more modest:: At least 51 per cent of the audience will remember at least two points I have made, at least one hour from now.

Michael Ignatieff's keynote speech contrasted the rich stable capitalist nations with what he called Zone 2. He noted the world had once been controlled by a few Imperialist countries who kept those other regions more or less peaceful. During the Cold War there was peace in Central Europe for the longest time since the fall of Rome. Now, he suggested, there was no empire and this led to some, and this was his adjective, scary possibilities.

Now, the old Imperialists were not all as benign as the British Colonial Office, the Presbyterian Board of Missions and Rudyard Kipling. The Spanish and French, perhaps because they lacked democratic capitalist governments at home, gave Imperialism a bad name.

Imperialism actually came into the language as a subject of debate in this century when Lenin wrote that remarkable tract of his in which he defined Imperialism in special ways; And he defined it as a part of capitalism in its death throws.

To the extent that Marx analyzed that Imperialism is about preserving the power and privilege of some group, it's very relevant for our topic today.

The new globalism, by its very nature, is antithetical to Imperialist theories and a challenge to any class that wants to remain as a dominant, or an important class.

And that class sees itself at bay, that class is trying to become the new Imperialist. It is this class that most viscerally fears globalism and is fighting it.

So I suggest as an agenda item for you all; that if we as a world are to taste the ambrosia of the next millennium, in a peaceful prosperous productive world, the new Imperialists must be routed.

Who are they?

They are the old left. The socialists, the trade unions, the academic Fabians, interventionist government regulators, the professional litigators of victimology, and the radical environmentalists.

They have been the ones that were opposed to NAFTA, they were the ones that really tried to block the GATT round, or added so many things on to it. And they are in general opposed to Free Trade.

These groups grew prosperous and powerful from the fruits of capitalism in North America and Europe, while decrying free enterprise.

The Cold War gave them a special perch, because they kept telling us that behind the Iron and Bamboo curtains, humanity was making fabulous progress, while we capitalists were stagnating in our selfishness.

They actually believed their own propaganda. They actually believed that Mao's China was a model, while averting their gaze from the amazing success stories in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Korea.

Then the (Berlin) Wall fell.

Then the world learned what everybody except the old left and the CIA had known all along; that what the people in Eastern Europe, the USSR, China and Vietnam wanted was capitalism.

The old left had build up a network within the European Union of social benefits and subsidies that assigned a huge proportion of the productive sector's output to governments.

That same process regrettably applied in Canada, where governments tend to spend more than half the GDP.

Now, that superstructure could stay in place as long as their was a global cartel of Zone 1 nations and that they amounted to the global economy. And as long as you could them to apply the same rules to each other, with subsidies and hand outs and regulations and red tape, then you could make it work. But it had to be a cartel.

So what 's happening now — and this is why the new Imperialists are so upset — is they understand that these new 1A nations challenge this.

The second biggest component of the United States trade deficit now is China. And you saw the debate going through the Clinton administration, as to whether they were going to continue to trade with China on most favoured nation basis and they finally did.

But you see, we should have known that was going to happen because we had the model from Hong Kong and the other countries and now from Latin America, as they throw off their reactionary, protectionist despotisms and become part of the true global economy.

What's happening now is that, the whole cartel mentality is at bay. Furthermore, it challenges the old left on their home ground. They were telling us that these processes that they were putting in place were what gave prosperity and economic progress.

And now that the evidence is that you can get 10 and 15 per cent economic growth rates, built on capitalism, some people are going to say, what are you doing for us here?

In Europe, there has bee not one net new private sector job created since 1972. The entire growth of employment in the European Union has been in government.

Now, what eventually that does, is the economy runs out of gas. So, what we have in Europe right now is tremendous unemployment. France last month reported proudly its biggest gain in employment in five years; 15,000 jobs were created in a net basis last month.

This morning, the United States reported 259,000 net new jobs; unemployment at six per cent.

Not that the U.S. is a capitalist model by any means, but what we see — and this is why the new imperialists are so scared — is that societies that are built on productivity and expanding individual rights in this fashion, are societies that are challenging the old order.

The old left has found a new set of allies for this, which is the radical environmentalist.

And they are now attacking a lot of free trade aspects on the ground of protecting the environment. Now so much of what they say is so appealing and it is so intuitive, you have to go along with it. Preserve the rain forest; preserve the pristine environments in Central and South America.

By all means don't let them industrialize down there. Don't let them become sources of pollution beyond that of their own excrement, because if that happens, we will not be able to go down their and visit these areas, leaving our white wine and Perrier enclaves to go down and witness the peasants at home.

You see, this is the problem that is facing the world. When you liberate people and they start to become economically productive, yes, the problems of industrialization occur.

So what has happened is that you see that Ralph Nader is a leading ally in the U.S. of all free trade initiatives. Now he has a special thing at stake, because he is part of the American Trial Lawyers Association. And their objection is vaulting ambition. They want to extend the greatest of all American monstrosities; namely, American tort law across the world. And so naturally, he is lined up with the old left in these causes to try and block NAFTA, GATT, the whole line.

Now they have all these nice things that they say they are defending.

But the reality is that worst environmental records were under communism, while we were being told by our left here, that it was capitalism that was polluting. We now find out the devastations that were going on there.

Yes, we do need free and democratic societies. Yes, we do need legitimate governments, but we need economies built on the incentive system, not on bureaucracies and taxation, as the schemes for prosperity.

So, that is really what is going on here.

Now protectionism used to be naked interest protectionism.

Now protectionism has taken on taken on this intellectual cloak. But protectionism, if you think about it, was always popular and could be sold to the consumers at large, particularly in the U.S., not so much because it was making business rich, that was a tough case to make.

No, protectionism relied for it success on appealing to ethnicism and racism, because it was essentially saying we are going to protect you; you're part of our group, you're part of our tribe here, so we are going to agree to protect by you agreeing to keep out their stuff.

Racism in the ordinary naked sense is denying people jobs and housing because of their race or ethnicity.

Protectionism is denying people the access to your markets for their goods and services.

In this new tribalism and globalism that we are talking about, what we are seeing is the old debates being shaped out in new fashions.

To say that one is in favour of free speech, and all of those other freedoms, but not to be in favour of free trade and free markets is an oxymoronic approach — because the two things have to go together.

Private property rights are what lead to economic expansion; that pushes the pressure to expand other human rights. Where there are no property rights, there are no human rights.

Now, there is a certain hypocrisy in this. We are now told that we must apply to China the rules of human rights, or we shouldn't trade with them. And yet this comes from the same old left that was promoting trade with Communist China heavily and, also saying that we should not recognize Taiwan or deal with them.

At that time human rights agendas did not matter at all. We should be promoting trade with them, and put aside those American Imperialist who wanted to embargo them. Now that the old left sees that China is becoming a formidable competitive force to their positions, now they are giving us these agendas.

Yes, I agree with their agendas, but I agreed all along.

What I find out is that only when it is convenient to them, that they tell us that we should get in the way of expanding trade.

It has now been calculated by a reporter for The Globe and Mail that the private sector is a bigger percentage of Chinese GDP, than it is of Canadian GDP.

That same expansion of private sector activity is going to change that regime and gradually bring in human rights; they will not be able to hold them back.

There is a certain continuum in this process. When people have a stake to lose, we come back to face family farm.

Okay, all of that is connoted viscerally and atavistically to the idea that this is something that I am building for myself and my family and those that come after me. That is a private property right and the whole notion of globalism and tribalism and freer trade is tied into an expansion — a liberalization of those forces on a global scale.

To the extent that you try to hold them back.; to the extent that you say to these newly emerging industrial countries in Latin America and Asia, no, you must play the game by the re- written rules that we have; what we are saying, in effect, is we think we are losers and we are not going to let you become as prosperous as we; we are a rich man's and rich women's club — we are going to keep you out.

If we try and do that, what we are going to do is create a new source of gigantic conflict in the next millennium.

I suggest that for a truly peaceful and prosperous world, we let them in.