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Trump and Brexit, symptoms of the ever-increasing divide between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’

John Birmingham discusses the Trump/Brexit phenomenon in the Brisbane Times (15.11.16):

‘Open markets have generated staggering, almost unimaginable wealth, but not for everyone. As the old working class has been fed into the shredders of neoliberal economics, millions, tens of millions and maybe hundreds of millions of men and women around the world, have come to correctly perceive of themselves as losers.

‘How does this economic dislocation manifest as racial or cultural conflict? Because as our economy has changed, so has the society which it is supposed to support.

‘It shouldn’t be the other way around, a society should not exist to serve an economy, but one of the triumphs of neoliberalism has been to elevate the economic above the social. This plays out in a political conflict like Brexit as a contest over controlling migration.

‘Economic growth demands the free movement of capital, including human capital.

‘The losers from this restructuring see not only their own livelihoods destroyed by the offshoring of production to cheaper unregulated developing economies, but they experience the existential threat of those “lesser” and “primitive” economies sending back not just finished goods, but the people who produced them.’

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