Dec 8, 2019

The price of globlasé

The blasé attitude of Western elites toward “globalization” in recent decades was lubricated by short-run payoffs: it brought handsome profit opportunities for (some) multinational corporations; foreign borrowing (above all, from China) provided a soft alternative to taxing the rich; and cheap trinkets trickled down to placate the masses. But today the long-run political costs of screwing the working class are coming home to roost. Here’s how it’s going down in Italy:

“We lived in a place where everything had been good for 40 years,” Mr. Nesi says. “Nobody was afraid of the future.”

In retrospect, they should have been. By the 1990s, the Germans were purchasing cheaper fabrics woven in Bulgaria and Romania. Then, they shifted their sights to China. The German customers felt pressure to find savings because enormous new retailers were carving into their businesses — brands like Zara and H&M, tapping low-wage factories in Asia….

What Ms. Travaglini knows is downward mobility. She buys groceries with cash from her parents. Her younger son is about to move to Dubai to look for work, seeing no future in Prato.

Her older son used to consider himself a Communist, worshiping Che Guevara and Fidel Castro. Now, he is active with the League.

Read – and think – about the lessons here.