Was the Brexit Decision in 2016 a Vote Against Globalization?
Was the Brexit Decision in 2016 a Vote Against Globalization?
Globalization refers to a dynamic phenomenon that constitutes various elements, which cuts across various boundaries and leads to worldwide or global integration. In contrast, Brexit refers to the campaign spearheaded by the U.K to exit the European Union (EU). The existence of globalization today traces back to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 (Elliot, 2016). Globalization was an idea that was developed to ensure that countries had the opportunity to improve their transnational capital and allow the movement of people from one region to the other. Since 1989, globalization has accelerated, with there being high movements of goods, capital, and people. The high movements diminished the roles of states, and the market forces were believed to be unstoppable. However, globalization has faced many obstacles since its introduction. For example, the protests in Seattle of 1999, where there was the World Trade Organization meeting is evidence in opposition to globalization (Cohen & Schwartz, 2016). It was inevitable that globalization will still face rejection by different nations, especially the developed ones. The Brexit decision was a vote against globalization, but at the same time, the decision cannot slow the progress of globalization.
Brexit Vote was Against Globalization
Despite the role that globalization has played in improving trade and travel across the globe, there are individuals or natives in different countries, for example, England who feel like globalization has done the opposite. They think that it has led to an increase in unemployment and the high population growth, which also places the readily available jobs at risk for the natives (Coyle, 2016). The slogan that was used to campaign for Brexit itself led by the lead campaigner PM Boris Johnson was “Let’s take back control,” which shows how desperate Britons were to move out of European Union bureaucracy and globalization. The slogan also showcased the frustrations of Britons, which can be highlighted with some of the challenges that they have been facing since the incorporation of globalization. Brexit was just an option that was considered by countries that are trying to create a barrier to some of the negative impacts that have been associated with globalization (Blockmans, 2016). Generally, England thought that globalization was the problem since it is the root cause of some of the problems in their country.
Some of the reasons that led to the Brexit vote are deeply rooted in the U.K society, and it is attributed to globalization. The frustration is not only shared by a majority of Britons but also other citizens from other Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. Many households within these countries have not witnessed progress in their income growth since the year 20005 (Dustmann, Tommaso & Ian, 2013). Research has shown that a majority of young people from these regions think that they will never become richer than their parents (Dobbs et al., 2016). The United Kingdom has been experienced deindustrialization since the year 1970, and this can be attributed to the recession, which occurred in the 1980s and early 19990s. During this period, many manufacturing companies collapsed, and many people lost their jobs. One example of a company that collapsed was the Eastman Machine, which was known to produce sophisticated cutting tools (Cohen & Schwartz, 2016). Most affected companies were located in the North of England and in the midlands, and this would explain why most of the individuals that were pushing for Brexit came from these regions.
The rise of populist personalities and parties who believe that globalization does not offer enough for them played a huge role in the Brexit vote. For instance, in the U.K, PM Cameron had to resign after the conservative party won the push for Brexit Vote since he was at the forefront of supporting the U.K to remain in the EU. Rich countries such as U.S and the U.K, which are led by populists like Boris Johnson, Donald Trump have been on the forefront of leading push backs to globalization. In the USA, Trump has gain support from multiple blue collar individuals who believe that there is an influx of foreigners and a high rate of job losses (Chandran, 2016). They undermine the role that globalization provides such as cheap products, loads of opportunities, and easy travel (Buerkle, 2016). The campaign that was led by the PM Boris Johnson is mostly supported by rich populists who believe that globalization is a threat to development. Some of the populists include hedge fund managers and brokers who do not want to run their business in areas that are under E.U regulations.
It should be noted that economists rate the success of globalization on the overall economic impact in the country rather than individuals who only want to benefit themselves (Becker, 2016). For instance, Vodafone is a multinational company whose headquarters is located in London, but currently, they are considering relocating from England after the completion of Brexit vote. Such a move by Vodafone would result in the loss of employment opportunities by Britain’s employed by the telecommunications giant. Still at the same time, billionaires who own giant telecommunication companies within Britain will relish the opportunity to enrich themselves.
British Politicians and the citizens felt that globalization has caused the rise in the number of immigrants in the UK. They do believe that immigration policies affected by the EU unregulated policies has made borders porous (Chandran, 2016). When the borders are porous, it makes the natives insecure since they see the influx as a threat to the available job opportunities. In the UK, studies have shown that immigration has had a huge impact on the labor pool, specifically for the low skilled workers. The rise of refugees has also proved to be an obstacle for some countries, considering that if they are member of EU they have to oblige in opening their borders.
Some politicians championed for exit so that the government can model their own terms when engaging in business activities. Half of Britain’s import and export are accounted by the EU. UK benefits from their membership in the EU since this lowers trade barriers, which in turn improve business (Fouskas, 2016). When there are low trade barriers the British society benefit from cheap products. Despite all the advantages acquired by Britain, they still cannot negotiate their trade policies by non-EU members; rather they will have to consult the EU. Organizations such as EU are at the forefront championing globalization messages. However, when certain opportunities arise, which nations can take advantage of; they cannot go through with them due to the policies set by EU. Such policy also played a huge role on the reason for the Brexit vote. Withdrawal from Brexit allows Britain to negotiate trade agreements with countries who are not mebers of the European Union.
A majority of individuals who voted for Britain to leave European Union were found to be conservative and held certain political beliefs (Sampson, 2017). They were also against cosmopolitanism and thought that life in Britain was not getting any better. Globalization has lead to the integration of cultures and has promoted cosmopolitanisms, with inclusivity being the current change that has had a tremendous effect on the society (Sampson, 2017). People should be able to celebrate diversity since it is what makes nation great. The incorporation of individuals from different parts of the world promotes multiculturalism and avails knowledge from all walks of life.
Brexit Vote Will Have no Significant Impact on Globalization
The U. K used the Brexit vote to make the European Union a scapegoat for some of their failures as a country. Upon the completing the Brexit vote, the UK experienced a financial fallout in her currency. Before the vote, the pound had rose above $1.50 but after the vote it decreased to the lowest, $1.33 in a period of about 31 years (Buerkle, 2016). This shows that globalization has got great strength despite countries like UK undermining it. After the decrease in her monetary trade, the Bank of England vowed to provide liquidity and provide support to stabilize U.K’s markets; however, this approach is risky considering that over reliance on monetary policies by a country always makes it vulnerable. On the other hand, a decline in power of the pound creates a risk to a small number of countries that depend on foreign investment from England. The number of countries which are dependent on the pound at the same time are minimal, in most countries there would be minimal effect since there is a low probability the decline of the pound would have a ripple effect on the other countries.
One of the reasons for voting Brexit out was immigration policies in the U.K, however, the U.K has been suffering from immigration issues since the 1960s. The only difference is that most of the immigrants were coming from the West Indies and Asia but currently, most of them are from Eastern Europe (Becker, 2016). The same applies for countries like the USA, during the colonial times Mexicans used to be allowed to cross the border to work in USA farms hence the problem of migration cannot be solely be underpinned on immigration. It is the responsibility of U.K to come up with policies or actions that could help them manage the immigration issues. Besides, if some of the big companies relocated from England after the Brexit vote, some of their citizens may opt to look for greener pastures in other countries such as the USA to practice their profession. This can be showcased by many Britain actors who currently work in Hollywood where film industry is great. In addition, Britain will still need low skilled and high skilled workers from the European countries to work in some of their companies or businesses, which is a product of globalization.
Most of the voters who voted for the U.K to move out of the EU were discontented by the modern Britain; they felt like they were left out. At the same time, when the voters were asked if the European Union had played a major role in them being left out, they did not provide relevant information (Sampson, 2017). England cannot blame the EU for its low productivity and why their trains do not run on time. Most of U. K’s problems are local rather than international. Therefore, such problems cannot be solved by leaving the European Union. U.K needs to examine itself and come up with local solutions rather than international solutions. Most of the voters are simply influenced by politicians rather than critically examining what might be the repercussions of EU exit, this can be attributed to the large percentage of the population which voted for the U.K to opt out of E.U had no college or university education.
As much as more emphasis for massive job losses that was experienced in the manufacturing sector is placed on globalization, it has also created various job opportunities, specifically in London (Fouskas, 2016). It is among the leading cities as far as global economy is concerned. It is one of the leading centres for international business activities (Fouskas, 2016). Its’ success it is attributed to one of the factors which is not only availability of quality staff but also its access to transport infrastructure and markets. All these factors are brought about by the existence of globalization. Globalization has not caused massive job losses but rather improved the set of skills required by organizations within the nation. For instance, London has increased its skilled workforce, currently, 43% of the jobs that are available require higher qualifications or level 4 and by 2020, this number is expected to rise to about 50% (Fouskas, 2016).More emphasis should be placed on improving the education being offered at colleges and universities so that students can acquire the relevant skills that would help them secure opportunities in the job market.
Loss of jobs can also be attributed to the development of technology rather than globalization. A massive unemployment rate is an issue that is affecting almost all countries in the world and it is mainly due to the advancement in technology. Currently, technological advances mean that office-based workers, professionals, and white collar are at risk of losing their jobs (Bowler, 2017). Therefore, protectionist approaches such as the Brexit vote cannot downplay its effect in the 21st century, since technology is disruptive and surpasses borders globally (Bowler, 2017). Technology is going to help various continents such as Asia and Africa to have a leveled playing field to compete with other continents such as Europe (Eaton & Samuel, 2002). Voting against globalization will not help safeguard individuals’ jobs in England since there are other arising factors such as technology, which puts job opportunities at risk.
U.K may stand to lose a lot by exiting the European Union, and this would explain why despite leaving the country has not yet decided on the way forward. One of the approaches that UK can undertake after leaving the EU is to sign a free trade agreement with the E.U to govern their economic and trade relations. Britain receives the highest amount of portfolio investment and foreign direct investment (FDI) due to their membership status in the E.U (Fouskas, 2016). The other factor that also influences the rate of direct investment is the city of London. Studies have shown that London dominates the global foreign exchange market by having a turnover of almost £4 trillion. This explains why the country has remained reluctant to announce their next step but rather assess the situation since they are at a risk of losing billion dollars from FDI and portfolio investment. The best option for England will be negotiate with European Union to practice foreign trade. The argument that Britain would acquire many benefits post-Brexit is not convincing. According to open Europe (2015), there are more than fifty-seven regulations listed by the European Union, which will make England to accrue more costs than benefits. Overall, in the long run England may become poorer since there withdrawal from E.U will allow them to create barriers which will hinder foreign direct investment, trade and immigration. All of this shows that free trade, which is as a result of globalization still plays a huge role in building and maintaining economies.
The rise of populist parties and personalities such as Donald Trump, who have been pushing for the change of order to restrict globalization still face a lot of obstacles to achieve their vision (Frieden, 2018). Given the direction that England has taken, there are still options that other countries can undertake should it occur that the motion presented by the populists become effective. There are regional trading blocs such as the World Trade Organization, which China has taken advantage of to grow its economy (Autor, David &Gordon, 2013). The only likely hood effect from the current trend of populists like Donald Trump is that there would be more fragmented trading blocs. Besides, free trade options will still prevail if countries are to maintain their transnational capital revenue. The move by these populist parties and personalities is more of protectionism rather than hate for globalization (Owen &Noel, 2017). There is a risk that these populists will continue to increase if measures are not put in place.
Apart from trade and immigration, there is still one factor that unites many countries, which is the fight to counteract climate change. The impacts of climate such as desertification, turbulent weather patterns, rise in seal levels, and the spread of diseases are still affecting many countries in the world including developed nations (Hirst & Thompson, 2019). There are different agreements that have been put in place to counteract climate changes. One of the agreements is the Paris climate change accord, which brings together some of the developed nations, who are the lead contributors of CO2. The agreement requires the member countries to adhere to the regulations stipulated, to manage CO2 emissions. Currently, there is a pandemic in the name of coronavirus affecting many countries worldwide. There are over 190,000 cases and more than 7,000 deaths reported so far, and there is a risk that this number will continue to rise (Galai, 2020). In order to fight this pandemic, all countries in the world will have to join hands by allocating resources and putting measures in place to ensure that the pandemic is contained. There are many ways in which countries may partner, for instance, in global health practices. The incidences discussed above shows that countries will still have to cooperate in various fronts. Globalization is not only about trade and immigration but also health and climate change.
There are also minor benefits that countries like U.K get to enjoy as a result of globalization. One of them includes greater choice of imports and lower prices of commodities. In terms of greater choice of imports, globalization has significantly increased the options of consumer goods (Pettinger, n.d). For example, people have become accustomed to the year-round availability of fruit and vegetables due to food imports. Domestic monopolies have experience d international competition thanks to Globalization. When there is international competition it leads to existence of lower prices of commodities for the consumer. For instance, in industries such as electronics, food and clothing where the United Kingdom is a great importer.
The negative effects of globalization should not focus on the past but rather the present. From the Brexit vote, it has proven that there are countries who feel like European Union is not working out for them and there is likely hood that such approaches may start to pick momentum. Better globalization would result in better redistribution of its benefit across the world, which would result in the decline of populist’s parties and personalities who have been on the forefront looking for ways to jeopardize globalization. However, the solution is not to jeopardize globalization but rather be managed it in way that its intended concept does not lose focus. If globalization is placed under threat, poor countries will be at a risk of suffering since globalization has improved their wellbeing. Besides, developed nations have benefited a lot from globalization, which has led to higher investment, better jobs and improved health systems. There are multiple problems that countries like England suffer from which are not as a result of globalization. For instance, the loss of various job opportunities is as a result of low skills acquired by trainees from training centres rather than the rise of multinational corporations. Another factor that influences job opportunities is technology advances. Globalizations impacts cannot be undermined and if there are countries who feel like it is not working for them they should make rational decisions to address the situation.
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