Brexit Is A Reversal Of Internationalism

14/07/2016 11:02 AM IST | Updated 16/07/2016 1:58 PM IST
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In my opinion, Britain's decision to exit the European Union has profound historical importance, not only for the UK, but also for India, Europe, Asia, Africa, USA, and indeed for the whole world. It marks a drastic reversal of the process of internationalism which had been going ever since the end of World War II. Brexit is a step towards extreme nationalism and right-wing politics, which is bound to spread everywhere and create great disorder. Let me explain.

The extreme nationalism which was prevailing in developed countries before World War II was replaced afterwards by internationalism. Multinational corporations cut through national borders after the war in search of markets, raw materials and cheap labour to increase profits. This process included hiring workers from other nations, particularly from underdeveloped countries, who were available at lower wages/salaries. It also included export of capital and outsourcing of jobs to foreign countries. Cost of labour is a big chunk of the total cost of production, and by getting foreign labour at lower wages/salaries, corporations could cut down their cost of production drastically, thus enhancing profits.

In Europe and America there are millions of foreign workers working at lower pay than local European or American employees. Also, many of the jobs in America and Europe have been outsourced to underdeveloped countries where employees are obtained at much lower pay.

[W]e are going back to the era of virulent nationalism, which was resolved in Europe by the world wars.

This process has no doubt increased the profits of these multinational corporations, but has also led to great unemployment among the local people in Europe and America, resulting in massive discontent there. Europeans and Americans feel that the jobs in their own countries which should have gone to them have been taken away by foreigners. This is further exacerbated by the worldwide economic recession which has been going on for quite some time. Unemployed people, especially youth, are feeling that the jobs which should have gone to them have gone to foreigners.

The recent killing of British Labour MP Jo Cox who supported immigrants, by a man who shouted "Britain First ", is an example of the widespread and strong feelings in this connection not only in England, but also all over Europe and America.

Germany, which already has many Turks, admitted 1 million refugees from Syria and Iraq recently, which is bound to have repercussions. In fact, the sentiment against foreigners is growing in Germany. In a recent Quora thread on how tolerant Germans are of foreigners, certain disturbing experiences were described:

"I was followed by a middle aged German lady who heckled 'stinkende Chinesen hore!' (stinking Chinese whore) at the top of her voice -- for about a block."

"I was told by a taxi driver to 'go back to Japan'. I was scared because it was just me and him and it was late at night, so I got out, paid him and walked away as quick as possible."

There are many more such stories.

Meanwhile in America, Donald Trump's rhetoric against Hispanics and the outsourcing of jobs is striking a chord, and he may well win the election for President.

Britain's decision to exit the EU should be understood in this light. It is not just exiting the EU. It is drastically reversing the process of internationalism. It is the first step towards going back to virulent nationalism.

If [foreign] workers are driven away or laid off... [it] will drastically reduce the profits the multinational corporations are earning, leading to further recession...

There are at least 1.4 million people of Indian origin living in Britain, and many from other parts of Asia and Africa. Soon, attacks on them by right wing goons will pick up pace, and the same is likely to happen in Germany, France (which has a large Muslim population, mainly from former North African colonies ), etc. Businesses of Indians in England (Mittals, Tatas, Hindujas, etc), and their Indian employees, may also be attacked, and so also of other Asians and Africans. They will all be told to get out and go home.

The step taken by the UK will sooner or later be followed by Germany, France, Italy and other nations. So we are going back to the era of virulent nationalism, which was resolved in Europe by the world wars. But after the development of nuclear and other such destructive weapons, such wars are unlikely to be repeated. So how then will the crisis be resolved?

Moreover, Europe and America are heavily dependent on foreign labour, both inside these countries and abroad. If these workers are driven away or laid off, far more expensive European and American labour will have to be employed. This will drastically reduce the profits the multinational corporations are earning, leading to further recession, and so more layoffs and discontent.

In my opinion, the world is heading for a prolonged period of great chaos, extreme nationalism and fascism.

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