Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Farzana Aslam on Balancing Global Concerns with Local Issues (SCMP)

South China Morning Post
19 September 2016
With six “localists” among winners of the Legislative Council election in Hong Kong, following on the heels of Brexit, the nomination of Donald Trump as the Republican candidate for US president, and the rise of populist politics across Europe, it is tempting to think that the era of globalisation is coming to an end, or is at least facing an alarming backlash.
     Hong Kong “localists” are outspoken over the question of autonomy, but the political platform upon which they have garnered support is a protest against the establishment and its failure to address the pressing social issues that affect Hong Kong as a community – namely, rising inequality, the lack of affordable housing and the public’s perception that government is serving the interests of big business at the expense of the increasing ranks of the poor. It is a common thread that runs through all political shifts occurring around the globe.
      Outside of Hong Kong, the rhetoric has been squarely directed against globalisation, specifically international trade and open borders allowing the free flow of capital and people. This, however, is to equate the forces of globalisation with the forces that drive inequality, the stagnation of real incomes, the erosion of job security and of welfare services provided by the state.
      Politicians worldwide have been too ready to invoke globalisation as the cause of their domestic woes, when the reality is that the decline in the prosperity and social well-being of the average citizen of these nations has been the result of deliberate domestic policies promoted under the banner of globalisation... Click here to read the full article.

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