The newly elected American President has shocked the world with his first speech. But the neo-liberal establishment is particularly shocked, because it fears that the healed neoliberal world will be questioned.
Perhaps he really means what he says! Following the succession of tweets, which were held last Friday to form the inauguration speech of the new American president, political shock waves are spreading around the world. We are shocked collectively, we are horrified that someone is swarming to question everything that has become sacred and expensive to us in the forty years of neoliberalism and globalization. The German media has given a detailed account of every single American who is against Trump, and even the greatest anti-revolutionaries (DIE WELT, ZEIT and Spiegel-Online) hope that there is already a revolution in the US that spooks and established the establishment again.
If one takes seriously what the man said in his first words as a US president to ordinary citizens, one can be really frightened and afraid.
“The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories were not your victories, their triumphs were not your triumphs; While they were celebrating in our capital, there was little to celebrate for the faltering families all over the country. (The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country, their victories have not been your triumphs; And while they are celebrated in our nation’s capital, there is little to celebrate. Too many of our citizens have a different reality. Mothers and children in our cities are trapped in poverty; Rusted factories are scattered across the country like grave stones (a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; … one factory after another was closed, leaving our country without even thinking about the millions of millions of American workers left behind. The wealth of our middle class has been torn out of their houses, and then spread over the whole world. (One by one, the factories, and the rest of the world .(My translation)
Indeed, this is radical, which is dangerous. If he was not a billionaire, one would think he was a socialist. The man accuses poverty and is responsible for the establishment. This is where the German establishment completely goes through, even forgets its great love for America and is poisoning in a way against the elected American president as it has never been seen before.
The safe world of neoliberalism
We had so beautifully arranged ourselves in the healing world of neoliberalism. The prices were always stable, the unemployment was always so high that the workers could not be cheeky. The central banks were independent and the guarantee that there was never full employment, which would have brought us only anger with the trade unions. Taxes have been cut down significantly for companies, and the state has been systematically pushed back by means of debt phobia generated in the media. We did not need politics for poor regions and breaking structures anymore, the market has managed everything wonderfully. The little man and the little woman, the comrade of the bosses and the red-green, were eternally grateful, “alternately” shut down with Hartz IV (for Germany) and so many low-wage jobs that they could not even come up with stupid thoughts.
But the most important thing was the free trade, in which we deserved golden and diamond noses, but not everyone has to know. After all, we were ready to talk openly about inequality, as long as it had no concrete consequences. Even the global summit of lack of interest in Davos could devote itself to the inequality in the past week, so that the citizen notices that we have not forgotten him.
Everyone who deviates from this sacred canon of neoliberalism is a populist. He promises the citizens things that can not exist, because one has to adapt to the laws of the market. They simply demand discipline, flexibility and the willingness of the small man to bravely even longer periods of thirst and hunger. Should all the manipulations of the last forty years have been in vain, simply because a billionaire who has not understood our economics doctrine says the opposite?
The mercantilists complain about protectionism
Populism is dangerous, but protectionism on the other side of the Atlantic, which is simply unbearable. Have not the US been doing well for almost forty years of a year’s current account deficit of a few hundred billion dollars? Have we not adequately served their wishes for good cars and good machines? Did we complain that they bought us more than 50 billion euros every year? No, we have willingly given them credit, they have praised the fact that they are the consumer of last resort for the whole world and have not even spared them their occasional criticism of German surpluses of current account surpluses.
The attack on the free trade has, of course, especially the German economists on the plan called. The highly indignant Dennis Snower, President of the Institute for World Economy in Kiel, was able to say in every microphone, which has dreadful consequences for the whole world, even if one wasted only one idea of entering the “free trade” as a state. Also internationally, the eternal defenders of the free trade, such as Alan Beattie, immediately took the lead in the Financial Times and told the reader that Trump had not understood that free trade was not a zero-sum game (Trump has picked up the idea Find).
The Badenische Zeitung gave an immense amount of space to Freiburg’s professor of theoretical economics, Oliver Landmann, in an interview (here), in order to explain that the theory of free trade by David Ricardo still applies almost unreservedly today. Even mercantilism, which Ricardo had overcome, was to occur in it. “According to mercantilist doctrine, the sole object of foreign trade was to obtain trade surpluses in order to bring as much gold and foreign exchange into the country as possible A source of permanent international conflicts, with the surplus countries as winners and the deficit countries as losers “). Unfortunately, the professor had just failed to notice that David Ricardo, of course, assumed that free trade was a balanced trade (see a piece here). The journalist did not, of course, have any reason to ask whether the high and rising surpluses in German performance might be the result of mercantilism.
The greatest joke at all is that German politicians of the SPD and Greens, who are directly responsible for the violation of all principles of sound international trade, are now vigorously deploring the possible American protectionism and defending German mercantilism in the same breath with teeth and claws. Even the Federal Minister of Economics, who is still proud of the political operation of Red-Green, which opened the door wide to mercantilism, is indignant at this attack on “free trade.”
The SPD and the Greens now want to set European standards
The meeting of European nationalists in Koblenz, who celebrate the victory of Trump, is just right. The SPD deputy Jo Leinen warns against nationalism and a drift in Europe. “The nationalists of several countries want to destroy the European Union,” he said on Saturday in Saarbrücken with a view to the congress of right-wing populists. European history had taught that nationalism led to conflicts between the peoples and ultimately to the war. The SPD politician pleaded for “a stronger and more determined European Union” and warned of “disputes in Europe” (here).
Well, but why did not one hear of Jo Leinen when it came to the question of who caused the European crisis and the drifting? Why does not he ask why the nationalists are so successful? What is a stronger and more determined European Union? One that also puts Germany under control? Why does not he say that?
The Prime Minister of Rhineland Palatinate, Malu Dreyer, wanted to put a European flag to the right in Koblenz! But why did they and their SPD have not set any European signs all those years before nationalism arose? A sign that the entire world would have seen and understood would have been set by the SPD if it had announced the great coalition precisely when Schäuble wanted to drive Greece to the wall. What would not have been spared Greece (here a recent report from the Financial Times). To drive to Koblenz, to put a European sign in a demonstration against rights, is cheap and hypocritical.
The SPD and the Greens could also directly take up the AfD’s fear of the truth. The party makes its homepage with the slogan “courage to the true
What Trump says and what he does
It would also be wrong, however, to conclude from the only stupid reactions in Germany that everything that Trump had planned was correct and justified. This is certainly not the case and it is also very uncertain that he will implement what he announces. But there are a number of things that he could do if he wanted to. Then the neoliberal world would sink, but nothing else.
The US can at any time, without serious international conflicts, make it clear that they are no longer the country with the greatest current account deficit or even surplus. Trump can pursue a rigorous full-employment policy by means of massive public investment, without hindering anyone or anything. Industrial policymaking and structural policy are also part of the arsenal of intelligent governance. All of this would sooner or later bring advantages to those who have hardly benefited from economic upswing under Obama as well as among the presidents. If he were to do wise social policy, he could even stop the increase in inequality.
The secret hope that is making the round in Germany, the American Central Bank, the Federal Reserve, will slow it down in the implementation of such a policy is likely to prove a huge mistake. He will not just be slowed down by technocrats. If it is wise, it can even combine the full employment policy with an ecological rebuilding of the economy, which in spite of the economic growth leads to less, rather than to more environmental pollution.
Whether he does all this, you can not say at the moment. It is amazing, however, that his tone of last Friday almost does not differ from his election campaign. On the other hand, the team he has chosen is not a bold economic reorientation.
If he were to do so, however, he would immediately show to the Left of all the world what they had done in their neoliberal delusion. Tragically this would only be for Bernie Sanders, who had promised to resolutely break away from neoliberalism and just missed the nomination of the Democrats. The part of the left, however, which, like the SPD in Germany, gave birth to neo-liberalism, opened the way for rights with its failure. It may deplore the victory of the Right, but it should be very cautious with the word populism. It has left the mass of people who now give their voice to the other side. Nor will it return any voters if it does not abandon itself in full conviction of neoliberalism.