The Brexit vote takes England a step away from globalization and may cause other nations to look longingly at the good old days of fixed borders and national sovereignty. In England’s case, that longing may destroy the United Kingdom, because Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales must decide whether or not to stick with the European Union, where they receive considerable subsidies or with England, an old frenemy.
Technology, of course, ignores borders and will defeat nationalism in the end. Nonetheless, xenophobia dies hard and is making a stand in the American 2016 presidential election. One candidate proposes to erect walls to protect us from foreigners. The other acknowledges that, despite its pluses and minuses, globalization is here to stay. In fact, the United States is at the center of the global economy and has been its chief architect since the Marshall Plan. What’s more, we’ve benefited from laying out a welcome mat to the world, because foreigners want our dollars.
Those who talk of building walls fail to recognize how far the foreign invasion has come. So many of our cherished icons no longer belong to us. Writer Afshin Molvai present us with the most recent a list of takeovers. Alka-Selzer, for example, belongs to a non- American Conglomerate. So does our beloved whisky, Jim Bean. Hollywood falls largely to Chinese ownership. And Budweiser, with its wonderful horses, is now of Belgian-Brazilian nationality. (Bloomsberg.com, excerpted in The Week, July 15, 2016, pg. 14.)
How have we fared under these invasions? “Last year set the record for foreign investment at $348 billion, “much of it going to ailing American businesses and employing more than 8.5 million American workers. (Ibid pg. 14) The transition isn’t obvious because foreign investors know the value of the USA label and choose not to advertise otherwise.
We’ve seen some negative effects from the foreign invasion, of course. Detroit is no longer the home of the American auto industry. But the south thrives as a manufacturing center for Toyota. And consider this. If you owned Budweiser stock in 2008 when it was an American company and held it until today, the value of your stock would have tripled. (Ibid pg. 14.) The U. S. has always fared well because it makes a habit of tearing down walls.