This article was written by one of our volunteers, Elena Scarso, and edited by Jubilee Scotland.
Even though forecasts about a post-Brexit economic downturn in the UK didn’t materialise, it’s impossible to ignore the global shock after the UK’s decision to burn its bridges with Europe. Editorials around the world have given a running commentary on recent events. The World Bank said 2016 has been the weakest year for the global economy. The Guardian’s analysis of the latest worldwide events – namely Brexit and Donald Trump’s rise – is that global politics has influenced the global economy, oil prices have risen more than 50%; the pound has tumbled; the Baltic Dry index shows high risks for the international situation; China’s economy kept its slow decrease; the Mexican peso’s value had never been so low (since Trump put the country under a huge pressure); the Eurozone inflation was still off target; youth unemployment in Italy and France is still at an alarming level. However, the Washington-based institution doesn’t look too disappointed and reveals a positive forecast for 2017: the tax cuts and the public investment Trump has promised might bring a new growth for the global economy. The World Bank, however, doesn’t show the same optimism about a forthcoming rise for UK economy. In 2016, UK growth stagnated at 2%, and in 2017 growth is predicted at 1.2%, growing to 1.3% in 2018. While this is positive growth, the pre-Brexit forecast for both 2017 and 2018 says something different: without Brexit growth was predicted at 2.1%. Right now we can just wait and see how the global economy is going to react to these huge changes – someone started calling them “Trumpxit” – in the next months: as for all of these important changes it will be a slow process with expected as well as unexpected results.
Many people believed, before Trump’s election and the EU referendum, that they weren’t likely possibilities, probably because of the huge impact they would have on everyone’s lives. One thing is sure: these changes are signals of a social metamorphosis. They were caused by a strong trend to protect cultural identities and to reject the inevitable effects of globalisation. Phenomena such as the recent immigration boom and the 2008 financial crisis, without considering society’s failings to give people a political education, brought people to make more conservative decisions. Like The Guardian said, Trumpxit is an attempt to come back to the conservatism before the 1960s, when racial and gender equality was still a mirage. They believe in modern societies being able to “take back control” of their communities and lives (one of the quintessential slogans of the Trump and Brexit campaigns). In our fast changing world, coming back ‘to the origins’, even if improper for the contemporary context, to some represents a safety net for those who feel vulnerable.
Sadly, history is repeating itself: Hitler and Mussolini took the power because of an unstable political, economic and social situation, where people just needed to feel safe in their own countries. The solution, in both nazism and fascism, was to revert to the past, reinstituting ‘a simpler and more understandable style of life’. On balance now we can just hope to be more prudent than in the past century, avoiding to commit the same dangerous mistakes.
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