The mainstream approach starts with a combination of rational argument and inflated rhetoric about the economic consequences of international integration. Studies are produced about the jobs created by trade agreements, the benefits of immigration and the costs of restrictions.
In most cases the overall economic merits are clear. But there is a kind of Gresham’s Law of advocacy whereby bolder claims drive out more prudent ones. Over time this has caught up with the advocates of integration. [Emphasis added]
The willingness of people to be intimidated by experts into supporting cosmopolitan outcomes appears for the moment to have been exhausted.
And here’s the nasty little paradox that’s at the heart of Ireland’s difficulties in coping with the Apple Tax story:
A new approach has to start from the idea that the basic responsibility of government is to maximise the welfare of citizens, not to pursue some abstract concept of the global good. People also want to feel that they are shaping the societies in which they live.
It may be inevitable that impersonal forces of technology and changing global economic circumstances have profound effects, but it adds insult to injury when governments reach agreements that further cede control to international tribunals.
This is especially the case when, for reasons of law or practicality, corporations have disproportionate influence in shaping global agreements.
Enter Trump, Brexit, iScotland, Corbyn and Le Pen and dozens of other plans to repatriate power to the state or present sub-state.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty