In the French election, left wing socialist Jean-Luc Melenchon has stressed the need to relocalise Europe’s economy and to do so by limiting imports.
This has brought Melenchon increased votes in a country where 70% of the population favour some form of protection for domestic production from cheaper, lower waged competitors.
Acceptance of these edicts as inevitable by the three main political parties has consequences:
- it drives down tax rates,
- worsens social and environmental conditions
- kills local jobs
- and reduces small business opportunities.
Whistling in the dark to keep up the nation’s economic spirits: promising hi tech export-led growth in an era of rising Asian dominance is the last colonial delusion
The alternative is to propose a set of practical measures for protecting and re-diversifying local economies by limiting what goods they let in and what funds they choose to enter or leave the country.
In the process they will wean themselves off of their export dependence. This will allow space for domestic funding and business to meet most of the needs of the majority in society.
Proposing policies that would result in the grounding of manufacturing, money and services here in the UK would enable politicians and activists to call the bluff of relocation-threatening big business and finance, who at present have the whip hand over all politicians who support open markets.
This is the only way to tackle the economic and environmental crises, return local control of the economy to citizens and provide a sense of security and hope for their future. If implemented it could play a crucial role in seeing off the rise of the extreme right, as this invariably flourishes when the sense of insecurity within the majority worsens.
Progressive protectionism can tackle this insecurity far more effectively than any of the policies offered – at present – by parties of any political hue
The money markets would ferociously destabilise the challenge posed to their present dominance of the world economy by introducing progressive protectionism in one country alone. Europe is facing huge threats from the forces of international finance, yet the continent would be a powerful enough bloc to implement a programme of progressive protectionism, particularly if the politically active started to campaign for it.
The time to start the debate is now.