Economic nationalism is becoming popular on both the left and the right, following its growth in Europe and the USA. Britain’s next prime minister will be under pressure to depart from our traditional open stance towards global markets.
This would be an economic and social disaster. Liberals and progressives should be united in resisting “protectionism-lite”, a policy that creates poverty and international tension. But progressives should go further and ask how we can reduce the inequality and insecurity that have accompanied modern growth.
This essay argues that those who benefit from globalisation need to contribute much more positively to the life chances of those who do not. If such social relations are to be expressed through government, politicians will have to undertake a significant and difficult re-evaluation of existing public institutions and spending priorities.