Barriers And Borders: Is Capitalism In Crisis?

Capitalism has been under pressure in recent years to reform, as globalisation stalls and nationalism emerges in many countries. But what can be done?

A brief respite

The recent election of Emmanuel Macron as President of France lifted the gloom a little on what has been a rise in nationalism.

But the European Union still has much to do before it can claim an agreed vision that speaks for everyone on global trade issues.

The progress of a more liberal agenda in the last year is likely, however, to revitalise those opposed to the capitalist model.

Such views are not limited to this part of the world as Trump’s presidency underlines a shift towards populism motivated by the desire to make America great again.

The opposition to voices in favour of capitalism is driven by dissatisfaction with the status quo, as millions of people feel betrayed and left behind.

Unease and unrest pour across borders, as entire populations see the gains of globalisation enrich the already rich.

Part of the problem stems from a lack of leadership and the absence of credible solutions to address the problems people face in their struggle to survive.

But grander challenges lie ahead as the frustrations in Europe and the United States spread around the world to engulf emerging economies and the enormous populations of China and India.

Progress has, of course, been made as people move from poverty to middle class comfort and embrace the rewards of capitalism through better education, health and life expectancy.

Threat of technology

But the real problem is that billions of people don’t enjoy the security others take for granted and are left without any semblance of hope.

Technology is playing a part too as the brutal reality of job losses and automation rip through every business, every sector and every industry to cause disruption.

The contrast in lifestyle and opportunity is creating chaos at a time when confidence and cohesion are needed to address the displacement of populations in alarming numbers.

But difficulties with the migration of people across borders will gather pace as the numbers rise beyond the coping mechanisms of recipient countries.

Such immense movements of people coupled with the resultant demand for accommodation, education, health-care and jobs will outstrip any available resources.

Leadership is needed not just within Europe and the United States but around the world as countries try to make sense of a world on the march.

In the current anti-capitalism climate the challenge is clear, as a well-articulated alternative is required to halt the flow of families and calm communities.

So, capitalism is in crises as the free movement of people and goods morphs into a more pragmatic and less inspiring reality of barriers and borders.