CAN Brexit go so far as to threaten an end to globalisation?
It’s true that Britain has voted to withdraw from the European Union and return to its former self, both politically and economically.
However, the narrow margin and the voting pattern in last Thursday’s referendum in the world’s fifth largest economy seems also matters, no less than the result.
Taking England for instance.
London, one of the world’s biggest financial capitals, voted overwhelmingly to remain, while the loudest voice for leave came from particularly the provincial North of England — the target of Downing Street’s recent development project.
This conveys an important message about globalisation.
While it has led to open trade and free movement of personnel worldwide, it failed to bring benefits to everybody, even those in wealthy countries.
Income gap has further widened in Western countries.
Wage stagnation and job losses have long worried the working class.
Most of them have blamed the hardships on immigrants, and this has turned out to be the major argument for Brexiters.
The British case is not an isolated surprise.
Similar dissatisfaction from similar people have found a similar outlet in a vote across the Atlantic.
Some Americans have laid bare their anti-establishment and anti-elite sentiments in their support for presidential contender Donald Trump.
Brexit “speaks to the ongoing changes and challenges that are raised by globalisation,” said U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday.
So, maybe Brexit marks a right moment for globalisation advocates to have a break and think better about how to tackle the consequent challenges and how to move next.
Especially the European Union. Brexit has brought its difficulties and problems into spotlight.
The bloc of 28 members — 27 without Britain — has seen rapid expansion to take in Eastern European countries in 2004 in its long time efforts toward European integration, widely seen as a pet project of globalisation.
However, how to find peace and comfort between national sovereignty and EU establishment, between limits on immigrant inflows and the free movement of people, and between justice among members and gaps in development levels?
The issues are still as thorny as before.
Better solutions, despite political and economic pressures as a result of the financial crises and refugee influxes, might have kept Britain in.
Reforms thus seem in an urgent need for the EU.
As a major setback in the European integration and globalisation, Brexit is also feared to boost a surge in nationalism and protectionism in a number of countries.
This might prompt further exits from the EU.
However, closer links and deeper interdependence among countries, in addition to economic benefits as a result of globalization, have made it difficult for things worldwide to go otherwise.
As for the grand mansion of globalization, immediate repairs after Brexit are now necessary, and access to its benefits for the poor and more people around the world is the priority.
From ZINHUA New Agency