The Financial Times on the internal contradictions of nationalism
By Scott Sumner
[I]f all countries become nationalistic, they will end up clashing with each other. No such contradiction exists for neoliberalism.
Janan Ganesh has a great article discussing this issue, which begins as follows:
Bill Hicks, the late comic and grouch, dreamt of a political party for “people who hate people”. He just couldn’t get them to come together in the same room. The great egoist movement was undone by its central principle.
I think of the skit whenever the world brotherhood of jingoist authoritarians is talked up. US president Donald Trump is in this group, with, among others, the leaders of China (Xi Jinping), Russia (Vladimir Putin), India (Narendra Modi) and Brazil (Jair Bolsonaro). Mr Trump and Mr Xi are superpower rivals, America cancelled India’s preferential trading status, and still the idea of a Nationalist International survives.
It should not survive the coronavirus pandemic. Recent months have further teased out the differences between these conflated governments. Their domestic autocracy is real enough, but their coherence as a bloc is overstated. Liberalism is not confronted by anything like a unified opponent.
Read the whole thing.