As I perceive it the working class in both the UK and USA has been left behind. They used to be respected as the salt of the earth. They had hard, messy, dirty, dangerous jobs that were well paid and respected – mining, oil, ship building, car construction, steel, power work, factory work, dockers, truck driving. Those jobs are going. Globalisation has already taken many of these jobs abroad. Mechanisation has reduced the need for a workforce. AI will take the rest of those jobs. New technology, such as alternative energy, has superseded the old dirty technology. We no longer need all these miners, dockers, factory workers. They have been moved into low-paid, mundane work – stacking shelves in supermarkets, delivering parcels. It is work that is low paid and lacks respect.
Their way of life has gone. They no longer have the pay. They no longer have the respect. Their communities are crumbling. They do not have the skills to retrain into Hi-Tec work. they feel neglected, let down and abandoned.
They have been.
Politicians went for things that drove the economy. They focussed on the money. Unfortunately they forgot the people.
The money has all poured up to the wealthy investors and away from ordinary people.
They brought in cheap labour from abroad to do the low-pay, boring work to maximise profits.
They did not put in place any meaningful work for our own displaced workers that would command respect from the rest of the community. They overlooked the pride and sense of community in the workforce that was no longer required. They effectively dumped the working class.
What the result of this revolution in AI/Globalisation/mechanisation has been is a large number of angry, frustrated and embittered workers who have lost their self-respect, lost their purpose in life and feel unwanted and let down.
The perception is that the country has gone to the dogs, it was much better in the past, the lousy politicians have sold them down the river.
They are angry with the influx of immigrants who have undercut them and keep pay levels down.
They are angry that their jobs have gone.
They are angry that factories have gone abroad where workers’ pay is lower and health and safety and environment rules are less stringent.
They are angry at the new technologies that are replacing the old.
They are angry about mechanisation and A/I that is taking away their jobs.
They are angry about being unemployed, having no money, having to do menial tasks and their loss of respect.
They are angry at the immoral politicians who have lined their own pockets and ignored what is happening to the ordinary people.
Then Brexit and Trump come along.
Brexit was an opportunity for them to vent their spleen and shout out about the immigrants, the lousy politicians and the EU who have overseen the system.
Trump comes along and promised to keep the old industries going, denied there is any global warming necessitating a move to alternative energy, and offered a war against immigration.
Out of frustration, anger and impotence they turned to populist politicians, with their simplistic answers, who offered a shred of hope.
Brexit offers a return to a past that didn’t exist. Somehow we could stop all immigration, get rid of the millions of immigrants who have taken our jobs, make Britain great again, get the country working for the working class again and everything would be alright. The blame for what has gone wrong could be placed on the unelected bureaucrats of Brussels. We had the Dunkirk spirit. We could be great again.
Trump offered to keep coal, oil, steel and gas going. Ignore pollution and global warming. He told them it was all lies. He promised to build walls to stop immigrants flooding in and taking jobs and to drain the swamp of corruption. He’d put America first and make it great again. We’d go back to the good old days where the working class were paid well and respected.
Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way.
Global warming is real.
Pollution is real.
We do not need the old polluting technology. The world is changing over to new clean technology.
AI is going to take away all those jobs.
It is ironical to think that Brexit and Trump will actually accelerate the decline of the working classes. Following a brief resurgence there will be an acceleration in their decline.
Global warming and climate change will exacerbate the mass migration. The more pollutants pumped out the faster the process.
The tax cuts brought in by Trump went straight to the top end. The inequality grows. They will take that money out of the system – usually abroad where they can invest at higher rates.
The swamp is far from being drained. Trump is merely adding his own swamp to the existing one. The swamp is getting bigger.
The corporate elite still control the world, have no restrictions, and are exploiting workers and stuffing their loot in tax havens. The environment is being destroyed, poverty and war are being used as tools and their control is ever greater. Trump and the Right-Wing capitalists who ran the Brexit campaign, are the very people who created the problem and who are benefitting.
It doesn’t have to be like this.
In my view we need to do a number of things:
Control the corporate elite;
Stop the environmental damage;
Stop the tax havens;
Have a global progressive taxation system;
Reduce inequality (not remove it);
Provide meaningful jobs which have respect;
Stop politicians milking the system;
Bring in new technology and AI to benefit ordinary people;
Have a global perspective.
The world is changing. We have to move with it. Allowing populists, who represent the worst, to run things is a recipe for disaster.
This is the time where we have to stand for higher ideals and demand a fairer society – not support the selfish, greedy people who are directing it for their own gain.