A Global Partnership of Silo Economies (GPSE) | John Drewry
The lauded security of global networks now shows its flipside – Covid-19 is global, exploiting the networks more effectively than we ever could. The ‘curse’ of the nation state is resurrected in no uncertain terms with the re-emergence of self-interest and enforced borders. Aviation and airports became inoperative, and will be remembered as the major pathway to international virus spread (by the way, is anybody measuring the less-polluted heavens with the absence of a billion gallons a day being burned?).
The UK’s service sector took an unsurprising dive. This is particularly a problem when 80% of GDP relies on it, having jettisoned industry and agriculture decades ago. Just-in-time became just-not-in-time, with reliance on sophisticated and lengthy distribution chains unable to prevent empty shelves and uncompleted manufacture.
There are words and expressions which need re-examining in this extraordinary situation, e.g. “silo”, “drawbridge”, “competing in the global economy”. “Silo” and “drawbridge” have become pejorative words, suggesting an inward-looking, zombie attitude to ‘progress’. We have to “think expansively, not with a Luddite, silo mentality”, with no “protectionist drawbridge” to prevent a flood of cheap imports. This is the propaganda of the globalists. “Competing in the global economy” has been the mantra for a long time. You don’t have to be a Marxist, of course, to understand that one country’s gain is another’s loss in the global marketplace. An international capitalist understands this equally. It’s a question of whether that’s acceptable any longer and, if so, in whose interest?The illusion of ever-expanding global wealth was already flawed in many ways – food banks and itinerant homeless are just two testaments to that. But it takes an invisible, uncontrollable enemy to shake us up and challenge the accepted mores for the flimsy realities they are (the commitment to get the homeless off the streets within a decade is superseded by the decision to get them off the streets immediately and into hotel rooms – needs must, as they say).
It is already being voiced that things will never be the same after Covid-19. More importantly, however, is the direction a different reality takes us. Perhaps the world’s people should have a say in this, rather than their rulers.
I propose that the idea of self-sufficiency is floated amongst the peoples of the world. That every country is indeed an entity, and every community within each country. That every country agrees to focus on itself as a first priority. That every country draws up a list of its production capabilities – does it have the natural and human resources to produce its own steel, its own fruit, its own grain, its own meat, its own textiles, its own TVs, its own pottery, its own fish, its own drugs R&D, etc.? Whatever it can produce itself means it agrees to instil tariffs sufficient to make importing unprofitable, thus protecting its agriculture and industry. Whatever it can’t produce itself it agrees on no tariff barriers to imports. Self-sufficiency and self-determination are inextricably bound together and are totally at odds with the globalists.
A Global Partnership of Silo Economies (GPSE) is a common agreement across the globe for each nation-state to maximise self-sufficiency as its first and ongoing priority, so it only exports its surplus after its own citizens have been satisfied. Thus it becomes irrelevant what the price of steel or apples is in two countries that can both produce steel and apples. The price is the price, in their own respective currencies, and there would be agreed on tariffs to prevent any import invasion. What this prevents is a situation where, at the touch of a screen, price change in one country can put a whole manufacturing or agricultural community in another country out of work overnight. Of course, if both countries have a genuine surplus, they could compete in the global market to sell their steel and apples to countries that can’t produce their own.
GPSE highlights a simple truth – if countries aren’t focused primarily on their own citizens’ health, wealth and happiness, then they don’t believe in themselves but rather succumb to a higher, non-democratic super-power. GPSE gives every world citizen a purpose and an identity. It resurrects industry and agriculture on a smaller scale but across the world, cascading to fuller employment and the re-emergence of indigenous industries, currencies and cultures.
GPSE also rewrites the script for developing nations. Those with the resources but behind with the technology to maximise them for their own benefit clearly need foreign investment. Globalisation does this by establishing an international base, treating the country like a department, sucking out the resources for international markets, often leaving the host country poorer than it was before, and certainly not benefiting from its own resources. GPSE takes an entirely different position, whereby an investor’s priority is to invest in the country’s future prosperity, in return for a fair share of it.
GPSE is a slowing down, a scaling down, a potential end to the insanity of global greed, not a retrograde step but a replacement of corporate aggrandisement with personal self-worth, motivation and global stability through partnership in a singular idea. It may be a Utopian idea, but Covid-19 couldn’t be a clearer wake-up call for a radical rethink about our ability to survive on this planet. It may be a final opportunity for each nation state to invest in itself and manage our world in a sustainable manner.