Luttwak again

From Edward Luttwak’s recent articleWhy the Trump Dynasty will last 16 years” on the root causes of Trump’s win, in case you missed it:

……..That gathering of lean and hungry Clint­onians is the world mercilessly exposed in Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s doomed campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes. Meticulously researched and strenuously un­biased, it is the most useful book published so far on the 2016 Presidential election as a whole, as well as the Clinton campaign specifically. It certainly convinced me that Clinton did not understand in what country she was running for election: not one populated by black women (they dominated her convention), environmental activists, patriotic Muslims, vegans, committed free-traders and social engineers, but chiefly a country of car owners and bitterly frustrated would-be new car owners, a far better categorization than Clinton’s own “deplorables”.

That is why the car affordability numbers revealed in June 2016 were so vastly significant in determining the outcome of the elections. Going by metropolitan areas, they extracted maximum affordable car prices from median incomes. The latter ranged from the stellar $87,210 of San Jose in the opulence of California’s Silicon Valley, all the way down to the $24,701 of deindustrialized Cleveland, Ohio, numbers that in turn yielded maximum affordable price limits of $32,855 in San Jose, and $7,558 in Cleveland – not actually the lowest number, which was Detroit’s $6,174, owing to high average insurance costs in that crime-afflicted city (at $1,131.40 per annum, as compared to Cleveland’s $659.47).

What made these seemingly obscure numbers nothing less than momentous was that the cheapest new car on sale in the United States in 2016 was the Nissan Versa sedan at $12,825, twice the level that average households could afford in Detroit or Cleveland, and more than average households could afford in cities ranging from Philadelphia, Orlando, Milwaukee, Memphis, Providence, New Orleans, Miami and Buffalo, as well as, a fortiori, in a very great number of smaller localities across the United States, even in high-income states such as California and Oregon, as well much more commonly in the lower-income Southern and rust-belt states.

The mass exclusion of Americans from new car ownership is the result of two converging phenomena, only one of which was recognized by Hillary Clinton, though scarcely emphasized in her identity-focused campaign: wage stag­nation. Sanders and Trump did not hesitate to blame that relative impoverishment on the exposure of the least agile of Americans to international competition, with the resulting de-industrialization that translated millions of Americans from $20-to-40-an-hour factory jobs to miserably paid service jobs. Beholden to the sanctity of free trade, the Clinton crowd even more than the candidate herself blamed the lethargy of the TV-watching, beer-drinking, gun-owning, church-going, and cigarette-smoking “deplorables”, who unaccountably failed to avail themselves of the wonderful opportunity to leave boring assembly-line jobs or downright dangerous coal-face or oil drilling jobs to become fashion designers, foreign-exchange traders, software engineers, or even political campaign operatives.

 

Wolfgang Streeck on Trump

 

The bloggers at Barrelstrength continue to try to understand what is going on. If that means some or all of us start sounding anti-capitalist, please be advised: any theory pushed to extremes becomes a tyranny, including even our own ideas. We are as firmly pro-market as we can be in the circumstances. The relevant question these days is: what is the nature of our circumstances?  We are each of us searching for answers to what has gone wrong: income stagnation for the masses, coupled with fantastic increases in wealth of the top one tenth of one percent. Whether it be Peter Thiel, Chrystia Freedland, Edward Luttwak, or today’s guest columnist, Wolfgang Streeck, every thinking person is actively considering how much internationalization [free trade + semi-open borders] is good for our own countries.

An excerpt:

Those aggrieved by the accelerated internationalization of their societies felt abandoned by their national state. Elites in charge of public affairs were judged guilty of having handed national sovereignty to international organizations. These charges were largely true. Global neoliberalism has enfeebled the nation state, and with it, national democracy. Citizens most affected by these events had only their votes to express their displeasure.

Trumpism took off, fueled as much in the United States as elsewhere by popular irritation at the vast public celebration of internationalization. Economic and cultural elites entered an international space rich in their rights, at ease both in and out of national states. If democracy is understood as the possibility of establishing social obligations toward those luckless in the marketplace, the global elites had entered into, or created, a world in which there was a great deal of lucklessness and not many obligations.

For those plotting to take advantage of growing discontent, nationalism appeared as an obvious formula both for social reconstruction and political success. The winners and the losers of globalism found themselves reflected in a conflict between cosmopolitanism and nationalism. The old left having withdrawn into stateless internationalism, the new right offered the nation-state to fill the ensuing political vacuum. Liberal disgust at Trumpian rhetoric served to justify the withdrawal of the left from its constituents, and to explain its failure to help them express their grievances in civilized public language. Discontent grew fast.

The Trump presidency is both the outcome and the end of the American version of neo-liberalism. Having commenced crumbling in the era of George W. Bush, the neo-liberal regime managed to regain an appearance of vitality under Barack Obama. With his departure, it was bound to collapse under the weight of its contradictions, and, indeed, absurdities.

Clinton’s daring attempt to present herself as advocate of those Americans “working hard and playing by the rules,” while collecting a fortune in speaker’s fees from Goldman Sachs, was destined to fail. So, too, was Clinton’s insistence that it was the historical duty of American voters to elect her as their first female president. Transgendered restrooms infuriated everyone except those seeking access to them, no matter the Obama administration’s attempt to depict bathroom access as a civil right.11 Deep down, no one cared.

Wolfgang Streeck

“If Trumpists feel bound by their electoral promises, they must put an end to neoliberal reform. This will not end the impasse between capitalism and society. In the absence of a stable class compromise between capital and labor, policy is doomed to become capricious. Perhaps Trumpism will make its departure from neoliberalism and free trade palatable to capital by increasing credit, debt, and inflation—another policy intended to buy time and little else. Nobody knows what Trumpists will do to shore up their political support if economic nationalism fails to produce the promised results.”

In Systems of Survival, the late Jane Jacobs spoke of two moral systems, or syndromes, the guardian and the market.. The relevance of the two systems never diminishes, though the strength of the institutions  influenced by each system can vary at different times in history. What we have witnessed in the past forty years has been the increasing dominance of the market system over the guardian system of morality. If people are feeling adrift and bereft, they turn to the only guardian institution they know, the state, to help them get through the crisis.

Jacobs’ thinking on these matters is of permanent importance. Despite Trump’s chaotic, incompetent governing style, the forces that brought Trump to power cannot be ignored, although the internationalists will do their best to whistle past the graveyard – pointing to Putin and Russia as to why Hillary lost. It looks as if they are setting themselves up to be beaten again at the polls.

Thiel, Buckley, and Piereson

In the video attached, there are three people who I think you should be paying attention to: Peter Thiel, discussed in my earlier post, Frank Buckley, the Canadian law professor who has become an American citizen, and who explains why Canada is doing so much better than the United States, and William Piereson, of the Manhattan Institute. He is the first American I have heard who is talking about regime wars, that is, purely political wars about the nature and character of the state itself. This kind of struggle is what I see happening in the United States, although it is still peaceful and has not yet degenerated into violence. Piereson is speaking of a division of the States into two nations, and he asks – though he cannot yet answer –  whether it will result in regime change. Thiel sees the basis of the difficulty in the lack of economic growth in things other than computers, which he calls “stuff”. Buckley says the spectre of class struggle has been hovering over American politics, for which Trump was in part an answer. Buckley asserts that social class has been the core of the electoral struggle in 2016. Piereson sees Trump as attempting to restore the United States to a traditional nation state, with defended borders. What is it that drives the opposition crazy when he tries to do this, he asks?

Kristol comes across as a snob. Thiel says the shocking thing is how bad the personnel of the US government are and how unaware they are of how bad they are. In response to Kristol’s disdain for Trump, Piereson says that every one of Obama, Hillary and Saunders were guilty of demagoguery; it is just an epithet for appealing to voters with arguments you do not like.

Both Buckley and Thiel insist that economic liberty must be restored in the United States from its current ranking of 17th in the world.

Finally, and I think this is the clincher, Thiel says that there is no less reason to be afraid of communism now than there was in the Soviet era. The threat of communism is greater, not less, now that the Soviet Union has collapsed. Just look at world politics.

Peter Thiel

I could try to be as clever but I think that anything I want to say about the state of the world has been said better by Peter Thiel in this interview in March of 2017.

And speaking of a world where stagnation is expected, end even desired, Thiel argues that Obama’s regime was fundamentally into transferring wealth into the very rich, while seeming to care about the poor. This guy is deeper and smarter than I am, and I am okay with that. Listen to his critique of Obama from the point of view of the original Marxists. He describes Obama’s philosophy as “pessimistic epicurianism”: that is a whole new level of insight and insult. He fears the return of the Malthusian calculus: because of stalling technological progress, population may grow to the limits of starvation, a starvation fed by corn syrup. He insults Obama by saying he does not even live up to the scientific optimism of Karl Marx.

Chrystia Freeland on the Plutocrats, Angus Deaton on the American white poor

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Our Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, was once a senior economics writer at Thomson Reuters and The Financial Times. She is the author of Plutocrats (2012).

I urge you to read it. Chrystia wrote this book without rancor or malice, which only makes the results more devastating. The 1%, and the one tenth of 1% , have become fantastically richer since the late 1970s. Though they have worked hard for their money, the majority of the super-rich have made their money out of finance not manufacturing.

Freeland concludes her book with a warning about cognitive capture: the process whereby the super rich come to believe their interests really are the most important in society, and the capture of legislatures composed largely of members of the 1% means that the interests of the truly very rich will be attended to by those who only have a few millions, and want to join.

Speaking of the Venetian Republic, that famous example of a highly successful commercial empire, she traces its decline from measures it took to close off access to its wealthiest classes by young entrepreneurs. The closure was a change of the rules on joint ventures, whereby the rich financed the young and adventurous. It was called la Serrata.

She fears for the same tendency in the world of the ultra rich today.

“This cultural Serrata matters because it increases the political myopia of the plutocrats. Add to that ordinary greed and a society that has turned its capitalists into popular heroes and you have an economic elite primed to repeat the mistake of the Venetian merchants – to drink its own Kool-Aid (or maybe prosecco is the better metaphor) to conflate its own self-interests with the interest of society as a whole. Low taxes, light-touch regulation, weak unions, and unlimited campaign contributions are certainly in the best interests of the plutocrats, but that doesn’t mean they are the right way to maintain the economic system that created today’s super elite.”

I shall make some inferences from having read this book, which may not be justified, but which I suspect are true.

  1. The author of this book is a very clever cookie, and it is a credit to Canada that somehow she has climbed this far.
  2. Her analysis of what it means to live in a society dominated by plutocrats is the same as Trump’s: the domestic working class is being neglected and the plutocrats do not give a damn for maintaining first world salaries or wage rates.

Points one and two can be demoinstrated by reading her book. My third inference is more conjectural.

3. The reason the Trudeau Liberals have refrained from criticism and restrained themselves from doing anything stupid in relation to Trump, the reason they have appointed a serious senior finance journalist to the international affairs ministry, is that their analysis of the large picture –  framed in the light of arguments made by Freeland – is not much that different from Trump’s intuitive take on the position we have arrived at. Too much plutocracy; too much influence of the plutocrats over politics and governments.

If you doubt Freeland’s take for partizan reasons (fool!), I would like to refer you to Angus Deaton, the Princeton economist (of Scottish origin) and Nobel winner whose work on inequality, and increasing mortality rates in the American working class, should inform everyone who is trying to make sense of politics these days.

For my part, I recommend Plutocrats for a sane and carefully researched appreciation of the large picture. It is an easy read, and that is a compliment.

A more scholarly and broader ranging interpretation is given in Deaton’s book, The Great Escape: Health, Wealth and the Origins of Inequality,  which I have just ordered. The key charts you should look at are found in Deaton’s discussion in the Wharton business school article “Is Despair Killing the White Working Class?”

The article contains one graph which shows why Trump won, which you have to click on to expand to its full size. The complete article and its charts are found here.

 

3D Printing

 

The launch of a missile into space is not news. The fact that the rocket was made by a three-D printing process is.

The process is explained (in greater detail than you want to know) here.

The Guardian reports:

Rocket Lab is one of about 30 companies and agencies worldwide developing small satellite launchers as an alternative to firms jostling for space on larger launches or paying around $50 million for a dedicated service. The company said in a statement it has now received $148m in funding and is valued in excess of $1bn.

Rocket Lab’s customers include NASA, earth-imaging firm Planet and startups Spire and Moon Express.

A newspaper rarely carries any actual news. Most of the time the headlines are the equivalent of “Pope says mass at Easter” such as “Muslim kills 30 in bomb explosion”. Today something novel got the through the screen.

Related articles here, and here

The Accidental Superpower

I urge you to read Peter Zeihan’s “The Accidental Superpower: The next generation of American Preeminence and the Coming Global Disorder”.

I will start with Zeihan’s method and professional bias, and then move to his observations.

Zeihan is an American geographer, who used to be a chief researcher at Stratfor, the geo-political analysis firm. The geographer’s deformation professionelle is that material factors of mountain range, rivers, plains, and harbours explain nearly everything about a how a society develops in the long term, and demography explains nearly everything else. Thus you can read books by Zeihan or  George Friedman ( The Next Decade, the Next 100 Years) and never read about culture or religion.

This leaves me somewhat at a loss to sympathize with  their world view. After all, speaking as a culturalist and a sky-hooker, this approach devalues what I think are the primary drivers of society. On the other hand, the emphasis on material factors which shape a culture, and the opportunities a culture is able to find for itself as a result,  is bracing.

Zeihan’s argument proceeds as follows.

  • America has been endowed with enormous natural advantages in terms of climate, available harbours, enormous riverine transport abilities, several thousand miles of isolation from potential enemies, huge areas contiguous to rivers that allow  easy agriculture, and as much energy as it needs.
  • The Bretton Woods agreements at the end of World War 2 said, in essence, that the US Navy would protect all maritime transport, thus obviating the need for nations to build navies to protect shipping, and opened the United States as a market to the signatories to the Agreements. At the end of WW2, the US was by far the most significant market. Thus countries were allowed to export their way out of the calamitous ruin of war. These agreements have been maintained by the US and its navy. Since 1945, says Zeihan, much of the world has been spared the need to fear their neighbours.
  • The stability of these arrangements has been threatened by the baby-bust that started around 1965. Industrialized countries are experiencing aging as never before. What hit Japan a decade ago will hit us all soon enough, with the significant exception of the United States. Consumer market expansion in Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, China, Belgium, Canada, Italy, Russia, Spain, Korea, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Norway, Denmark, Portugal and Finland will have ceased.
  • According to Zeihan, if these societies are no longer consuming en masse, “then much of what limited economic rationale exists for Bretton Woods disappears from the American point of view”.
  • Capital, which is now abundant and therefore cheap, will become much more scarce and expensive.
  • At the same time the United States is approaching energy self-sufficiency through the exploitation of shale oil technologies. This development will further insulate the United States from the world and increase its lack of interest in managing the world’s conflicts. Zeihan foresees that sooner or later, gradually or suddenly, the United States will shift into an isolationist political period. The relatively stable world created by the Bretton Woods framework will disappear and history will resume in its violent and chaotic ways.
  • China will fall apart. Conflicts will resume within Europe. The European Union will dissolve. Russia in in ireversible economic decline. Naval competition will resume. Wars, famines, pestilence, state failure: he predicts it all for the period 2015-2030. At the end of which, the United States will emerge more pre-eminent than ever.

You do not have to believe a word of it to benefit from Zeihan’s bracing and fact-based analysis.

I think Zeihan underestimates the interest that Americans have in a stable world order. I think he underestimates the connectedness of the US to the rest of the world, by any and all means: disease, drugs, the damage of wars, trade, ideologies, immigration, and sympathy for the afflicted.

Nevertheless, Zeihan’s emphasis on demographics and energy is productive. Demographics affords a powerful insight into the  near future. Enormous changes are being inflicted upon the world by changed reproductive patterns, by the decisions taken by billions of women not to have as many children. There is no population boom; that stopped around 1965, before most of the readers of this column were born, I venture to say. World population decline is the largest fact affecting the world in the 21st century. “Gaia’s Revenge” ought to be its title – but that would be my book, not Zeihan’s.

 

 

“We used to be the filter”

 

I was listening today to a journalist whom I rather like and do not agree with, Susan Delacourt. It was at a conference on digital governance. (Yes, cynics, I can see your eyes rolling). Susan is a decent sort of leftie, and in this case I use her to illustrate an issue about how the media have changed.

Her source of concern was a demonstration that occurred in Toronto recently where a bunch of Canadians were ranting about Islam, with the fear that some parliamentary motion was going to be the first step in the imposition of sharia law in Ontario.

Her comment on the issue of the media’s lack of control was this:

“We used to be the filter” and she added, sotto voce, “we have to go back to being the filter”. She said that, years ago, the racist rantings of a group of Ontarians upset about Islam, or anything else for that matter,  would simply not receive wider circulation. Now everything is on YouTube. To find the clip above I simply entered “Toronto meeting Islam parliamentary motion”.

The upside of the digital revolution has been the changed media landscape; the downside has been the same. Nothing can be stopped any longer from being published. No locker room talk of 15 years ago can escape it. No  picture of anyone with a dick in their mouth. No careless word, no angry remonstrance. No intemperate remark goes unpublished.  There is no filter any more. You cannot “pull a story”. There is no central control, there is no fixed set of reporters, editors and news outlets. Google has sucked the revenues out of the newspaper business. Reporters are working faster to shorter deadlines for less money, with no time to develop a source, correct an error, or get it right.

As Blair Atholl once remarked, the printing press had a five hundred year run. The 19th century hot linotype machine defined the range and circulation of the news-paper. As an industrial structure it is passing out of existence.

The result has been the diminishment of the status of the reporter, the media outlet, and the editor, as well as the elimination of thousands of newspaper jobs. News gathering is much more do-it-yourself. Citizen empowerment means any bozo can upload something to YouTube, and does.

But the upside has been the lessening of thought and speech controls. People who are pissed off about Islam can say so now. The “facts” of global warming can be disputed. The people against the European Union can reach out to one another. Geert Wilders, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Pat Condell, Nigel Farage, Trump: people that the media would like to turn off, not record, not hear from: they cannot be censored any longer.

The interesting thing about today’s comment from Ms. Delacourt was her frank admission that they used to practice censorship and would like to do so again. For better or worse, the days are gone when the bien-pensant media class exercized censorship, try as they might to restore it.

The battle over Trump has been as much about the by-passing of media controls as it has been about Republican versus Democrat. As we have seen, those who hate Trump go ballistic at every mis-statement, such as for example, his reference to “trouble last night in Sweden”, and they miss the main point that everyone else seems able to understand, that Sweden is in dire straits because of too many uncivilized Islamic immigrants. They strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.

Moreover, the long-term suppression by the bien-pensants of what they believed people simply should not hear or see, was the cause of the build-up of popular resentment of the media. The job of selection, analysis, and assessment has passed out of the hands of a clerisy into the hands of the people. For better or worse. I say: for the better.

The fall of the Dark Tower, the Barad Dur, or the Impending Collapse of the Global Warming Hysteria:

 

 

The most significant and predictable impact of the Trump Presidency will be the collapse of the global warming hysteria that has gripped policy makers for the last ten years, or longer.

To repeat, the world’s climate is constantly changing. The issue is whether the effect of all the CO2 we are putting into the air is causing some or all of the observed, and rather small, amount of global warming.

Three facts are observed.

  • Atmospheric CO2 is climbing past 400 parts per million, and it is not conceivable that the increase of CO2 has some other origin than human.
  • Atmospheric temperatures show significantly less increase than the computers models of the IPCC have predicted. [This alone ought to be enough to dismiss the alarm, if AGW were a scientific proposition.]
  • Politicians and civil servants have created and sustained the global warming hysteria, for various reasons: increased tax revenues, the appearance of doing something about a world-threatening problem, and the greater control over the economy which  anthropogenic global warming (AGW) justifies.

In an excellent essay in The Manhattan Contrarian, the author points to Trumps cabinet appointments in energy and the environment, and draws the following conclusions.

Now the backers of the global warming alarm will not only be called upon to debate, but will face the likelihood of being called before a highly skeptical if not hostile EPA to answer all of the hard questions that they have avoided answering for the last eight years.  Questions like:  Why are recorded temperatures, particularly from satellites and weather balloons, so much lower than the alarmist models had predicted?  How do you explain an almost-20-year “pause” in increasing temperatures even as CO2 emissions have accelerated?  What are the details of the adjustments to the surface temperature record that have somehow reduced recorded temperatures from the 1930s and 40s, and thereby enabled continued claims of “warmest year ever” when raw temperature data show warmer years 70 and 80 years ago?  Suddenly, the usual hand-waving (“the science is settled”) is not going to be good enough any more.  What now?

As the Contrarian writes, of the $28 billion the US Department of Energy spends annually, roughly half of it went to global warming research and energy investment predicated on the replacement of fossil fuels. These projects will all disappear once the spigot of government funding is turned off. The AGW fanatics will have to find useful jobs, and the corrupted scientists can go back to measuring things without recourse to false doctrines.

Like Sauron’s tower, the Barad-Dür,  AGW will collapse when the Ring of Green Power is melted, and Trump is about to toss the Ring of Green Power into the cleansing fire of rational skepticism. What an unlikely Frodo! What an inconceivable Gollum!

 

 

 

ü

Globalization, national sovereignty and democratic politics

Earlier this year, an economist named Dani Rodrik published an article of some importance, that in part helps explain Trump’s victory.

I am leaving aside the racial-cultural element of anti-whiteism discussed recently in Identity Politics, the Polite and Rude Versions. That explanation has real but limited application, just as has this economically-oriented approach.

Briefly, Rodrik called it the trilemma of the world economy, and the trick is: you can only have two of the three outcomes.

According to Rodrik, the choice is among the nation state, democratic politics, and international economic integration. You can get any two but not three, in full. I will question this assertion more fully below, because in the end I think one is left, in the globalized economic order, with neither state nor democracy. Let us begin with the issue of national sovereignty.

Rodrik cited the economic writer Andrew Evans Pritchard on why the latter  supported Brexit.

“Stripped of distractions, it comes down to an elemental choice: whether to restore the full self-government of this nation, or to continue living under a higher supranational regime, ruled by a European Council that we do not elect in any meaningful sense, and that the British people can never remove, even when it persists in error.

We are deciding whether to be guided by a Commission with quasi-executive powers that operates more like the priesthood of the 13th Century papacy than a modern civil service; and whether to submit to a European Court (ECJ) that claims sweeping supremacy, with no right of appeal.

It is whether you think the nation states of Europe are the only authentic fora of democracy, be it in this country, or Sweden, or the Netherlands, or France ….”

This is exactly the argument I have made about Brexit: that to remain in the EU was to revert England to a form of government last seen in the pre-Reformation Tudor era, where parliament had very limited jurisdiction and the Papacy (think Cardinal Wolsey) had very large jurisdiction. In this case replace the Papacy and Church with the European Commission and the European Court of Justice. Nowadays the Remainders get to play the role of Catholics in a protestantizing Britain. Think of Henry VIII as an early Brexiter.

Rodrik himself thought the the European Union could successfully combine a hyper-integrated common market with democratic politics. After the treatment that Greece received in the past couple of years, he no longer believed so.

_________________________________________________________________________

In regards to the United States and Trump, there is no ambiguity to be found. If the United States has to abandon deeper economic integration in order to preserve its nationhood, then it will do so. It will restrict illegal immigration, and raise the price of the labour of those already within its borders. If that means Americans will pay more at Wal-Mart, so be it. If economic integration with China requires some tougher enforcement of rules, then Trump will get China’s attention by beefing up the security and recognition of Taiwan.

Hillary Clinton stood for tighter economic integration and democratic politics, at the expense of the nation state.  Trump stands for a stronger assertion of the nation state and democratic politics, with economic integration the relatively less important.

To my mind, the degree of loss of national sovereignty implied in hyper-globalization ultimately means a lessening of the range and effect democratic politics as well., because in the modern age the state acts as the expression of the popular will, as transcribed and translated though constitutional arrangements. In order to make economic integration work, there must be dispute settlement, and for dispute settlement to work, the will of the people – as expressed through local legislatures – must be frustrated by the property rights of corporations and other economic actors to be compensated for any limitation on their treaty-based “rights” to earn money.

It is entirely possible to have states without democratic arrangements, as ancient and recent polities attest, but is difficult to conceive democratic arrangements without a stet in which they are housed and expressed.

Consider international copyright regimes. If Canada pursues a cultural policy favouring domestic television and movie production, it will inevitably limit, or try to limit, the economic presence of foreign copyright-holding interests on its airwaves. This is Canadian broadcasting policy, tout court.  Full economic integration of the kind foreseen in the Transpacific Partnership implies the right to sue for the violation of economic rights of a corporation by a host government. [See for example, investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms, in the Wikipedia article just cited.]

Thus I arrive at the Dalwhinnie proposition: the perfection of global trade demands a degree of extra-parliamentary adjudication that puts and end to popular sovereignty. Democratic institutions become irrelevant.

In the long run, it is not a trilemma among state sovereignty, democratic politics, and globalization. You do not get a choice among any two, if global economic integration is to be perfected. You get one: transnational global economic and political integration. National level democracies and state sovereignties would be held down by a web of rule making that is extra-parliamentary. Votes would cease to matter – as they have in most national referenda in Europe about the European Union, whether to leave or join.

That would explain the recent revolts against the consensus of the Volvo-drivers.

Accordingly, the Trump victory is no small thing. It is, truly, an American Brexit.