Since the fall of the Soviet Union, most businesses have made long-term decisions based on the assumption that global trade was on an irreversible arc toward greater freedom. That era is now over.
In the short term, the Trans Pacific Partnership is dead, and China will move into the vacuum it leaves behind (The New York Times). This won’t end up “bringing jobs home.” It means more trade and more jobs will remain in Asia, where China and its trading partners will move forward with their own business. Progressives feared that TPP would open the door to foreign countries suing to overturn environmental rules in the U.S. Ironically, under a Trump administration, those rules are now in far greater danger closer to home.
In the longer term, anyone who still believes in “a more connected world” — who trusts that drawing an ever broader swath of humanity into the web of world trade benefits everyone — needs to go back to the drawing board, because too many Americans never got the message (Quartz). As with the U.K.’s Brexit, the U.S.’s new isolationism will end up hurting ourselves more than anyone else.
Clean Tech Will Go On Without Us
Efforts to reverse global climate change are in deep trouble. We can fully expect President Trump to act on his declared intention of gutting his predecessor’s limited efforts to rein in the U.S.’s carbon emissions. What Trump can’t accomplish with a stroke of his pen, he can enact with the help of the Republican Congress (Vox).
The rest of the world isn’t going to stop pursuing clean-energy alternatives. They’ll just do so while leaving the U.S. behind (Grist). That means Trump’s screw-the-climate policies constitute a two-for-one special on self-sabotage: Floods, droughts, and refugee crises will be more likely — and at the same time, the U.S. economy will shoot itself in the foot by abandoning a critical part of the future of energy and manufacturing. What a deal!
Trump is Mad at Amazon
Authoritarian governments go after the businesses and media outlets that they don’t like. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos found himself in the crosshairs of Donald Trump’s ire many times this year (Time). Trump complained that Amazon “gets away with murder tax-wise” and has “a huge antitrust problem.” And of course Bezos is the owner of the Washington Post, which did some of the best work on Trump during the election, and will, along with other practitioners of investigative journalism, serve as a vital counterweight to the Trump administration.
Will Trump chooses to deploy the powers of government to pursue personal vendettas against businesses like Amazon? The answer to that question will be an early indicator of what sort of four years we’re in for.
Warren, Mandela, and the Stupid Things Anger Makes Us Do
Anger fueled the Trump campaign, and Elizabeth Warren — the Democrats’ own populist — understands the economic roots of that rage (The Boston Globe): “The truth is that people are right to be angry. Angry that wages have been stagnant for a generation, while basic costs like housing, health care, and child care have skyrocketed. Angry that our political system is awash in barely legalized campaign bribery. Angry that Washington eagerly protects tax breaks for billionaires while it refuses to raise the minimum wage.”
But, but, but: Anger frequently motivates self-destructive behavior. (See: protectionism; climate denial.) We saw candidate Trump, who has his own anger issues, go down this road regularly during the campaign season. For some perspective, this Aeon essay by philosopher Martha Nussbaum distinguishes between two kinds of anger: One cries “Outrageous! Someone must pay!” The other declares “Outrageous! This must never happen again!”
As we try to navigate the new terrain of post-election America, Nussbaum’s lessons from the Nelson Mandela story are pertinent. Faced with an anger-inducing dilemma or a vengeful urge, Mandela — a reader of the Stoic Marcus Aurelius — would conduct a “Conversation with Myself” and come out the other side with a more generous mindset — and a more constructive, effective plan.
How to Keep Your Email and Data From Leaking
It’s always been a good idea to encrypt your email, browse anonymously, and take other measures to protect your privacy on the network. It’s also often inconvenient. But the prospect of the Trump inauguration has a lot of people thinking much more seriously about covering their digital footprints.