Thursday, June 02, 2005

From a recent interview with Gerhard Schroder:
The most important thing is to understand that Germany is a country in which, for a very long time, there was sufficient room for redistributing wealth. This is no longer the case, for two reasons. First, globalization and the economic changes it has caused, and second, a long-term development that affects the aging of the German population. These two developments have cast doubt on our old certainties and security. The job that Agenda 2010 sets out to accomplish is to make clear, to people who have lost this certainty, that the measure of social security that is objectively possible is only achievable through change. Only through the reform process that we have begun can the old certainties be replaced with new certainties and security.
Ironically, in rejecting Schroder's coalition precisely because of the reforms he's made, the German electorate is flocking to a party whose platform revolves around accelerating the pace of those reforms.

The clear lesson here: the DNC needs to launch some kind of educational program on the causes and even merits of globalization.

Granted, I don't think the American left has nearly as little grasp of what the global economy entails as does the left in France or Germany. But manufacturing unions and other interests negatively impacted by globalization form enough of the party's base that it makes a lot of sense to address the issue preemptively, before it leads to proposals or even policies that (as in continental Europe) only exacerbate the problem.

The globalized economy is here to stay, whether we like it or not. Rather than fighting it -- as a few Senators and Congressmen already have -- Democrats should learn from the losses of Chirac and Schroder and do everything they can to allay its arrival.


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