Yesterday we heard about the tragic slitting of the throat of Father Jacques Hamel, the Catholic priest at a French village near Rouen.
This, just days after the terrible attack in Nice, leaving 84 dead.
I think there is a connection. It is a bit far-fetched, but I think it is real.
Both Trump and the young French Muslims perceive that the world has turned against them [or the people they wish to represent, in Trump’s case.]
This article from the New York Times makes an important point.
“No liberal arts college class on “power, privilege and hierarchy” will tell you that white working-class men have become a disadvantaged group.”
Yet clearly these white working-class men are now disadvantaged.
The world is moving away from them – fast. Without high skills they are washed up. Driverless cars and trucks are just a few years away.
What will America’s 3.5 million truckers do then?
Corruption and inequality fuel rage
And this is something that the young Muslims – many from Algeria – who now live in France also perceive.
And they are right. This article shows how African countries are ripped off by bribes and corruption.
Here in the UK we have just had an example of how a rich tycoon, Sir Philip Green ripped off BHS a long-established firm.
Sir Philip took out hundreds of millions, leaving more than 30,000 people – many of them low paid – impoverished.
Yet Sir Philip lives on his yacht in Monaco where he and his wife minimise the tax they pay in Britain.
Meanwhile, Starbucks, Google and others pay almost no UK corporation tax.
This is a world that really is in a mess.
Trump argues, in essence, that “things are a right mess here in the US and around the world”. He is right; his solutions are not. But he is certainly not alone.
In Britain there is UKIP. In the Netherlands there is Geert Wilders. In France Marie le Pen. Hungary, Poland and Greece all have similar figures.
In a strange way Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn offer similar certainties, but from the left.
From ghetto to rust belt
None of these leaders have well thought out strategies to tackle these problems.
From Islamist fundamentalists to born-again socialist, world leaders are flailing around attempting to find a solution to the great problem of our age: how to deal with globalisation.
Globalisation has been a force for good. It has provided riches and income. It has lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty.
But these benefits – even the IMF now admits – may have been oversold.
As three of their top economists argued recently: “since both openness and austerity are associated with increasing income inequality, this distributional effect sets up an adverse feedback loop. The increase in inequality engendered by financial openness and austerity might itself undercut growth, the very thing that the neoliberal agenda is intent on boosting.”
But it has also shown what the Parliamentary report on Sir Philip Green exposed: the unacceptable face of Capitalism.
There are plenty of losers along the way. From the ghettos of France to the rust belt of the USA you can find them.
They demand to be heard, and to be included. Ignoring them is simply not a viable way forward.