Losers of Globalization
By Allison Mazur
May 31, 2016
It was a stereotypical rainy day in London, but we still had to hustle to ACCENT to hear our first guest lecturer, Dan Wheatley. In between dodging raindrops and trying to navigate the Tube, I wondered what our lecture would be about. To my surprise, Wheatley focused on globalization and multiculturalism in London.
I already knew that London was what we colloquially call a melting pot (thanks Bend It Like Beckham), but I didn’t know to what extent. Wheatley informed us that over 300 languages are spoken in London, and that there is constant migration to the city, in part because of the ease of travel within the European Union.
Wheatley also talked about the upcoming vote on whether Britain should remain within the European Union. Most of us hadn’t even heard about this vote (although my dad kept reminding me before I left on this trip that it was an exciting time to be in the UK solely for this reason), in part because American news and media is so American-focused and not as internationally-focused. Wheatley drew parallels between the EU vote and the 2016 American presidential election. The same type of people who want out of the EU are usually the same type of people who vote for Donald Trump: losers of globalization. These are the people who did not benefit from globalization, and they want to close their borders in an effort to keep their money circulating within their country, instead of going to outside sources. These people are usually older, male, and not so well-off in the current economy. Whereas most young people support globalization, and want international trade and the flow of ideas to continue. So that’s one of the many reasons this divide has begun to form.
After our lecture some of us decided to visit the British Museum, just around the corner from the ACCENT building. While the British Museum has amazing collections of artifacts from all over the world, it is kind of ironic that London is such a celebrated city of multiculturalism when most of these artifacts were stolen from various countries during colonial rule. It’s incredible to see historical artifacts like the Rosetta Stone, Cleopatra’s mummy, and parts of the Parthenon, but we have to remember these things were stolen from countries, most of which are trying to get them back.