Globalisation is out of fashion: but it's defenders are fighting back, maybe the force we call globalisation will come out the other end stronger than ever.What has a poll by Gallup, an essay by a certain social media magnet, who many think has ambitions to become the next US President, an article by a former and very unpopular ex-prime minister and the mammoth got in common? Answer: they may represent globalisations' fight back.
According to a poll by Gallup, globalisation is more popular among Americans than at any time in history. That may strike you as counter-intuitive, but the poll says what it says. No less than 72 per cent see foreign trade as an opportunity for economic growth.
How is it possible for a survey to draw a conclusion that is so at odds with the narrative of our times? Maybe the answer lies in framing.
The survey asked "Do you see foreign trade more as an opportunity for US growth through US exports, or a threat to the economy from imports?"
The result: 72 per cent of respondents said opportunity, 23 per cent said threat. It turns out that Gallup has been running this poll since 1993, and never before did free trade score such a resounding victory in the poll. By the way, the survey also broke the results down by political allegiance, and were pretty decisive among Republicans, Democrats and independents, although the margin of victory for the free trade argument was slightly less marked among Republicans.
But look at how the question was worded. If you had answered 'threat' you were kind of saying you had no faith in US business. This is the point that the Remain campaign missed in the UK, it's the point that defenders of globalisation must not miss. Instead of focusing on the negatives, focus on the positives. The survey showed that when asked a question about globalisation, framed in such a way to draw people's attention to the benefits of free trade, then they are overwhelmingly in favour of it. This is a lesson that the likes of Emmanuel Macron must learn if they want to win victory over the isolationist Le Pen in the French election.
And maybe it's a lesson that Mark Zuckerberg needs to learn. He has spent the last month writing an essay. And now it's time to get out a red pen, and mark it.
Mr Z said that some people have been "left behind by globalisation," that a "healthy society needs these communities to support our personal, emotional and spiritual needs." He regretted the fall in popularity of social communities such as churches and unions but then we get to the core of his argument. He said: "In times like these the most important thing we at Facebook can do is develop the social infrastructure to give people the power to build a global community that works for all of us."
And that is the point: global community. It's the concept of the global citizen. Recently, Theresa May said that "if you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere." Well the Facebook boss is making the opposite point. It's the dream of Gene Roddenberry, when he put together a crew in a Star Ship called the Enterprise, consisting of a Russian, a Chinese man, a black female Lieutenant, a Scottish engineer, an all-American captain and a Vulcan.
As for Mr Zuckerberg's essay: one might say: "This is a good first attempt Mark, you are making good progress, and you are arguing well for the cause of a global community. But you can get higher marks by looking at the Gallup poll, and recalling that when the issue is framed right, people are largely pro-globalisation.”
And from a man who would, it appears like to live in the Whitehouse one day, to a man who once lived in Downing Street. Actually, Tony Blair lived at number eleven, he needed the extra space to accommodate his family, leaving his chancellor, Gordon Brown to slum it at number ten. But now the ex, ex, ex-Prime Minister has called for Remainers to rise up in support of their beliefs, and says they should demand a second referendum on the EU.
Poor old Tony, does he not know that he is no longer Mr Popular in the UK? His sentiments may be in tune with what many Remain voters think, but many of those same people have feelings towards Mr Blair that are, shall we say, somewhat negative.
There is more chance of bringing the dead back to life than either having a second EU referendum or resurrecting the political career of Tony Blair.
In other news, did you hear that scientists reckon they can bring the mammoth back? Using the latest in gene technology, they reckon they can edit the genome of the elephant, and see the birth of a new mammoth, in the style of Jurassic park.
But is it a good idea?
This is how you phrase the question. The re-introduction of the Woolly Mammoth to tundra regions may help stop climate change because the animal will break holes in permafrost, letting cold air into the soil, helping to avoid its melting, thus trapping methane gas within the frost . Are you in favour of using DNA techniques to de-extinct this beautiful animal?
It’s about framing.