The arrival of Donald Trump

The global liberal order is set to be upended. Get ready for turbulence.

History takes a turn

It is not everyday that we witness history taking an abrupt, sharp turn. It is also not everyday that carefully nurtured prototypes of global trade and finance are smashed philosophically to smithereens by an upstart outsider. And finally, it is very rare for strong lobbies to be upstaged dramatically by someone who believed their entire existence is build on a charade of deception and thuggery.,,

Welcome to the Donald Trump presidency. A whole new era in modern history begins now.
Before we leap into the crystal ball, and hazard guesses about an unpredictable future, here are some key concepts from the past 150 years that will help us understand what really has happened to mankind. To understand how momentous this period in our lives is, take a look at these events to realize the sharpness of the turn. As you go through this Bodhi, remember to stay updated with a huge collection of updates on Donald Trump's Presidency here.

1. The 18th Century (1701 – 1800)

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    • Europe goes on a global colonization spree, fuelled by the fire of mercantilism and a zero-sum game philosophy. They kill each other first, then the locals wherever they go, and begin an atrocious era of wholesale loot and plunder in the name of civilizing the uncouth. America reinvents itself, throwing off the monarchy’s cloak and reign, declaring itself an independent nation with its own voice. Japan is closed to the world, as is China. India is up for grabs, with the Maratha empire controlling most of it on the verge of precipitous collapse post a disastrous field placement of the Army at Panipat in 1761. The stage is clear for the British landgrab of Indian subcontinent, which they do with aplomb.
    • France kills its Catholic priests and Royalty wholesale, appropriating the Church’s huge landholdings, and establishing the humanitarian motto of “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”, and gets upstaged by another emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte. Russia merrily continues with its monarchy, readying for a communist revolution a century later. British entrepreneurs lead a silent revolution in transforming work, later called the Industrial Revolution.Watch a full lecture on Industrial Revolution here. The impact of this was far and wide. Key economic philosophies – Mercantilism, Colonisalism, Exploitation, Beginning of the Industrial Revolution. 

[For India, the wheel has come full circle in 25 years. Click to read]

2. The 19th Century (1801 to 1900)

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    • Europe makes it big. They colonise entire south Asia, and turn it into a raw material supply centre where every man, woman and child is put to work to ensure their continental riches. They also begin civilizing the uncouth south Asians (read Indians), by turning historically accepted education systems upside down, ensuring a steady supply of educated clerks, servile and docile, to manage a humongous empire. The Americans witness a bloody clash amongst themselves, with one man in the North resisting the whole notion of slavery and pounding the South, and establishing a whole new notion of democracy. That notion of liberal democracy has stayed on, with a peaceful transfer of power being its hallmark. Watch a full lecture on American Civil War here.
    • They too turn imperialists soon, with Commodore Matthew Perry forcing an insular Japan to open up by force, and setting into motion a chain reaction of ultra-rapid modernization of the Japanese empire leading to the Pearl Habour incident and final nuclear bombing in 1945. The Industrial Revolution makes large-scale consumerism of the 20th century possible. It also sharply divides nations in two camps – the Industrialise, and the yet-to Industrialise (Russian empire). Karl Marx begins informing the workers of the world about the chains around their existence, and sets the stage for Communist Revolutions in the next century. Key economic philosophies – Imperialism, Colonisalism, Maturing of the Industrial Revolution.

 Continued on Page 2 

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3. The 20th Century - First Half (1901 – 1950)

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    • The non-industrial Russia realizes it needs to catch up fast. But it is too late, and the internal dissensions and involvement in First World War rip it apart. The Communists led by Lenin, ultimately take over by the end of the first World War, murdering the entire royal family of the Romanovs. The stage is set for a Soviet Union to be born later, and captured by one man Stalin, and the Cold war which will define the entire second half of the century. Europe is torn apart first by the First World War (that defeats a proud but royal Germany into submission) and then by the second World War (that defeats a risen Nazi Germany again into submission). Despite their unwillingness, the Americans are forced to participate in the second World War, as the threat of the Japanese Empire attacking more bases is looming large. Atomic scientists succeed in releasing the hidden energy in the nuclei of some dangerous elements, handing over the deadly power to the military, which uses it with great precision to bring the Japanese empire to its knees. Watch a full lecture on Second World War here.
    • India is aroused from its political somnolence and led by a charismatic Mahatma who worships non-violence, and is ultimately freed unwillingly and after putting a scheming divisive plot into place, by the demonic British Raj due to the twin pressures of bankruptcy brought about by the second world War, and a real threat of armed revolt in its own military ranks in India. A global power American suddenly is thrust centre-stage, and starts building a Pax Americana – a post-war world order of peace and stability, ensured through military alliances and a network of allied nations, and free trade and technology. China suddenly comes under the Communist grab – the Nationalist (democratic) Kuomintang Party loses the Civil War and escapes to an island we call Taiwan today. Mao assumes charge in 1949. Key economic philosophies – Competitive currency wars, The Great Depression, Rebuilding through Marshall Plan, Communism and Socialism, Fiscal trumping Monetary, Fixed Exchange Rates

4. The 20th Century - Second Half (1951 – 2000)

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    • The first part of this period lasts 1945 till early part of the 1970s. America assumes world leadership, and puts into motion a global arrangement of “prosperity through institutional structures”. The IMF and World Bank are born. The United Nations is born, with five members assuming veto charge of the great organization (an understanding that’s totally irrelevant today). Communist Soviet bloc gets into a direct confrontation with the capitalist democratic West, with Warsaw Pact and the NATO coming face to face. Soviet Union does wonders in the space race first, then fizzles out as America puts its energies into sending a man to the moon. And getting him back. India starts rebuilding itself slowly, with the leader Pandit Nehru working assiduously on a third pole – the non aligned movement – a great idea that ultimately fizzled out by the end of the Century. China plays its game in Tibet, usurping whole of it, attacking India in 1962 and shredding apart Nehru’s brotherhood assumptions, and again setting the stage for 21st century confrontations.
    • By the 1970s, the world sees the end of the first economic arrangement post world war two, as the Arab nations put an oil embargo. A second period (post war) emerges. The fixed exchange rate regime collapses, and a monetary push to economic expansion happens from 1980s. The age of globalization has dawned upon humanity. Communism collapses in Soviet Union by 1991, and free financial flows across borders make thinkers like Francis Fukuyama boldly predict the end of History. Such thinkers make the same mistake as many of their predecessors – to overlook that history and time are cyclic, and what goes around, comes around. Everyone seems apparently happy as liberal globalization initially brings prosperity. China lifts millions out of poverty through a monolithic state-driven industrialization and exports model,  earning trillions of dollars in the process and turning hegemonic in Asia. Equality seems to spread amazingly far and wide. Key economic philosophies – Liberalisation, Trade globalisation, Financial globalization, State Capitalism (China), WTO.

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    • Technology is wonderful. It empowers people, and simultaneously robs them of an egalitarian future. It helps them connect through social media online, and then they use the same power to overthrow the existing regimes that are protectors of outdated systems. The Arab Spring from December 2010 saw this effect in full bloom. But much before that, the rise of radical Islam (Al Qaeda, Taliban, the 9/11 Attack in US) had totally changed the global security narrative. The world was suddenly a dangerous place. The rise of technology companies in the West put to rest any assumptions about what capital in the 21st century would be like. Piketty reminds us of that in a seminal work. And by the time 2007 came, the monetary expansion of the previous decades, coupled with extreme capitalism (investment bankers spreading risky housing assets to worldwide investors) began showing their full colours. The mega financial crisis in 2007 ended the second post-war economic arrangement also. Watch a full lecture on US Financial Crisis here. The whole idea of liberal economic models is now under a cloud. Entire economic theories have turned upside down, with interest rates nearing zero, and Quantitative Easing the norm of the day (and Helicopter Money in the wings!). 
    • People are upset as they lose jobs despite no fault of theirs. Educated and polished liberals, often instead of understanding the pain and anguish, offer intellectual remedies, and the rest is done by the fires of social media that the disenfranchised put to effective use in supporting all populist agendas in major nations. Rising inequality and concentration of wealth in a few hands (literally) pushes all global liberal models into the corner, and populist (and popular) leaders promising a reset in a hugely unequal economic and social system rise and shine, first in India, then in Britain and Europe, and now, in the USA. This forces the biggest beneficiary of globalization and free trade – a socialist China! – to trump the benefits of free trade at the mecca of capitalist thinking, Davos. Perhaps it just was too late. Donald Trump has arrived. All models are upstaged. A new era has begun. Key economic philosophies – Exports-driven growth, The Great US Recession, Technology and concentration of wealth in ‘coastal elites’, Inequality rising, Questioning of the liberal trade order.

[ Running Updates on Donald Trump related news ]

If one has to truly understand what forces brought Donald Trump, a billionaire denouncing free trade and immigration, to the Presidency of the capitalist mecca of the world, one has to see the above patterns.

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    • ##book##  Summary of the causes
      • A large section of population in America is terrified with the pace at which technology is eating away traditional jobs. Change is horrifying. Traditional industrial belts have rotted away, as cheaper manufacturing options made companies shift base. What was left behind was a ghost-town like environment. No one imagined it would have such political repercussions. Cheaper workers abroad – Indian outsourcing agencies or Chinese manufacturing companies – become direct and easy targets. Americans are losing jobs, as these guys are cheaply taking them away. To heck with companies’ financial logic, if my citizens are suffering, enough is enough.
 Continued on Page 4 

 Page 4 of 4 

Conservative backlash?

Naturally, liberal globalists are shocked. How can a model that so beautifully inter-twined economy and finance with history and politics, be unraveling so soon? Here are some points that repeatedly propped up during the election campaign. And remember, as you go through this Bodhi, remember to stay updated with a huge collection of updates on Donald Trump's Presidency here.

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    • ##heart-o##  Time for some liberal soul-searching - The Conservative Perspective
      • ##chevron-right## 1. Not everyone in the world longs to be an atheist, or a liberal, or a LGBT right supporter. A lot of people want to remain conservatives (call them religious), and if they are constantly pushed into a corner, painted with illiberal colours, the backlash can be severe. Call it the illiberalism of the liberals. ##chevron-right##  2. There is no single truth, let alone an “end of history”. Such high-sounding professorial pronouncements are not only arrogant, they are also tremendously bereft of an understanding of history. Time is cyclical. ##chevron-right##  3. Actions will breed reactions. How did the ultra liberal, globalization propounders forget this cardinal truth? ##chevron-right##  4. When just 10 or 20 people corner wealth equal to billions of humans, and millions see their jobs evaporate and social security threatened, it is ‘stage set for revolutions’. This is what happened in the French Revolution that overthrew a Catholic Clergy and French royalty, in the American Revolution that overthrew the British domination, in the Communist Revolution that overthrew the Romanov dynasty and in the Nazi revolution that overthrew the liberal order in Germany accused (wrongly) of surrendering to the enemies. This time is no different, only more horrifying as 24x7 media bring a blow-by-blow account to us, further accentuating the revolution’s effects. ##chevron-right##  5. The multinational companies – technology ones included – need to do a lot of soul-searching. When you indulge in Base Erosion and Profit Shifting, were you not envisaging a reaction?

[For India, the wheel has come full circle in 25 years. Click to read]

Allegations against Trump

There are multiple allegations against Donald Trump levied by his opponents. A list: 

  1. He is a pro-corporate President. (Trump's statements intend to mean he is pro-people)
  2. He will take away affordable healthcare from citizens. (He says Obamacare was unaffordable)
  3. He is insensitive towards minorities, women, immigrants.  (He says illegal immigrants take away benefits intended for genuine Americans)
  4. He will not be able to ensure egalitarian distribution of benefits to citizens. (He says he will)
  5. He needs to be opposed as the right-wing tilt will be dangerous for the US in the long run. (He says America needs to be protected from illegal immigrants and radical Islam)
  6. His philosophy is radical, and though Hillary is not exactly as 'bad', even she seems pro-corporate, hence we need genuine pro-people movements. (An example : Kshama Sawant, who is a socialist, and winning some local elections)
  7. Some of his team members are also extreme in their views (on healthcare etc.) and represent Corporate interests. 
  8. He will undo a lot of good work done to combat climate change. (He says it's a hoax)
  9. He was propped up in the elections by a Russian cyber-warfare team that leaked Hillary's emails. (stored on a private Server while she was Secretary of State - something unacceptable)

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[ Running Updates on Donald Trump related news ]

What lies ahead?

(click to read headings)

Well, protectionism and anti free-trade policies. Anti NATO policies. Anti China policies. Terrific turbulence and change, if Trump and Brexit play out fully. Here is our detailed list :

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    • China
      • India’s biggest geopolitical rival will feel tremendous heat in its free trade model, that fuels its geopolitical ambitions. It may be forced to keep spending billions more to support the hegemonic projects initiated in Asia already, and with the US possibly shutting its doors, China’s dynamics may dramatically slow down. This can have huge internal implications for their polity as well. Wait and watch. And if Trump makes friends with Russia, China’s efforts to befriend Russia may unravel and India’s old friendship will stand us in good stead. Good for India
    • Americans
      • In the short run, Americans (especially the Trump voters) will witness positive change as executive orders bring about a change in policy direction. How it actually plays out in the next few years remains to be seen. Neutral for India
    • Manufacturing in India
      • A lot of multinationals will be forced to completely rethink their business models, presently based on free labour movement across borders. Make in America will directly conflict with Make in India.  Bad for India
    • Management education
      • Top institutions will see the very edifice their entire glory is built upon (free trade, globalization, cross-border hiring) crumble to pieces. So far there has been no articulate response from any management education leader about a structured response to this earth-shaking tectonic shift in world politics. If the modern free trade temple collapses, can the IIM model survive at all? Locally, the rising kanti of the Patanjalis hardly need their products!    Bad for India (or Good?)
    • I.T. Sector / Pharma Sector
      • India will benefit in some areas, lose out in some. If you hold a lot of shares in any IT firm that thrives on labour cost arbitrage (most companies, that is!), bad news for you. Valuations may drop drastically as visa restrictions tick in. (If he makes an exception for the high-skilled H1B visas, a different story then). The Pharma sector can also get an adverse whacking in the short-run.  Bad for India
    • Indian Defence
      • If you manage any part of India’s geopolitics and defence, good news may be in the offing as radical Islam gets a hard stick from the Americans, and as south China sea islands come under US scrutiny. As for defence sale, US will happily sell arms but maybe not technology to India.  Good to Neutral for India
    • Iran
      • Trump may turn down the Obama Iran deal. It will not affect India in a major way. Neutral for India
    • Radical Islam
      • In mortal danger now. Trump may go all the way chasing them across the globe. He truly hates them, if his statements at the inauguration are anything to go by. In fact, a remote possibility that he may entirely ban Muslim immigration into America is no longer looking outlandish. Good for India
    • WTO
      • The WTO may simply unravel to pieces, if Trump carries out his threats (promises). WTO Boss Roberto Azevedo is silent on the matter so far. The TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) is as good as dead (good for India). The TTIP is in cold storage. His Trade Representative appointee Mr.Robert Lighthizer has already said that trade deficit with China is a major threat. The Voluntary Export Restrictions (VERs) may make a comeback (that the WTO eliminated). NAFTA is already under a lot of pressure (due to allegations against Mexico usurping jobs).  Bad for India
    • Climate Change
      • Trump is no enthusiast here. It will not harm India in any big way, but will be bad for combating global warming. Neutral for India

Trump's statements on India

I am a big fan of Hindu. I am a big fan of India.

If I am elected President, the Indian and Hindu community will have a true friend in the White House. That I can guarantee you.

Narendra Modi is a great man. I applaud him. He has energetically reformed India’s bureaucracy.

Generations of Indians and Hindu Americans have enriched our country (America).

You can’t allow policies that allows businesses (from India, Japan, Vietnam, China, Mexico) to rip businesses from American like candy from a baby.

Meanwhile, President Trump remains as combative as ever. Supporter say he is doing exactly what he promised he would. Opponents say everything's wrong with him.

Here's our comprehensive session on this topic. Enjoy!

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Watch video analyses of issues related to President Trump on the Bodhi Shiksha channel.

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This Bodhi will be regularly updatedKeep visiting. And do share your thoughts in the Comments thread.


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Bodhi Booster: The arrival of Donald Trump
The arrival of Donald Trump
The global liberal order is set to be upended. Get ready for turbulence.
Bodhi Booster
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