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The impact of the Trump election

Published: 30th Jan 2017
Author: Phillip Nutt - Wenco

New U.S. President Donald Trump signing an order to withdraw the country from the Trans-Pacific Partnership on his first day in office. Unlike any other president in modern times, it appears his tenure will be marked not by the stability preferred by busi

Let me say from the outset that there are many more masterful writers than I at the Economist magazine who have espoused their views of the state of the world Post-Trump election.

The reality is that Trump’s election follows a socio economic trend that affects everything in its path as that cycle revolves and evolves. 
One cannot blame Trump for getting elected; almost every acclaimed pundit thought it was a home run for Hillary Clinton.
The question that has to be asked is how can so many recognised experts be so wrong in their forecast? 
My own  response was to immediately go out and buy a copy of George Orwell`s Animal Farm to give to my 10-year-old grandson to read as even pre-teeners have been caught up in the mass hysteria of this last American election and wanted to be involved in the discussions.
In essence it was the Animals (Hillary called them The Deplorables) of Animal Farm who were roused by aggressive rhetoric and many promises from Napoleon and his fellow pigs to throw out their masters of the farm.
One does not have to be a great intellectual mind to understand the mood of the masses in the UK pre-Brexit. I am on record with this magazine of forecasting a win for Brexit because quite frankly I am in regular touch with many in the UK and I felt their pain. The sad fact was that the real intellectuals completely missed or ignored this pain and sadly I feel it was the latter point that was the factor that caused the movement. 
It seems to this lowly part time scribe that traditional politicians just simply had no grasp of the ‘depression’ that the average ‘Old industry Survivors’ were going through to reposition themselves after: 
a/ Globalization wiped out their local manufacturing jobs;
b/ Computers replaced many middle class and second family wage jobs;
c/ Uncontrolled immigration simply seemed overwhelming and was conceived as yet another reason why jobs couldn`t be found for ‘The locals’; 
d/ Many  more mature Brits  couldn`t  come to grips with the fact that THEY won the war but it appeared to them ‘through the press’ that the Germans and the French had won the economic benefits. 
 
Trump`s win was nothing more than an AMEXIT version of Brexit where the Farm Animals had just had enough and in a democratic society the voice of revolution could be achieved by the ballot box no matter some of the UNTRUTHS of what was being put forth to gain votes.
The US election decision has strong parallels to BREXIT. 
i.e 
-After the result many who voted and those who did not vote expressed guilt at achieving the result no expert even anticipated;
-Already many intellectuals are expressing doom and gloom as inevitable;
-A couple of weeks later and some computer scientists are questioning whether there could have been vote rigging on ballot machines in key states. 
The reality is that a message has been given to the Western nation politicians by a new found angry populace to RETHINK the role of globalization and the rise of an elite 1% new form of aristocracy.
 
IF the newly elected, no matter in the UK or the USA, do not show an attempt to rectify the misbalanced social structure caused by global trading, then not only will the masses ‘arise’, but the domino effect of Brexit and Amexit could fall to other parts of Europe and Latin America.
The Elites will argue that one cannot change the global progress of multinational corporations and their ever growing dependence on China as a source of production.
The reality of those ‘out of touch’ views  that caused the  Brexit and Amexit results have to be revised.  Many of the populace have said this structure cannot go on as before. That it has to be reworked.
It’s one thing to say ‘Bring it Home’ but I doubt if it is possible to simply reverse where the production orders are going. Quite frankly 40 years of globalization have destroyed much of the vital infrastructure needed to make our old shoe constructions. 
 
From my humble perspective in our industry, I see a necessity to not stop Globalization but to rework its MISSION by making the process much more of a ‘shared success’ and by this I have a vision of offshore upper production but with Western domestic bottoming processes. It can no longer be a total dependency on one. 
I have chosen the upper sourcing response because I no longer see the natural sewing machine skills being available in younger Western generations, yet we have excellent product engineers being churned out by our colleges and universities that can manage high tech process for bottoming shoes of any type. 
The same can be said for tanning of leathers and even synthetic materials. Such upper materials need to be based in the upper production regions. Too much actual product value has been lost to the cost of shipping finished goods. Basic materials should not have to be shipped half way across the world to make shoes. Leather tanning and textile dyeing have long been wandering crafts because of aggressive Western pollution standards. High quality finishing can still be done in the West but today’s Third World governments are all anxious to create Higher Value Content in their products being made for Western export and thus want to finish the leather as well.
 
Who knows what Trump will do in terms of his approach to Global Trading? 
He certainly is a man who knows how to promote the American importance of branding for a product. It’s hard to believe that too much ‘domestic protectionism’ will be good for U.S. Global Brand expansion.
I simply don`t have enough space to cover every ‘what if’ scenario and at the moment Donald Trump has not selected all of his cabinet. 
His choice of Secretary of State will have great importance to the stability of the world. Until that appointment is made it is very difficult to render opinions on how the world will survive this mass repulsion of political decisions made by multiple political Western leaders of the last few decades.
Around our family dinner tables, it is interesting to compare the views of the mature, who still have a strong sense of national identity and a memory of post World War 2 economies, and the under 40s who have no corporate loyalties, don’t anticipate governments helping them in their old age, love to travel and work in a multitude of cultural environments and question why we need passports, work permits, politicians or national flags. 
We need a review of the subject of President Trump in another six months and as the Elites are now saying on TV, “Let`s give him time”.
It’s interesting, but I have a city residence and a very rural residence for weekends, and if you listen to the city folk, the end of the world is nigh, but to the rural types, they don`t even talk about it, as their attitude is “What can we change?” – and yet ironically, it was those rural types who stood up and, quoting the Twisted Sisters rock anthem, said “We’re not going to take it any more”.
My final advice: go read Animal Farm again, and read what eventually happened to Napoleon and Friends who did not deliver on their promises. – Phillip Nutt [wenco@rogers.com]
 
Phillip Nutt is the president of Wenco International Footwear Consultants, based in Canada. His intimate knowledge of South Africa comes from a fondly remembered stint with Bata SA in Pinetown. An outline of his services is available on his website, www.wenco.ca.

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