I was at a bankers breakfast this morning, a chance to mix, chat, network, all that jazz. I don’t mind these things when there is a schedule, it keeps it focused with guest speakers and a clear set agenda. I dread the four hours of aimless handshaking.
The atmosphere was a rather tense one overall, Brexit, another Scottish referendum potentially. Bankers gravitate towards stability, we don’t like chaos. Order, even when it is boring and bland is always preferred from a banking perspective.
It kicked off at 7:15AM. Two mugs of coffee, croissants, bacon rolls, my blood was pumping with caffeine and cholesterol just to keep me awake.
So why am I talking about this on a blog about writing and books?
It was interesting that a key talking point was a book. Yes indeed, a book.
Progressive Protectionism by Colin Hines.
I haven’t read this book myself but bought it right after and am reading it now.
The main discussion was that protectionism at one point considered a crackpot ideology is now the dominant school of thought. Serious politicians avoided it, only the far communist left or far fascist right embraced it. It was electoral suicide to favour protectionism. Now though, centre left and centre right politicians, all seem to be about protectionism. Corbyn here in the UK, the leader of what is technically the opposition here, is a staunch protectionist. All across Europe protectionist parties and politicians are rising. The idea of global trade and globalisation is cracking under constant criticism and defenders nowhere to be gound.
Protectionism is trying to get a facelift from various thinkers and politicians. And even writers. The overall vibe was hostile to protectionism, branding the supporters of it as either idiots or opportunistic politicians.
In fairness though, we are a biased bunch- we make a lot of money of international trade. So do a lot of other people though which was the counter argument.
I found it interesting that at the heart of constant news coverage, online access, it is a book that has become the star of the event.