Regardless of the outcomes of Brexit and the Donald Trump campaign, both are symptomatic of popular anger and frustration with the negative impacts of "external" integration. Whether it's Britain for the British or America First, these apparently counter-intuitive phenomena are indicative of xenophobia and a popular desire to look inwards.
As reported in Fortune CEO Daily (15 June), according to latest PEW polling data, 57% of Americans, and similar majorities in many European countries, want their country to "deal with its own problems and let other countries deal with their own problems"; only 37% of Americans and around 40% in European countries are interested in helping "other countries deal with their problems." "Some 49% of Americans go even further, saying they believe "global economic engagement is a bad thing because it lowers wages and cost jobs," compared to just 44% "who think it is a good thing because it creates new markets and growth."
"Whatever voters decide, the message for business is clear. Both Europe and the U.S. are turning inward, and the ramifications for the global economic system set up after World War II are profound", says Alan Murray, Editor of Fortune Magazine.
The implications extend well beyond the economic sphere. As along with the swing of public opinions, the West starts to look more inwards, even if politically nuanced, China is rapidly moving more outwards.
China's outbound foreign direct investments, for example, are surging ahead. These are expected to exceed inbound foreign direct investments anytime soon, if not already. Such outward tilt is set to redouble following China's launch of the Belt and Road initiative. The latter is a timely remedy for the world's critical infrastructural shortfall. It is right on cue with the world's Fourth Industrial Revolution in a new era of global connectivity.
As a result of these opposing paradigm shifts, changes in global geopolitical influence and power distribution are bound to ensue, likely to be in China's favor.