A leading Caribbean academic today warned that no good will come to the Caribbean as a result of billionaire businessman Donald Trump’s victory in yesterday’s presidential election in the United States.
In fact, Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Sir Hilary Beckles suggested that Trump’s election was a retrograde step that would take the US back by several decades to the days of “plantation America” when blacks had little to no civil rights and white supremacy was key.
Sir Hilary, an economic historian, also warned of global economic fallout, as the stunning political decision in Washington takes hold of the entire world.
“My expectation is that we are going to see a deepening of the world recession because three quarters of humanity will assume that the United States no longer possesses the moral authority to direct the world economy,” Sir Hilary said during a post-US presidential election analysis at the UWI Mona Campus in Jamaica.
He also suggested that world trade would be adversely impacted based on the anti-free trade policies espoused by Trump on the campaign trail, and cautioned the Caribbean that this would have negative implications for both its imports and exports.
“We have to prepare for a return to diminished levels of international trade as a result of this construct,” Sir Hilary said.
US stock index futures came well off session lows today after Hillary Clinton conceded the presidential election to Donald Trump.
However these were initially volatile as election results started rolling out at around 7 p.m. yesterday.
Today, Dow futures were about 190 points lower after earlier falling 800 points. Just before midnight Eastern Time (ET), S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures plunged more than five per cent. Around 8:03 a.m. ET, they held about 23 points lower and 76 points lower, respectively.
The Mexican peso, which has been a proxy for Trump, also fell sharply against the dollar, as the market reacted to Trump’s suggestion that he would build a wall along Mexico’s northern border and break trade deals with the country. The US dollar also gave up early gains against the yen and Swiss franc.
However, Gold futures traded higher, rising 2.19 per cent, or $27.90, to $1,302.40 per ounce.
Apart from the economic fallout, Sir Hilary said today the region must brace for “migration of larger numbers of Caribbean people back to the region and significantly back to Latin America” as result of Trump’s presidency, which he said had “reconstructed the white global supremacy system”.
Delivering a detailed analysis of Tuesday’s vote, the regional academic further described the US poll result as a lesson in “History 101”, while warning of the return to “plantation America”, which was built on an “elite domination of civil society” and “in which white masculinity was the single source of power and authority”.
“They [American electorate] have chosen to return to the past . . . . They have put aside a perception of that inclusive democracy – that together we are stronger,” he said in criticizing the election of Trump over the Democratic presidential nominee.
The Vice Chancellor said the Republican had successfully used his “Trumpism” to pander to white Americans who had felt excluded.
“What we have seen in North America is that the large, white working class, unskilled, that have been excluded by globalization because of the rise in technology have responded to that circumstance through ethic solidarity.”
Sir Hilary also pointed out that the election result mirrored the Brexit vote back in June, through which Britons chose to leave the European Union.
“If you place the Brexit and US circumstances in context you will see that there is a preference for the past. The majority of persons are preferring to go back to the past – a pre-technology past – and the way to do that is consolidate around ethnic solidarity.”
However, he cautioned that “Trumpism” was not about Republicanism, but was linked to policies advocated by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who featured in the heated election campaign, with Trump often praising Putin as a strong leader.
“The purpose of Trumpism is to capture the state for the empowerment of a group of people who have a perception of what America is – that is why Trumpism and Putinism are identical,” he said.
Nevertheless, Sir Hilary was confident that the principles promoting unity established by outgoing president Barack Obama would not die.
“Those forces will not go away. They have been defeated but the turn of history and dialectics of history will see the resurgence of those ideologies in short time, I am sure,” he said.