“Ideas, knowledge, art, hospitality, travel – these are the things which should of their nature be international. But let goods be homespun whenever it is reasonably and conveniently possible; and above all, let finance be primarily national.”
~ J.M. Keynes
During the Covid pandemic, many people have started to rethink globalisation.
However, whilst economic liberals have all too predictably defended the status quo ante, many on the metropolitan left have also failed to articulate a case for returning industry and production to the United Kingdom.
The old internationalist left used to argue for fairer wages and better working conditions for all; it used to understand some basic economic principles about surplus labour driving down wages and working conditions. The old internationalist left also understood that employers would try to pit workers against one another according to their sex, ethno-national identity or race and worked to prevent this.
However, today’s intersectional left is most enthusiastic at highlighting these differences and promoting such antagonistic practices.
When labour market ‘shortages’ appear, the value of labour increases. A surplus of labour meanwhile drives down wages and, with it, working conditions. After the Spanish flu for example, because of labour shortages the wages of factory workers in the US more than doubled. 
Instead of taking the opportunity to rethink globalised supply chains and labour relations, on today’s metropolitan left the tendency is more to argue unthinkingly for open borders and/or wistfully brandish images of Communist iconography like the far left activist Ash Sarkar did on May Day. They do this without realising that unregulated movement was not even permitted within the territories of the former Soviet Union; sometimes you needed a pass to move between the internal regions of the old Soviet Bloc.
We can either have social democracy or we can have untrammelled economic liberalism, but we can’t have both. Under our current version of globalisation, with its supranational institutions, the ability of nation states to protect citizenry and strike social contracts has been undermined. Within deregulated labour markets, increasingly transnational corporations have been empowered to go shopping around the world for the best deal, meaning the lightest regulation and the easiest exploitation of workers.
In its backing for this supranational regime, the ‘open borders left’ has unwittingly aligned with the exploitation of workers. In its blanket dismissal of anything construed as ‘nationalist’, it has been seduced by the policies of ruthless laissez-faire globalisers. Where once social democrats understood the need for a sensible controlled immigration policy, for the sake of all workers, today’s metropolitan left argues for policies which would mean the saturation of labour markets, thus enabling business to drastically undercut national workers. The open border left is inadvertently arguing for the needs of capital against the needs of labour.
One has to ask if the left globalisers of today would have championed colonialism and imperialism as fervently, as these were also forms of economic globalisation.
The idea of a global labour market is one of economic liberalism, in which human beings appear as commodities to be bought and traded, as raw material. In this formulation, there are no social contracts and no systems of social security; peoples’ access to the material prerequisites of life is predicated upon selling their labour in this system.
This is a global race to the bottom, in which the lowest bidder wins. This is arguably one of the most degrading conceptions of humanity and certainly not one that the left should be arguing for.
 Garrett, T. A. (2007) Economic Effects of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic Implications for a Modern-day Pandemic. https://www.stlouisfed.org/~/media/files/pdfs/community-development/research-reports/pandemic_flu_report.pdf
 O’Neill, A. (2020) Impact of the Influenza Pandemic of 1918 on hourly wages in select industries in the United States from 1900 to 1928. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1103413/us-wages-spanish-flu/