Saturday, June 25, 2016

Another View on Brexit

I wasn't eligible to vote on Britain's exit from the European Union, and I'm not sure how I would have voted. My head said Remain but my heart said Leave - and I find myself quite pleased that England and Wales found the strength to free themselves from the EU.

During the campaign, every article I read made the assumption that the Leave camp were all skin heads, xenophobes, illiterate farmers, or doddering old fools. ("Doddering old fool" was defined as anyone over 54.) They said that people who supported Brexit were doing it out of fear and loathing. The only rational reason for Leave that I saw was that Brexit would lower the value of the pound, thus boosting British manufacturing and blue collar jobs.

In fact, there are lots of good reasons for England and Wales to leave the EU. The EU is a mess. Eight years on, Europe hasn't recovered from the 2008 financial crisis. The central bank situation leaves Europe unable to fix its economy. (How did they think they could share a currency but not have a strong central bank?) European countries are having to resort to negative interest rates as unemployment soars.

I'm not even scratching the surface of the problems with the EU. The upshot is that this incompetent organization dictates a huge array of things that should be up to the people: Britain is unable to regulate everything from the size of trucks to how foods are packaged to, yes, immigration. Trade has superseded democracy.

Since the Brexit vote, everyone's going on about market turbulence as if markets have fallen into the sinkhole of hell. In fact, markets have been turbulent since January, mostly because of fears that China won't grow as fast as it used to. Market turbulence is a serious problem but is nothing new. In general, the market goes down and then it goes up again.

I'm not ordinarily a fan of direct democracy. Voters in my town were conned by anti-vaxxer types into voting to take fluoride out of our water. Californians have damaged their public schools by their crazy and conflicting propositions, resulting in some schools being forced to offer after-school dance classes while cutting core subjects.

But this is different. Free trade agreements and common markets restrict our democratic rights. We, the people, should have a say in that. David Cameron called this vote for all the wrong reasons, but still, history will show that he did an important and progressive thing in allowing Britons to decide to Brexit.


Anonymous said...

Good blog. But I would argue your head said 'Leave' and your heart said 'Remain' given you didn't come up with any rational arguments for 'Remain.'

The 'Remain' side was all tugging at the heart strings. Peace and love and unity. Except the European (Economic) Union is actually a supra-democratic bureaucracy the establishment created so they could ram neoliberal reforms down the throats of people in social democratic countries who would never vote for them.

The European Economic Union is just another 'disaster capitalism' variant. (Naomi Klein really needs to do a sequel to her 2007 'The Shock Doctrine'. Loads of material over the past 9 years.)

Here's a good read, "Robert Mundell, evil genius of the euro." The architect of the euro-zone common-currency area, Robert Mundell, had previously developed economic theory called the 'optimal currency area' that said it's best when nations have their own currencies and central banks. This is standard "orthodox" economic theory (not that economics remotely resembles a science.) But in the euro-zone he created a designed-to-fail economic system that would manufacture a major crisis in a recession. Only problem is that it worked so well at producing economic misery it's also producing the rise of fascism in Europe like similar economic chaos did in the 1930s.

Robert Mundell, evil genius of the euro

In short: European unity is good. But free trade, a common currency area and deregulated immigration are not only not necessary for unity, they are causing the opposite.

Yappa said...

Hi Anonymous, Thanks for the comment. I totally forgot to write my "Remain" argument, which is economic contraction. Carney and Krugman predicted that and I have a lot of faith in them, but I haven't sorted out the issues myself.

Anonymous said...

Krugman wrote in many blogs that Bernie Sanders supporters were racist, misogynist "Bernie Bros."

Make sure you mark the words of these establishment economists. They're always saying new free trade deals will create jobs and GDP growth. Always come up with numbers. Yet all free trade deals produced the opposite: job prospects became worse; real median incomes fell; GDP growth plummeted. Why? Because it's simply another self-serving looter economic scheme that allows plutocrats to make easy money in investment returns and corporate executive bonuses.

My prediction is that the Brexit will not make the UK any worse off economically. It will make the country stronger after the hysteria passes. Simple logic: evidence shows free trade takes a wrecking ball to the economy; therefore eliminating free trade will make the country better off. (Of course, the global economy is a mess. So good economic performance these days is really a meth-addict beauty contest -- until the Keynesian 'New Deal' economics are restored.)

(Note: like the Brexit itself was framed in an infantile false dichotomy, so is free trade. Market fundamentalists accuse opponents of being mercantilists. In reality, trade is a spectrum with mercantilism at the left pole [full government control] and free trade is at the right pole [no government involvement.] In the center is "fair trade" that leverages market access to protect jobs and tax revenues, and boost living and environmental standards in undeveloped countries. In fact, free trade globalization has ironically created the most mercantilist world since the 1930s, with Germany leading the pack. [Not that MF economists feel they have to measure the success or failure of their policies put into practice. Their agenda, like all the rest of them, is to get paid.])

Anonymous said...

BTW, check out the economic indicators. The FTSE hasn't been this low in ... 5 days! (The FTSE has been in a bear market for the last year.)

The pound hasn't been this low in 31 years. Oh the calamity! This just means that UK exports just got a lot tastier. What that means, as Canada can attest to in the latter half of the 1990s, a surge in exports, GDP growth and job creation; falling debt as a percentage of GDP. Oh the humanity!

Once you assume the establishment news media is controlled by 'father knows best' patriarchs who use it to promote self-serving financial agendas and instill agenda-driven messages in the public psyche, it becomes a lot easier to see what's really going on. The aggregate of their propaganda and lies produces a photographic negative of the truth.

The more the establishment loses control the more hysterical they get. The more hysterical they get the more people tune them out. (My idea of centrism excludes pretending a naked emperor is wearing clothes. You can't save the lives of your children and grandchildren pretending plutocrats looting the economy of wealth others earned is good for the economy; or pretending this process will conclude in anything other than total economic collapse, as it did in the 1930s. If fascist revolutions and world war break out, humanity is done for. It's not the right-wing fanatics who are the problem. It's the looting plutocrats who are empowering the fanatics by creating economic and political chaos.)

Angel charls said...

Freedom to work and live between the UK and the EU also comes to an end, and in 2021, UK nationals will need a visa if they want to stay in the EU more than 90 days in a 180-day period.

Northern Ireland will continue to follow many of the EU's rules in order to avoid a hardening of its border with the Republic of Ireland. This will mean however that new checks will be introduced on goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.

Now that it's no longer in the EU, the UK is free to set its own trade policy and can negotiate deals with other countries. Talks are being held with the US, Australia and New Zealand - countries that currently don't have free trade deals with the EU.
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