Will the shooting of MP Jo Cox while shouting “Britain first” impact the Brexit vote? Think about all sides and form your own opinion before you read mine.
No. Brexit is already leading by 6%. No sane person would risk a negative reaction while their side was ahead. Therefore the shooter is either insane, or engaged in some Machiavellian intrigue. It is unlikely the cool-headed Brits will be influenced either way. Violence there may be rare these days, but it’s not like they never saw it.
I predict Britain will leave the EU. If not now, soon. It will keep coming up. It is a part of a mega-trend, in case you haven’t noticed, a reaction to the failed economic visions of the 2nd half of the 20th century. Britain cannot accommodate the economic equalization of Spain, Greece and Italy through free and open migration of displaced workers. This chain continues as workers from Moldova, Ukraine, Syria etc. have entered Greece, Italy, etc. It is like the sea peoples that ended the Bronze Age.
There was a news article on Yahoo Finance today making fun of a survey showing the public expects investing returns of 10-11%. But consider, there was later a segment on Marketplace about pension funds and university endowments backing unscrupulous hedge funds because of exactly that expectation! An expectation formed by 70 years of exactly that kind of return, ending exactly at the end of the century in 2000. All of the new starts and trade since 2000 is/are predicated on cannibalizing jobs, decreasing the size of the market into which corporations are selling goods, in other words: anti-growth. And the EU has the lowest growth and is the most failed of any civilized group of nations. (Is Nigeria civilized? Unclear.)
Mega-trends do not start spontaneously. There is not simply a “reaction” of nationalists to the modern global society. Rather, it is a fact that the global society has for many decades been destroying more jobs than it creates while seeking short term profits, and this is now catching up with groups from OPEC to China, from Nigeria to Syria, from the US to the EU.
I am not opposed to “shareholder value” in fact, there can be no shareholder value unless there is a market for a company’s products. That market consists mostly of the employees of other corporations. If corporations collectively attempt to produce and sell goods and services fundamentally without employing people, they will have no market and no value. It is a simple matter of short vs. long term thinking, and of stupidity vs. intelligence. Read what a former CEO says about shareholder value.
Two things with similar effects have caused the post-2000 no-growth era:
- Trade with countries that have broken or corrupt economies so that the benefits of trade do not fully flow down to the citizens and their currency is not allowed to equalize. The remain low cost labor sources, transforming good jobs into bad jobs that never get better, until finally the country completely breaks and the citizens who now have poor expectations, political habits and work habits spread the malaise to other countries. This is why Brexit will eventually exit the EU, because the pressure will keep building if they don’t.
- Emphasis on increasing productivity and decreasing labor when there is a lack of demand for labor. If there is unemployment, or if employment is not satisfactory (people working two jobs because each pays half as much as before), then there is no business case for marketing productivity methods and tools. Yet this is just about the only concept US business startups have had since the late 1990s.
The global society, for all of recorded history and likely before, has reacted to one way to such situations, whether it was the organized productivity of the Bronze Age, the Roman Empire, the Industrial Revolution, the Colonial Powers, or what have you. It engages in worldwide migration, chaos and war until trade and productivity are both destroyed.
Then full employment becomes necessary for reconstruction. Wages rise and expectations rise and a boom follows. Finally someone complains about plumbers having nice houses and the decline starts all over again.
The US will follow Britain in rebelling against destructive globalism and mindless robotic productivity. When, I do not know. Frankly, there is an opportunity now to elect someone who is hated by Republicans, but whom they are likely to vote for, and who embraces Democratic notions on LBGTs and gun control. If we wait, then we will find it is not just old white guys who are out of work. It will be black guys, black women, Hispanics, everyone. Such an extreme could elect a true tyrant.
Watch out when the proponents of something start threatening. Extortion is a sign of a position that has no merit, and everyone from EU leaders to President Obama is “threatening” Britain with dire consequences if they leave the EU (Obama said they’d go to be back of the queue on trade negotiations). Extortion is what people resort to when they have no good argument. It only works if you have a secret police to make the opposition “disappear.” People do not like to be extorted, recognize it easily, and mostly will vote against it. I think Brits are in that category.
The more dire predictions you hear, the more certain you can become (in the absence of real reasoning) that it is probably the right thing to do to oppose the fear-mongers. The world will not fall apart no matter what Britain does … unless someone gets so mad they take it apart themselves, which the Brits won’t do. So it’s a pretty safe bet the Brits will leave the EU, and after perhaps a little glitch, markets will rise and the world will go on. Don’t let anyone spook you.
Will more nations leave the EU?
Probably. We already know the EU is broken because Greece, Italy and Spain cannot realistically share a currency with Germany, the Netherlands, etc. The southern Europeans need to have a currency devaluation to reduce their debt and lower the cost of their exports, so they can export their way out of trouble.
Another problem is that the EU is essentially an illegal trade preference. An important tenant of the WTO, which uses trade to try to prevent another global war like WWII, is that member countries must give every other member country “most favored nation” status. This does not mean they cannot charge tariffs, but that they cannot discriminate in doing so. But they can discriminate against non-members. This makes membership in the WTO and dependence on global trade a deterrent to war. However, trading block agreements – whose legality seems dubious other than by mutual agreement to ignore the rules – undermine the WTO. The threat of the EU trade block absorbing Russia’s trading partners is effectively what started the war in Ukraine. Russia had only just joined the WTO, and one could never expect Russia to give up so much sovereignty as to join the EU! If you are a US citizen, what would you think of us joining the EU? Heck, we can’t even pass immigration reform among ourselves. So support Britain’s referendum. Even if they have it several times.