And now for a few more words about the Brexit.
First, the media are roaring about Britain leaving the EU as if it were a coup by a group of thieves who broke into Westminster at 2 in the morning and stole the UK. They’re talking about it as if it were a crime of some kind.
But very far from it. There was a democratic referendum on the issue. There has been months of campaigning out in the open. The newspapers, TV, and Internet of the UK were filled with little else.
The people of the UK voted for the Brexit. They didn’t have the EU stolen from them. This Exit was what the voters wanted. That anger we are now seeing in the press is usually the way the U.S. media handles any election that goes the opposite way from what the media wants. So it is with the Brexit. If it goes against the wishes of the beautiful people, it has to be a sin of some kind.
But it isn’t. It’s called democracy.
Second, the discussions about the economic fallout from the Brexit seem to assume that the UK will somehow vanish off the earth and become set in some kind of orbit around the earth too far away to do anything meaningful on earth.
Far from it. Britain will still be one of the most powerful economies in the world. Whatever Britain exported before, it can still export. The EU will not put up a punitive wall against UK exports for two big reasons: They need the cars and the woolens and whatever else they have been buying, and they’ll still need them in a month or in six months; second, Italy and France and Spain will not want to put up high tariffs against the UK because they don’t want the UK putting up high tariffs against them.
That’s why we got the bloc in the first place and it’s why Europe and the world generally will remain a low tariff environment.
Three (or third), the media have rightly noted that London is a major financial hub. The media and some politicians believe that any powerful financial center must be in the EU. But why? The main assets of any financial magnet go up and down in the elevators every night. They are intelligent, daring, hard-working people, men and women, who know their finance and have access to capital.
Those people are operating right now in New York City, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. There is no reason at all to suppose that any financial center must be in the EU. London was an enormously important financial center before the EU was dreamed of. There is no reason at all why that should change. Trading blocs of free nations have no barriers of any scale to the movement of capital or traders or lawyers. There is no reason to suppose this will change if Britain is not part of the bloc.
Fourth, there is great anxiety that other nations will also want to leave the EU. After all, they, too, are sick and tired of the violence of some (by no means all) of the immigrants Brussels has welcomed into Europe. They, too, are angry at Brussels micromanagement. If the people of those countries want to leave, it’s not democracy if they are not allowed to do so.
The main thing, though, is that the people of Britain voted fair and square to leave. There is no reason at all to suppose that trade between the UK and the EU and the USA will stop or even slow down. There’s no reason to think that Canary Wharf will become a giant Wal-Mart.
Traders love to get people riled up. So do journalists. Bear it in mind.
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