Brexit op ed

Disclaimer: Please forgive me if I get political here for one blog: this is the one & only time in my ten year blogging history I will entertain politics.

I’m flummoxed over the UKs Brexit vote on Wednesday. Let me explain:  Brexit (short for Britain Exit) is the first time UK citizens vote on whether to stay as part of the European Union (EU) or not.

One of the three legs of sustainable living is social justice. With the ‘Brexit’ vote a few days away, it will send a global message about social justice and affect global futures for years to come.

  • Is it a local decentralized vs centralized issue?
  • Is is banks & finance vs. Main street?
  • Is is autonomous vs …?
  • Is it jobs vs trade?
  • Is it rich vs poor?
  • Is it micro vs super capitalism?

The short answer is YES, it’s all of these and more.

Before the Brexit vote it’s been the UK’s government, banks and corporations driving decision with the EU. For the first time now, it’s the English people’s turn to decide. There’s a lot at stake. You can read all about it in the pop media, but the story behind the story and its implications are more subtle. Here’s a couple links:

the Economist          USA Today

I can boldly say this one of the first big popular votes on super-capitalism by a western country. I am almost in favor of a ‘yes’ Brexit vote, just to see how corporate capitalists will react and spin the results to their benefit, and if other EU countries will follow suit. I can also argue for a ‘no’ Brexit vote because of all the people that will be displaced (mostly immigrants) and how once again lower economic sector, aka poor people, will suffer the most (jobs, inflation, taxes, etc).

But there are so many sides and complexities to the Brexit vote. For one, you have to look at the long-term history of England’s relationship to the rest of Europe. And, most importantly you have to look at the whole history and cultures within Europe.

Some of the immediate short term impacts will include:

  • The British pound will be devalued
  • Jobs will be lost (lo-wage ones disproportionally)
  • Borders will be closed
  • Tourism will decrease, visas required
  • Trade will suffer (both exports & imports to the UK)
  • NATO may be affected
  • Cost of doing EU business will go up
  • Energy prices affected
  • Right wing conservatives, isolationists will be emboldened
  • Central bank costs, trade costs will go up

My personal business experience with British business-persons was always fine because they presumed I was an American. When they found out (way later) that I was native German (and proud of it), they somehow seemed to distance themselves from me. My company landed many jobs in the Germanic and Scandinavian countries, but never one single one in the UK, even tho they were the leaders of PPP (Public Private Partnerships) – but that’s a whole other story. Back to Brexit…

The UK is way more aligned with the USA than it is with the EU. That’s a fact on many levels. The UK also needs the EU for finance, business and market reasons – that’s also a fact. What the UK doesn’t need, is a bunch of Brussels (Hdqrtrs of EU) bureaucrats telling them how to run their country. And most other countries in the EU feel the same way. And there’s the rub: One cannot compare the EU to the USA. The EU is not comprised of multiple states that are united together. The EU is a collection of age old cultures and countries with different languages, own armies, own banks, own currencies, etc before they all agreed to share everything but their languages and cultures. And therein lies the rub. How can multiple cultures come together and share? How can Greeks and Germans agree to austerity programs? How can Austria and Hungary agree to border controls? For the last twenty years the success of the EU always has been and will continue to be on financial and trade reasons. It’s big business! Or super-capitalism. If small is beautiful, and everything good is local, local; then how in the heck did the EU ever agree to ‘get bigger’? The answer is simple: money and competition.

In a world of every increasing trading partners and trading blocks (NAFTA, SEAT, PTA, etc) how could 28 small countries possible compete on the global stage? And so that’s one of the question in front of British voters in five days: Do you want to return to being a small fish within a big pond? Do you want to survive on your own, close down your borders, re-create your own banking and business centers?

Surely there will be short-term flashback from the EU if Brexit is passed. The EU has already fired many salvos across UK’s bow, warning it of dire banking and financial consequences. But do the people care? Do they want to be told what they can and cannot do? Will fear mongering of foreign ‘terrorists’ prevail? Are the people sick and tired of Banks and Corporations driving them further and further down economic parity? Stay tuned to June 23rd.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *