by John Brian Shannon | February 2, 2017
A brilliant group of academics and professionals have published a list of four questions that should be foremost in the minds of those wanting to negotiate a successful Brexit result as they navigate through the process of leaving the European Union.
These economists, lawyers, sociologists, and political scientists suggest that four important metrics need to be considered for any final Brexit agreement to be termed a “success” by a majority of Britons.
- Will Britain be better off, compared to staying in the EU?
- Will it create a fairer society?
- Will it make Britain’s economy and society more or less open?
- Will it give governance back to the electorate?
These seem utterly reasonable questions the public and policymakers can use to guide their thinking about Brexit over the coming months and years.
With so much focus on GDP growth and the export economy it was heartening to hear the Prime Minister speak about addressing inequality in the country, a problem not unique to Britain, but one which represents a gathering socio-economic catastrophe that rarely gets the attention it deserves. Kudos there, Mrs. May!
“As Mrs May has pointed out, judging Brexit is not just about GDP numbers, it’s also about creating a ‘fairer’ Britain – closing the wealth gap and expanding wealth and opportunity beyond London and the Southeast, as well as taking back control of borders and law-making.” — The Telegraph
These are the right questions to be asking prior to the formal start of the Brexit process which Prime Minister Theresa May has said will commence March 2017 when the UK government triggers Article 50 of the EU constitution.
See: PM Theresa May’s Lancaster House speech
February 1, 2017: Supported by the Labour Party, House of Commons MP’s backed the government’s European Union Bill voting 498 votes to 114 (a majority of 384) to allow the Prime Minister to get Brexit negotiations underway. — Excellent BBC article here.
March 31, 2017: Self-imposed deadline set by the Prime Minister for informing the EU via the Article 50 clause that Britain wishes to exit the European Union.
After a long delay (which is typical in politics) things are going to get interesting, fast.
Once Prime Minister Theresa May triggers Article 50, the ball will be, as they say, in the European Union’s court.
The UK in a Changing Europe is an impartial and independent organisation created to make the findings of the best academic research easily available to the widest possible audience. This report was written by the initiative’s director Anand Menon and senior fellows Angus Armstrong, Catherine Barnard, Iain Begg and Jonathan Portes. The report in its entirety is available for download here (PDF). [Worth the read. – Ed.]
I find #2, a more “fair” society, as being irrelevant to Brexit, although as a general notion it is a commendable aim, which we all should try to achieve.
If one of the reasons British voters chose to vote ‘Leave the EU’ in the June 23rd referendum was ‘for a ‘fairer society’ — British leaders must deliver, or at least be seen trying to deliver on it. And if that’s the case (that some of the British electorate voted for Brexit, in part, for a ‘fairer’ society) then it isn’t an irrelevant notion.
However, if they did not vote (in part) for a ‘fairer’ society, then you’re right, it’s an irrelevant notion.
My own opinion, admittedly not based on any peer-reviewed study, is that probably 10% to 20% of the people who voted ‘Leave’ thought they were voting for a ‘fairer’ society.
Which makes it just relevant enough to register on the radar, IMHO.
If more and larger protests against inequality become the norm (think #OWS-sized protests) the attention given to a ‘fairer’ society will increase exponentially.
In any event, Brexit was a protest vote. But a protest against what? (The government and pundits are together, still analyzing the result)
Thank you for your excellent comment!
Great logical analysis, John. I would say that the protest to leave was due, as you previously noted, to the “taxation without representation” feeling of being in such an amalgamated construct. The “fairness” and “equality” terminology being promulgated by the Left is not even an accurate, or a fair-use, designation, considering that their idea of fairness means equal results for varied levels of input. For instance, workers and layabouts should receive equal pay for… equal air breathed? But, conservatives tend to see fairness as general opportunities extended in fair measures for each to try to reach their dreams — with no guaranteed outcomes for any. Hopefully, these will “equal out” in the long run.
People have been saying, “hopefully, these will equal out in the long run” for decades, if not centuries.
But things never “equal out” — as we have seen in every generation since Ancient Greece.
There is simply no evidence, anywhere, that luck (for that is what you are describing) will make things, “equal out”.
My rebuttal has three main points about inequality:
1) Over 94% of wealthy people, are children of wealthy parents. Which means that only 6% of people who become wealthy, rose from poverty, or middle-class status, to become wealthy. That’s a pretty telling statistic right there.
It means that our system is broken, and that there is practically no chance of becoming wealthy — no matter how hard a person works.
Certainly, more than 6% of Americans have worked exceedingly hard in their lives!
As I said, I don’t believe in luck causing things to “equal out”. Because it doesn’t work.
2) Right now in the United States, there are about 93 million unemployed people. It was many more people than that at the peak of the financial crisis.
In that group, are short-term unemployed’s (people who are still eligible for unemployment insurance payments) and long-term unemployed’s (that no longer qualify for unemployment insurance payments) and people who couldn’t find a job and consequently (and only because they couldn’t find a job) returned to college or became a homemaker, or (with no other option left to them) retired early.
Also in that group are people subsisting on welfare schemes, or are disabled but willing to work at a job that they are actually capable of doing.
As you know, the official U.S. unemployment rate in January 2017 is set at 4.9% but that stat only relates to those people who are actively drawing unemployment insurance benefits and are looking for work. Not long-term unemployed’s who would work, if there were jobs available.
3) There are simply many more people looking for work, than there are jobs available since 37% of U.S. manufacturing jobs picked up and left for Asia since 1979.
Yes, more than 1/3rd of all U.S. manufacturing jobs left the U.S. since 1979, and won’t ever return due to the additional profits that U.S. corporations can make, overseas.
Some of the corporations that off-shored more than 1/3rd of American manufacturing, are the same corporations that received billions (sometimes, multi-billions) in corporate welfare, which has totalled over $1 trillion since the Carter administration.
Yet, it’s often the unemployed workers who get the blame for being unemployed — by society, their family and friends, and by potential employers who ask them ‘Why?’
And they get the blame for the billions in corporate welfare paid by the government, and for the state of their (former) industry (Maybe if you had worked harder, all those jobs wouldn’t have gone to Asia!’) and worse comments than that.
It’s the job of the government to stimulate the economy when appropriate (but not to add billions of profits to successful companies that can’t keep their books straight) and to set the necessary and proper regulatory environment for industry to thrive.
It’s the governments fault that there are 23 million more people looking for work, than there are jobs available.
That is a permanent stat, it never goes away, although during the financial crisis, it was higher. (An unemployment rate of 5% is considered ‘full employment’ by most economists, however, nowadays there are the significant number of long-term unemployed’s that don’t show up on official statistics)
However, when faulty or inept government regulations allow more than 1/3rd of all U.S. manufacturing to go overseas, it’s not the unemployed’s fault.
When $1 trillion is spent on corporate welfare instead of on the welfare of citizens, the government has the wrong priorities.
And when government stimulus goes directly into creating a whole new economic class of people on the planet (the 1% who own over half of the wealth in America, and who do very little to increase aggregate demand) we know successive governments have dropped the ball on it’s citizens, the lowly taxpayers.
http://www.statisticbrain.com/outsourcing-statistics-by-country/ (This link shows detailed stats from 2015 only)
I consider the creation of the 1% economic class, one of the colossal governmental failures in modern history.
I consider the loss of 37% of U.S. manufacturing to be another (!) one of the colossal governance failures in modern history.
And I consider the loss (and it is a ‘loss’ for that money could’ve been better spent) of $1 trillion in corporate welfare to U.S. corporations to be (yet another!) one of the colossal failures of modern history.
Made in the U.S.A. indeed!
And it is workers, former workers who still want to work, and the economy that is suffering because of it — all on account of gross negligence shown by successive governments since 1979.
Not that any one person or political party is to blame, just that nobody ran to catch the ball when it dropped — THREE TIMES!
Sorry for the long reply! But you did get me thinking!
I might even write yet another (!) blog on the topic.
As always, very best regards, JBS
Yes; you should just cut and paste this into a new article. Well, I do agree with everything you’ve said here, 100%.
There are fair means to satisfy, to whatever extent that’s possible (Not!), both conservative and loberal agendas.
I think Trump can work both ways on this. He was more left-leaning with Hillary, at one time. But, I just don’t think we should cave to the ultra-left communist/socialist ideals of just Robin-hood(winking) the wealth to give hand-outs unfairly via sanctioned robbery.
I, myself, am in dire straits as long-term unemployed, having had to fight just to keep that designation and be “properly” accounted for in the statistics. It’s very bad here.
And I agree with your earlier rollback of the assessment of the period of the 1980’s in America. It was promoted as the “yuppie” have-it-all generation, when really we were bled dry and haven’t recovered since. It was the Leftist policies that did this to us, in my estimation.
The housing burst was caused by the insistence (Barney Frank, I believe) of Congress that mortgage lenders should lend to high-risk borrowers they were to risk-adverse to lend to. And then people defaulted and couldn’t pay.
In the same manner, government did this by telling everyone to go get educations they couldn’t afford. And the students defaulted.
Same with credit and automobiles.
Very irresponsible of government to try to break corporations like this. It worked.
We’re on our knees, but rising.
Well said, Randyjw!!!
I came across this link (it was just posted) and thought it was relevant to this thread. It’s a good read.
BROOKINGS: What we know—and don’t know—about the declining labor force participation rate
Cheers all! JBS