The Brexit Transition Deal

Yves here. More fodder for Brexit scorekeepers.

By Silvia Merler, an Affiliate Fellow at Bruegel Prior to that, she worked as Economic Analyst in DG Economic and Financial Affairs of the European Commission. Originally published at Bruegel

Michel Barnier, the European Union’s Brexit negotiator, and David Davis, Britain’s Brexit secretary, announced a transition deal on March 19. We review recently published opinions about the deal and its implications.

If you are unfamiliar with the discussion over the Brexit transition deal, Alex Barker andMartin Arnold have a short but detailed list of FAQs out on the Financial times. David Henig and Julian Jessop  also each have a thread out on Twitter that you may be interested in checking out.

James Blitz writes in his Brexit Briefing that the transition is agreed, but at a price. There are three reasons for caution. First, the transitional deal is not fully guaranteed, as it still depends on the successful conclusion of an Article 50 deal in the next 12 months, and there are three tracks to the Article 50 negotiation that stand in the way of an Article 50 deal: the Ireland question, the settlement of a future framework for trade, and the dispute resolution mechanism that will be needed for future trade relations. Second, the 21-month transition is too short for the UK civil service and much of British business. Third, and related, the transition agreement contains no sunset clause for a possible extension of the transition. Blitz thus thinks that the agreement is a sobering moment for British business, which has to stop believing in miracles and recognise the inevitability of change.

Chris Grey thinks that the deal can be seen as no more than an extension of the period of uncertainty: it is not, at this point, a transition to anything nor is it an implementation of anything. Future trade terms will not be agreed until after the end of the Article 50 period, and it seems unlikely that the detailed legal terms will be fully agreed in time for the end of the transition period – so a cliff edge is still a possibility.

There is also one particular uncertainty about the transition perioditself, when it comes to Britain’s access to EU trade agreements with other third countries. A footnote in the text says that the EU will inform those countries that Britain is to be treated as a Member State for the purpose of those agreements, but it is not clear that they are under any obligation to do so.

Grey thinks some Brexiters will make much of the fact that the transition terms allow Britain to both negotiate and ratify (but not implement) trade deals with other countries, but that is actually a hollow concession by the EU since it’s unlikely that other countries will want to sign up to trade deals with Britain before knowing the nature of Britain’s post-transition trade terms with the EU.

Apart from that crumb, there is nothing in the agreement that will commend itself to Brexiters, but they have little option but to go along with it. Conversely, that means that forremainers the prospects of avoiding Brexit look more remote, as it becomes much harder to mobilise public opposition to Brexit in the time available.

Ian Dunt thinks the transition agreement merely delays the inevitable and raises the stakes. Everything hinges on the Irish border question, which the EU could have forced on Britain now, but it did not. This seems like a major Brexit victory, but it is in a truth a relatively minor one because nothing has changed. A ball of impossibility sits there in the middle of the Brexit process and just keeps being kicked down the road.

The UK government is not going to agree to carve out Northern Ireland as a separate economic territory, and it is unlikely to keep the rest of the UK in the single market and customs union either. So the border cannot be around the UK, or in the Irish Sea, which means it has to be across Ireland – an option that the UK has, however, ruled out. In short, what the UK wants remains impossible, with the risk of facing the whole deal collapsing. Dunttherefore thinks that autumn is going to be a very intense and potentially catastrophic period in British politics.

Britain also announced that its contract to produce the new blue, post-Brexit passport is set to be awarded to a Franco-Dutch company – which created some clamour among Brexiteers, arguing that the UK will no longer be subject to EU rules of public procurement after Brexit. David Allen Green points out that the EU law of public procurement will continue to apply in the UK during the transition period, and it will then be virtually certain to be part of any UK-EU trade deal. As the EU views rules on public procurement to be an integral part of the single market, Britain will have to adopt them if it wants to provide services to the EU.

Rules on public procurement are also part of World Trade Organization obligations that the UK is likely to retain after Brexit. The rules are therefore not going to change soon after Brexit, and the various trade deals that Britain hopes for with third countries will also entail strict provisions. Brexittherefore may mean more foreign companies getting UK government work, rather than fewer. Blue passports were supposed to be a quick win, symbolic of the UK taking back control. But they are instead an early emblem of how little control the UK government is going to have in the harsh world of the international trade in services.

Pawel Swidlicki thinks the irony of Brexit is that leaving will mean more – rather than less – bureaucracy. Firstly, the EU has made the maintenance of a Level Playing Field a precondition for any form of new preferential trade deal. The UK is simply too big and too close for the EU to be relaxed about it pursuing a radically different economic model.

Besides ‘Brussels bullying’, powerful forces push the UK towards broadly maintaining its current regulatory model. First is public opinion, as there is no appetite for a fundamental rolling back of regulations in areas like employment law or consumer protection. Next is lobbying by those businesses which rely on trade with the EU and are worried that regulatory divergence will result in the erection of new non-tariff barriers to trade.

Immigration is another area where Brexit will entail more rather than less bureaucracy – as is trade, because even if the UK signs a post-Brexit free trade agreement with the EU which maintains zero tariffs, outside of a new customs union businesses are going to have to comply with bureaucratically onerous rules of origin designed to ensure that only goods covered by that agreement benefit. This is not to say there will be no post-Brexit scope for deregulation or flexibility to amend EU rules, but the great, transformative regulatory liberation envisaged by leading Brexiteers is unlikely to materialise.

Simon Wren-Lewis wonders why a large part of public opinion still seems to think that the UK will be economically better off leaving the EU – despite the view of the overwhelming majority of economists being that leaving will involve significant economic costs, and despite there having been actual costs already (e.g. in depreciation leading to higher import prices without any rise in wages).

Wren-Lewis offers two possible explanations. The first is that people are fully aware of what experts and the government thinks, but ignore this because they simply do not trust experts. The second and simpler explanation is that people remain unaware of the overwhelming expert opinion that they will continue to become worse off after Brexit. That, in turn, represents another victory for right-wing press propaganda, and another critical failure from most ofBritish broadcast media.

The Economist thinks that there is something – literally –  fishy about Britain’s Brexit transition deal. One awkward concession in fact concerns fish, as Britain will now stay in the EU’s common fisheries policy until the start of 2021. Scottish Tories are especially upset, but Mrs May has no choice, as fisheries is too small an industry to be worth jeopardising a future Brexit deal over.

The real concern about the transitional deal is rather the short time given for it. Mrs May had asked for a deal lasting “around two years”; some ministers openly hoped for longer, but the offer is 21 months, which trade experts doubt will suffice to negotiate a comprehensive trade deal. A majority of the Commons Brexit committee is calling for an extension of Article 50’s two-year deadline, but the text of the transitional deal leaves it unclear whether an extension will be legally possible, let alone politically so.

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  1. Altandmain

    It is looking like the UK has completely shot itself in the foot with this mess. This is all going down like a house of cards here.

    The Cameron government was totally unprepared for the possibility of a Brexit Leave victory and the British government was totally unprepared. There isn’t the apparatus in the British government to hold the type of negotiations required for Brexit.

    The issue is that the EU holds most, if not all of the bargaining power here. The EU needs the UK less than the UK needs the EU.

    While I strongly believe that any developed nation without a manufacturing sector won’t be able to remain a developed nation, the UK has zero plans for re-industrialization. This would require a literal war like mobilization and a massive industry policy, something that is ideologically incompatible to the Tory government in power. They need a massive stimulus, not the kind neoliberalism that the Tories are pursuing.

    That said, the rich in the UK brought this to themselves. They neglected to address inequality and indeed are the source of the misery of many British citizens. What is most disgraceful is that the rich will be largely shielded from the worst economic impact of Brexit, while the poor suffer the most.

    1. Clive

      And yet.

      While I am no fan at all of opinion polling, public support for Brexit is pretty much the same as it was at the time of the referendum and, if anything, attitudes have even hardened towards the EU as negotiations have progressed.

      There was a distinct wobble about 9 months ago, but that has since been reversed. That said, the country is still more-or-less split down the middle 50/50. This tallies with anecdotal evidence I’ve observed too.

      What Leave’ers have done and continue to be able to do par excellence is make an economic argument for Remain. Aside from the usual “whose economy?” question (too big to go into here, but covers aspects such as the subject of the winners and losers from globalisation and even the real value and desirability of long, fragile supply chains and the third-rail question of immigration and what effects this has — either real or perceived — on labour and class), the other point which is open to debate is whether or not economics trumps politics. So far, the evidence is that it doesn’t. U.K. society decided, in aggregate, that it was willing to take an economic risk to further a political goal.

      Now, snag with all that is, there is also an element that some Leave voters believed that either there would not be negative economic consequences for a Brexit or even that there would be positive outcomes. “They” may be wrong and “they” may find out the hard way the nature of their errors. But as with the “whose economy?” considerations, there isn’t definite linkage between who might have miscalculated and who might suffer the consequences.

      It’s all a bit of a mess isn’t it? But given the dynamic as a whole, was there ever an optimal set of actions? And before anyone pipes up and says “just cancel Brexit” do please have a good think about the viability of that option and whether it would, in the long term, really be anything other than yet another can kicking exercise.

      1. David

        Agreed. Ever since the 1970s, the debate about Europe in the UK has been primarily political, not economic. Popular distrust of Europe is nothing new, and always reflected the idea that it was essentially a rich man’s club, whose benefits would largely be felt by the wealthy. Indeed, membership of the (then) European Community was strongly pushed by the City, and what was then called UK industry. It was popular distrust of Europe and doubts about its real benefits to ordinary people that led Harold Wilson to call the 1975 referendum.
        Those of us who were pro-European (as I’ve been pretty much all my life) were not animated by economic theories or the wonders of trans-European competition, but by a sense of shared culture, politics and history. Twenty-five years ago, I would tell opponents of the Maastricht Treaty to go and visit the memorial to the battle of Verdun, and the site of the Kohl-Mitterand commemoration in 1984. (These days I doubt whether the average Eurocrat has even heard of Verdun). It’s unsurprising that many people like me feel betrayed at the hijacking of the European idea by neoliberal ideologues, and the concomitant attempt to identify “Europe” with a futuristic office building in Brussels.
        The fact is that UK elites have never shared this wider view, and, from EFTA days they have actually been hostile to it. Unsurprisingly, when it came to the crunch, all that Project Fear could do was to threaten ordinary people with the loss of a market for UK financial services and the ability of young professionals with qualifications to work anywhere in Europe. That and some kind of unspecified economic apocalypse. Had UK elites ever actually tried to make a political and cultural case for Europe, instead of sounding like accountants and dismissing any criticism as the product of racism and xenophobia, we wouldn’t be in this situation now.

        1. Clive

          I too ever since childhood was a firm, passionate even, proponent of the European ideal. I am riven and bereft at what has become of it. It’s like someone has taken a Faberge egg and systematically prized out the diamonds and replaced them with cubic zirconia then decided in the interest of expediency that the whole thing would work a lot better if the corners were squared off with a lump hammer.

          It’s hard to surrender a dream and I’ve certainly held onto a lot in my time, well past the point where it’s just being basically self-delusional. So I can well understand how Remain thinkers perceive this topic. And I fully expect that, at some point (which I now would classify in the dim and unpredictable future but, who knows, it might end up being sooner than that) the U.K. will rejoin the EU. An EU reborn into the same spirit of humanism which created it. The concept of Europe is too compelling to resist for long.

          In the meantime, though, while I’ve never abandoned anyone who’s not abandoned me first, the EU (by which I mean its unelected and self absorbed Commission and its three ringed circus compadre the Parliament) doesn’t, to me, deserve my pee’ing in its ear if its brain was on fire.

          1. Synoia

            You’ll have to explain lump hammer to the cognoscenti here.

            There is no such tool the the US Lexicon of tools. The nearest, and in no way the same, is a framing hammer.

        2. vlade

          “had the UK elites… ”
          Indeed so.

          But that was the big problem – that say Polish Plumber was easily blamed on the EU, while the fact that Pakistan Uber driver was quietly ignored (because it would have to be blamed on May as she controlled the non-EU immigration). Immigration was always a problem. In fact, in late 2000s there was still, in some places, attitude of “better Polish Plumber than a Bangladeshi”. One of the Leave wins (especially for UKIP and Farage) was to persuade parts of population that even the non-EU immigration would drop once the UK was out of EU.

          Tories refused to talk about the non-EU immigration as it would put the responsibility on them (May – which the media seems to conveniently forget these days), and Labour refused to talk about it as it held (and still holds) that internationalism and immigration is good, always and under any conditions.

          Even stupider was the fact that because immigration was taboo, the impact of the immigration was taboo too. So for example, it was taboo to try to use EU structural funds to deal with some aspects of immigration – like fund new schools and hospitals in areas which were hit by high immigration (which would have been very possible).

      2. PlutoniumKun

        I think its a classic case of the frog in the cooking pot. I don’t really think it will sink in with many people how damaging it will be until its well past the exit date. Its anecdotal, I know, but I think there is a huge gap in information between people who are largely insulated from direct decision making to those who’s work is directly affected*. From the beginning, people I know who work in sectors like supply chain management, shipping, construction and academia have been frantic about it, as they know exactly what will happen and how ill prepared the country is. I’ve otherwise met many experienced and intelligent people who have just shrugged their shoulders and said ‘yeah, it will have an effect, but we’ll fudge our way through somehow’ or words to that effect.

        *the exception to this is farmers, many of whom seem entirely oblivious to the economic tsunami thats about to hit them.

        1. Clive

          I think that is an essential, key — and much underrepresented — aspect. The impact will be — I think the word is bifurcated (but it’s not a word I use so I do hope the meaning isn’t different than I believe it to be) — and incredibly sector-specific.

          Doing a rough run down, government, civil service, healthcare, energy, and most (not, however, all) services will either be unaffected, affected but with access to stabilising resources and able to manage any low-to-moderate disruption or affected but sufficiently loosely coupled that it won’t have a noticeable impact. My own TBTF is in this category. It is simply not an issue. A few small areas of operation are potentially impacted, but there are no unique EU-only suppliers and plenty in the Far East and, especially, the US, Canada and also Central America who provide equivalent products (albeit with possible higher costs — but a higher costs problem isn’t the same thing as a fundamental can’t-get-hold-of-it-at-all problem).

          But then you’ve got agriculture, auto industry supply chain, spare parts, logistics and freight forwarders, shipping, rail and aviation. Plus maybe tourism and some elements of money centre financial services like euroclearing. To call the changes which could befall these sectors “seismic” is an insult to earthquakes.

          Hence, I think, the (quite legitimate) wailing and knashing of teeth from some quarters and the (quite legitimate) shoulder shrugging from others.

          It would be nice if the U.K. government could now set about identifying where the pain points are / will be and coming up with a plan for each sector. Meanwhile, back here on planet Earth where reality is what we have to live with…

          1. vlade

            TBH, I suspect that some of those you list as non-affected will be affected, if nothing else then by secondary effects.

            For example, I’d expect the pubs and restaurants in SE and some popular tourist areas to be affected via secondary effects.

            Also, it will be interesting to see whether some of the financials that in effect have IT shops in London now will move or not – I can see arguments for both. If they do move, then it will put pressure on IT salaries in SE, as it’s unlikely that majority of the relocated jobs would relocate people too.

            But those are things that are impossible to predict, and we’ll see them only when we’ll see them.

            1. PlutoniumKun

              Yeah, I think thats what will create problems, when unexpected cascades work their way through the system, not least via impacts on the property market.

              Although ironically I think one area that the UK will do very well in (assuming the aircraft issue is addressed) is tourism – the UK is getting cheaper and cheaper as a holiday destination I know several people here who talked about their fun London weekends now being affordable as sterling has declined.

              1. vlade

                I’ll be interetsted to see what happens with tourism. I think some areas (London, York, Edinborough) can do well, at least for a while.

                But I think the secondary ones (Cotswolds, Dales) might suffer – none of those are substitutes for Mallorca or Spanish or Portugese coast, or Central/Eastern European binge parties. If you want to do a stag do, the pub in the town next door might be still more interesting. But again, I’d be loath to do any predictions I’d have to put money down on.

                1. PlutoniumKun

                  My friend, who owns a small business near the Pennines (holiday cottages and guided bike tours) says he’s had a good year – his clients are almost all English, and many are saying that they have chosen to stay at home due to the weakness of sterling.

                  1. vlade

                    Brexit hasn’t hit yet. In particular, there were few job losses related to Brexit. I’d like to know where his English clientele was from – was it significantly SE and some of the major metropolis, or elsewhere? If the latter, I’d think it could hold, if the former, I’d not be so sure once Brexit really hots.

                    1. PlutoniumKun

                      I think most of his business is regular people from places like Manchester and Leeds, with some Londoners, going for fresh air for a long weekend or week. He also gets the occasional stag/hen weekend and even in once case a group of dogging enthusiasts (don’t ask how he found that out!). As he is some distance from the tourism hotspots, its rare to get a foreign tourist.

              2. David

                I have a rather longer comment stuck in moderation for some reason, but I’d just add here that a situation of this complexity virtually guarantees that there will be second and third order effects that no-one can currently anticipate. And just as people blame the EU for things that are actually decided by the British government, I suspect that many of the effects of Brexit – good or bad – will be blamed either on the EU or on the government impressionistically, and without much in the way of analysis. Given the miserable failure of the commentariat so far to understand even the main issues of Brexit, I have no faith that they will do any better explaining the how and why of the consequences. All of which suggests that the political effects of Brexit will be (1) complicated (2) messy and (3) impossible to predict.

          2. visitor

            In other words, the industrial sector, which was already quite diminished after decades of neglect and refocusing on the financial sector, will take a further whacking. Which will reduce even more the potential for economic rebound and sustainability in Great Britain.

            Economic woes have pushed many Poles, Lithuanians, Greeks, Portuguese, Irish, etc, to emigrate in the past 10-15 years — to the point of causing severe demographic imbalances in some Baltic and Balkan states. Will there be, or is there already, a similar emigration trend in the UK?

        2. makedoanmend

          To PK,

          You seem to be correct on the farmer’s angle. I occasionally read the Scottish version of the Farmer journal and there are periodic grumbling’s about Gove’s future “promises”. On the whole, though, very muted. There does seem to be a certain cohort of monied farmers and their offspring who think that when unfettered by EU legislation that GM crops will be a big money earner for UK agriculture. I’m not so sanguine in this regard.

          1. makedoanmend

            (And to add the rest of the original comment, as it has been truncated.)

            The established players in GM products are well established, hardened by experience, and have a fairly good grasp of protecting their turf. No easy pickings out there that I can see.

          2. PlutoniumKun

            I’ve a friend, a staunch Remainer who lives in a small village in the north of England, mostly sheep and livestock farmers as neighbours. As he continually points out, there is an irony that all his farming neighbours are confirmed Brexiters, even though they will admit when pushed that its likely to hit farming very badly, while his small business (tourism, almost entirely domestic customers) is likely to do very well, especially as a weak sterling will encourage more staycations.

            Its the agriculture industry as a whole I find baffling. They are likely to be by far the most affected, yet they are the most sanguine. They will be hit at multiple angles – reduce subsidies, more exposure to cheaper competition from the Americas, NZ and Australia, rising cost of labour. Even GM and intensive factory farming won’t save them, they can never match the cost of US grain/beef. Dairy is likely to be strongly affected by a lack of processing facilities (a high percentage of UK milk goes to Ireland for processing, before going back to UK shops).

            Even with a firm and well judged domestic agriculture policy aimed at self sufficiency it will take years for it to reach a natural equilibrium again, and thats assuming the UK isn’t forced to open its doors to US Ag giants as part of a deal.

      3. Anonymous2

        I am afraid I think it is more than a bit of a mess (or is that English understatement?). Times are going to be hard anyway over the next 15 years because of the demographics. The young are going to blame the old for depriving them of the future they wanted for themselves. I think British society as a result is going to be toxic for the foreseeable future. The newspapers of course will seek to distract and deceive, as they have done for so long, but I suspect eventually the penny will drop with the majority about what has happened, at which point people may get even angrier than they are now.

        Eventually, I suspect, as with the Iraq war, it will become very difficult to find people who will admit to having been Brexit supporters but I fear we have a whole pile of grief to go through before then. Always assuming of course that the people who prophesy the collapse of the EU are not proved correct. But I think that, although there could very well be Eurozone crises, the EU itself still offers its members enough for it to hang together, though I agree a more humane EU is definitely called for. Perhaps, with the UK influence removed, that is the direction in which it will move. Certainly, I suspect, it would easier to achieve with the Brits out of the way.

      4. ChrisPacific

        Yes, this mirrors my thinking at the time of the referendum, before the story became all about how badly the Tories were botching it. Even though Brexit was always going to be a difficult problem to solve, it wasn’t an intractable one – leaving aside the politics, the difficulties mostly arose from the complexity and scale of the changes required. It was always going to be a massive undertaking, but not an unprecedented one. I think an authoritarian regime like China would have been able to pull it off with a fairly high degree of certainty.

        I think the interesting question is: can a change on this scale ever be accomplished effectively under a Westminster-style parliamentarian system, given the various political challenges involved? In other words, is the current UK government uniquely incompetent, or would any other government in their place have fared as poorly?

        One obvious thing that could have been done differently would be to summarize and define the major political challenges (Northern Ireland, immigration etc.) before triggering Article 50, and make internal agreement on them a precondition for moving forward. As we’ve seen, when you have multiple internal positions that are mutually contradictory and require one or more parties to back down from their ‘drop dead’ position before you can move forward, it’s not really possible to rush the process. But there’s also the possibility that without the external deadline of Article 50 to force the issue, there never would have been a resolution at all.

        I am no fan of May, but the fact that she seems to have been able to gain agreement on a transition deal (albeit one that is not particularly favorable to the UK) without losing the leadership or seeing her government fracture into pieces is actually quite an impressive accomplishment. The hard Brexiters may yet give trouble, but she has them in a TINA vice now that will only become harder for them to escape as time passes.

  2. The Rev Kev

    The good news is that the European Union Council has gotten together to forge an agreement so that the British know what to expect for the years after Brexit become final. It will be known as the Brexit Organization for a Healthy Independent Council Agreement or BOHICA for short. The UK government has, in their wisdom, already stated that they are willing and able to have full dealings with this agreement.

  3. Nell

    “why a large part of public opinion still seems to think that the UK will be economically better off leaving the EU”
    Option 3: People are aware that we will be economically worse off, but since being economically well off doesn’t appear to enhance the prospects for their community, friends and family, they are indifferent.

    1. flora

      As an outsider reading these posts I wonder: after years of austerity being forced on the lower income segments of UK society, maybe the pro-Brexit voters think the ‘economically worse off’ outcome will hit the richer segments, those that foisted austerity on them? So, getting a bit of their own back?

        1. Clive

          That was however the working theory. Those who had been royalty shafted by our elites may not have put it in quite those terms which flora alluded to, but that was a motivation.

          And however it turns out, the London media and metropolitan elite (our Acela corridor equivalent) along with a lot of neoliberal experts, the soggy centre ground of British politics and sundry there’s-inevitably-going-to-be-globalisation-malcontents-but-they’ll-all-find-other-jobs handwavers have taken a very palpable hit and will not for quite some time yet be willing to spout off their condescending platitudes.

          Is the death of Guardian-style faux socialism worth the price of a reassurance of swivel eyed Daily Mail jingoistic rubbish? Not such a bad trade off to me. At least no-one will be so quick to abdicate their responsibility to be politically engaged again when similarly momentous considerations emerge in future.

          Wherever you stand on this, and you certainly do have a point, consider it a preview of the Coming Attraction of what will happen when Trump voters realise that he probably really isn’t on their side.

          1. larry

            Clive, I just can’t stand Daily Mail jingoistic rubbish. I would rather have a laugh watching Soft Border Patrol, which I think may be a NI production, where every character spouts bollocks about Brexit and the Irish border the entire episode, of which there are only three lasting about half an hour each if I remember rightly. We came across it on iPlayer. Genuinely funny, we think.

            1. Clive

              I’ll try to find it. Then I’ll watch a re run of (puts on his best Trump impersonation) “We’re gunna build a wa-aaa-llll. And you know what the best part is? They’re gonna pay for it…”

          2. David

            I think that’s a very fair point. For a lot of ordinary people, in many countries, the EU is essentially a middle-class racket. Listening to some of the Brusselistas, it’s quite frightening how far they are detached from everyday reality. They assume everyone hops on the Eurostar or the Thalys or the ICE every week, sends their children on university exchanges and moves jobs from country to country when they feel like it. There was a good example a few months ago: in the long passage at Montparnasse with a moving walkway, there were hundreds of meters of propaganda for the ERASMUS student interchange programme, showing smiling international couples who’d met while studying political science in Florence or whatever. All in the name of European integration, and something so far removed from the life of the everyday casual supermarket employee passing by that it might as well come form Mars.
            I look forward, post-Brexit, to seeing a few unemployed bankers holding up signs saying “Will behave greedily and unethically for food. Please give generously.”

            1. orangecats

              I’ve been waiting for someone to say this in just this way. The widespread conviction that brexiteers must be racist and ignorant has an American version. Trump voters are stupid and backward, and the only surprise is how many stupid and backward people there are in the home of the brave.

              A little background: I have voted democratic in every election except 2000 when I went with Ralph Nader. My first vote ever was for Jesse Jackson in the democratic primary. The results: Nader assisted the victory of war criminal Bush, Bill Clinton is in my opinion one of the worst presidents in history, Obama the biggest disappointment, Hillary Clinton– a Sophie’s choice, instead of the boy I picked the girl.

              At this point I’m feeling kinda stupid.

  4. /lasse

    Top 5 contributors to the export led growth “economic engines”:
    United States -$462,000,000,000 2017 est
    United Kingdom -$91,420,000,000 2017 est.
    Canada -$55,570,000,000 2017 est.
    Turkey -$38,950,000,000 2017 est.
    India -$33,680,000,000 2017 est.

    Top 5 recivers:
    (European Union $387,100,000,000 2017 est.)
    Germany $296,000,000,000 2017 est.
    Japan $175,000,000,000 2017 est.
    China $162,500,000,000 2017 est.
    Korea, South $85,140,000,000 2017 est.
    Netherlands $82,440,000,000 2017 est.

    CIA Factbook, current account list.

  5. marku52

    After literally decades of economists swearing up and down that globalization and free trade and financial deregulation will be greatfor everyone, and, sneering down their noses that anyone who disagrees is merely an ignorant Luddite….

    I think many people simply write them off. What they swore would be great wasn’t. Maybe what they swear will be terrible will turn out OK.

    I don’t agree in this case, but ignoring the economists predictions seems entirely reasonable based on past history

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