Britain, the E.U. Exit and Illusion vs. Reality


  1. Britain voted to exit the European Union.
  2. Leaders and experts announced:
    1. The sky will fall.
    2. We’ll be better off.
    3. Wait and see. With numbers of powerful people heavily committed to the E.U. still committed to interfering with the evident vote of the citizens, this is likely the most reasonable attitude for now.

None very helpful, are they? We don’t know what’s coming but we have opinions. You’re welcome to them or to trash them if preferred. Or to add your own ideas. Here is what we think:

First, the European Union (E.U.) has never been real; it is a political illusion held together by wishful thinking. How do you maintain a commonality of productive economies with high ethical standards together with less productive, more corrupt folk, all of whom have a history of war and contempt for each other? How do you build a common currency out of shifting economic sands?

If you do it by means of an unelected bureaucracy that must juggle real power in various member states in various degrees, it seems to us an assemblage resembling Dr. Frankenstein’s. A monster incapable of normal life. And now, starting in Britain, the peasants are taking up torches and pitchforks under pressure of the results of massive political and economic mismanagement. The vaunted European welfare state was never attainable but having been elected by promising it, politicians were bound to deliver, never mind that the necessary resources have never existed. Never mind that each gesture toward the promised utopian generated algebraic increases in further demands. A welfare state is a Red Queen’s race: You must run fast to stay in the same place; if you wish to progress, you must run much faster still.

The world economy is declining nearly everywhere now under the burden of the debt that has been used by the desperate politicians to feed the monster that they have created to keep themselves in office. Their bribe to the voters. As the shrinking inventories, declining shipments, dwindling workforce and the resulting decline in living standards gathers impetus, politicians and voters seek someone else to blame. That’s what people prefer to do. There is blame enough for all.

Britain’s exit vote will be blamed for subsequent economic decline; similar decline among those remaining in the E.U. while it lasts will be ignored. Except when blamed upon some other factor, naturally. The degree of coming finger-pointing will need the Hindu goddess Kali’s multiple arms to illustrate. That is begun in Britain with the E.U. vote; it is beginning in the U.S. with the presidential candidacies of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Both phenomena are products of disgruntled voters thrashing about in search of heads to roll, figuratively to date. Responsive politicians will offer voters new heads du jour at every opportunity. Interesting times, as the Chinese have it.

The European Union, stillborn at birth, will likely stagger onward like the elephant that has been shot but continues walking until it realizes that it is dead. That could be a while, at least until the next major financial debacle bursts undeniably onto the horizon.

All will end faced by working off –somehow – all that accumulated debt. Collapsing the banks, decimating the stock market and defaulting bonds and pensions to erase huge amounts of wealth are a possibility; too, governments often use massive inflation (slower wealth destruction) instead. But politicians’ promises to the contrary notwithstanding, that debt will be paid, one way or another and burdening a new generation.

But don’t blame the Brits or the E.U; the fault lies not in our stars … It is but a part of the price we pay for being what we are.

About Jack Curtis

Suspicious of government, doubtful of economics, fond of figure skating (but the off-ice part, not so much) Couple of degrees in government, a few medals in figure skating; just reading and suspicion for economics ...
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