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Why the EU and UK will be enemies

by Frank Schnittger Wed Nov 20th, 2019 at 01:20:36 PM EST

Boris Johnson likes to talk about "our friends in Europe" when talking about the cooperative future he sees emerging between the UK and the EU post Brexit - where both will be competing as equals in a globalised world economy. But it is much more likely that the EU and the UK will end up being mortal enemies.

There are a number of reasons for this. Some are political: If Brexit succeeds in delivering a more prosperous UK, why would other countries wish to remain in the EU? Being part of a political union involves inevitable compromises and constraints on national polities. Why would they endure such constraints if there wasn't a demonstrable pay-off in terms of economic prosperity and political influence in the world?

But if Brexit is a threat to the future of the EU, so also would a relatively successful continuing EU be a threat to the UK: Not only might Scotland and N. Ireland secede to become part of that greater prosperity, but the divisions within England and Wales exposed by Brexit between Leavers and Remainers, north and south, and the winners and losers of globalisation would be exacerbated.

Brexit sets up a very dangerous dynamic whereby both the UK and the EU have a vested interest in securing their own stability by seeing the other fail. This is the stuff that wars are incubated in, even if, on this occasion, it leads to no more than an economic war. But there are also a number of reasons to suppose this economic war could be deep and long:


Any post Brexit FTA or "deeper economic relationship" between the EU and the UK will have to be ratified by 27 member states plus the European and some regional parliaments. Why would they do so unless the terms are clearly beneficial to their industries and regions? England is not the only country with a resurgent nationalist movement.

The reality is that a "no deal" Brexit is still very much on the cards, even if the Withdrawal Agreement is eventually ratified by the UK and European Parliaments. Even an orderly withdrawal is no guarantee of a future stable relationship. But next time around, it may not be just English Brexiteers who are advocating "no deal".

This will especially be the case if there is a gradual economic divergence between the UK and the EU, with a Johnson government pursuing a "Singapore-on-Thames" strategy of competing against the EU by lowering corporate taxes, de-regulating businesses, diminishing worker's rights and lowering consumer and environmental protections.

Eoin Drea is a researcher at the Wilfried Martens Centre, the official think tank of the European People's Party. He argues that the EU is fundamentally underestimating what the UK could achieve post Brexit:

Put simply, Europe continues to underestimate British abilities to adapt, and possibly even thrive, in a post-EU environment. Brexit may well be an obscene act of economic self-harm, but that does not preclude the probability that Britain will remain a powerful economic and political actor on the world stage. In so doing, Britain will be a most serious competitor for Europe irrespective of what kind of Brexit actually occurs.


That is why, for Europe to thrive, Brexit Britain must fail (and fail badly).

Viewed through the prism of a continental lens, Brexit Britain will be a Ryanair-style competitor to the EU's established Lufthansa brand. A wild jungle of unrestrained, US-style capitalism filled with exploited and vulnerable workers. This bizarre type of socio-economic superiority fills the narrative of unrestrained Anglo-Saxon capitalism. Unfortunately, for the EU, this view is factually incorrect and more than a little moored in cultural chauvinism.

Did you ever wonder why so many workers from central and Eastern European member states flock to work in Britain (and Ireland)? Why English is the dominant language in the EU even though it will not even be an official language of any member state after Brexit? Or why President Emmanuel Macron, before his gillets jaune walk-back, sought to implement classical Anglo-Saxon economic policies - smaller state, lower business taxes and increased labour market flexibility?

It's because the Anglosphere (led by the US with Britain in tow) understands that globalisation is like going to a drug rehab centre; there can be no half measures, no piecemeal commitment: you must be in it to win it. And the US and Britain have succeeded in shaping the framework of modern, capitalist, democratic societies. Nobody dreams of implementing the Belgian or Italian economic models, or of replicating German fiscal angst.

Let us ignore the fact that English will remain an official language of both Ireland and Malta, and the lingua franca of much of the global business world due to US, not UK dominance.

What follows is a long paean of praise to the neo-liberal globalised economic model, as one might expect from an EPP researcher, and there will be some in the EU advocating that the EU join the UK in a race to the bottom, with lean government expenditures, low taxes, de-regulation, and a buccaneering entrepreneurial spirit. Apparently the UK's imperial past gives it advantages European powers cannot match.

There is no mention of the growing inequality, social unrest, political instability and environmental degradation those same neo-liberal policies are wrecking upon neo-liberal governed societies.

Joseph de Weck, writing in Euractiv has a different take on the UK's Brexiteer economic strategy:

As foreign secretary, Boris Johnson bragged to EU diplomats about his plans for reviving “buccaneering Britain”, that romantic vision harking back to the gold-hunting days of Henry Morgan and his raids on Spanish outposts in the Americas.

While France mustn’t worry about 21st century pirates streaming across the channel, Johnson is thinking about a more subtle kind of free-booting: He wants to chip at the EU economy by turning the UK into a global business hub with ultra-low taxation and light-touch regulation.

London embarking on a Switzerland-style policy can’t please Brussels. German Chancellor Angela Merkel warns that the UK will become “an economic competitor on our doorstep”. Paris insists any future free-trade agreement has to ensure a regulatory playing-field.

But Europeans should relax. Switzerland’s business model is not all it’s cracked up to be. And the UK is too big to effectively pursue so-called “arbitrage” policies.

Basically Joseph de Weck argues that the UK will be 10 years too late coming to the neo-liberal party, because political globalisation is catching up with economic globalisation, and countries like Switzerland have lost much of their independent freedom of action in regulating their economic affairs.

Since the 2008 financial crash, he argues, most economic regulation is now being done at a global level, tax havens and countries engaging in regulatory arbitrage are under increasing pressure, and major global corporates actually prefer common global regulations to the complexities of dealing with different regimes in different markets. (In my own direct experience, Diageo doesn't bother trying to sell into many US states because of the complexities of alcohol regulations varying from county to county).

Furthermore, he argues:

It is no coincidence that countries practising arbitrage strategies are relatively small.

First, big countries can’t win tax wars. The rationale for lowering corporate tax rates is that the loss in revenue from existing companies will be compensated by incoming firms. This bet however only works for small countries. The loss in revenue is small compared to the large pool of global companies you can attract.

Finally, he argues, the Brexit debacle has amply illustrated that the UK also lacks the political stability, decision making efficiency, and regional and social cohesion to successfully engage in regulatory arbitrage strategies: Those who stand to gain most are already doing well within the EU, most Leave voters in declining northern industrial towns and cities stand to gain nothing.

Singapore and Switzerland don't have those problems. Joseph de Weck might also have mentioned that one of the UK's main competitor for FDI will be low corporate tax rate Ireland with similar linguistic and legal systems and access to a much larger market. Why on earth would global corporates locate the bulk of their assets in the UK if they want to access the European market?

So basically Boris Johnson is pursuing an economic strategy others are in a much better position to execute, and one which is becoming increasingly anachronistic since the 2008 crisis. Even Ireland accepts the inevitability of global corporate tax reform, and large global corporates want access to big markets and don't mind paying a regulatory price provided there is a level playing field for all.

But Johnson's strategy also begs a much larger question: Why on earth would the EU allow the UK unfettered access to its market when the UK cannot offer a similar sized market of its own? 80% of the UK economy is made up of services providing EU competitors with only limited opportunities to compete. If the EU needs to make up a revenue shortfall arising from the loss of the UK's net contribution to the EU budget, why would it not slap a tariff on UK exports to the EU?

Once the UK is no longer represented in the EU Council and Parliament, it will have no effective means of articulating its interests into EU policy debates. Its diplomats may try to influence EU capitals, but many trade competencies are already pooled at EU level where every member, ultimately, has a veto. Any divergences between the EU and UK will be highlighted, and serve as reasons why a level playing field for trade is not possible.

As nationalistic rhetoric takes centre stage in both London and European capitals, the likelihood is for greater estrangement rather than collaboration. In vain, a small country like Ireland, with a historical foot in both camps will try to mediate the disputes that arise, but even here there will be a conflict of interest. Northern Ireland could be a net beneficiary of that estrangement, as companies set up there in order to maintain access to both markets.

No doubt Johnson won't stick around to witness the effects of his own handiwork. Win or lose the next election, it is likely to be his last. Trump has, at most, one term to go. Economic competition has led to much of the growth of capitalism, but it has also empowered the already powerful and further relatively impoverished the weak.

What worked in the 20th. Century won't necessarily work in the 21st. Singapore-on-Thames may work for the denizens of the City's square mile, but it will hardly work for the rest of the UK. The UK and the EU elites may go to economic war to shore up their positions, but there will also be many losers. Those who voted Leave in the UK might well find that it is better to have the EU on your side than against you. And those who vote for Boris now in order to "get Brexit done" may well find that it is they who are about to get done.

Display:
Alrighty then. poetic justice.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Nov 20th, 2019 at 10:58:25 PM EST
EU-Singapore trade agreement enters into force, 20 Nov
Fun Fact: With legendary "totalitarian" sanctions against chewing gum comes €53 billion in goods, €51 billion in services, and over 10,000 EU companies established since 2014.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Nov 23rd, 2019 at 03:57:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Friends who have lived there refer to it as a very fine city. One turned the wrong way into a one way street, realized their mistake and did a U-turn whereupon they were accosted by a police officer to whom they expressed their apologies but also their frustration at poor signage.

They were fined once, for going down a one way street the wrong way, once, for performing an illegal U-turn, and once for being disrespectful to a police officer...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Nov 23rd, 2019 at 12:12:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have never understood the utter outrage with which people respond to the chewing gum thing. A non-essential triviality was banned in the name of public cleanliness. I understand that not everybody may agree with the government drawing such a hard line in favor of the public good over private freedom, but the sort of disbelieving and contemptuous outrage that I often hear is just incomprehensible.

Given the sort of adjustments that we ought to be making to the relentless tide of plastic pollution poisoning the oceans, and carbon pollution destroying the climate, this sort of regulation seems not only reasonable, but necessary.

by Zwackus on Sun Nov 24th, 2019 at 01:28:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it is probably akin to the "straight bananas" anti-EU myth which became a metaphor for bureaucratic red tape gone mad whether true or not. Libertarians like to refer to the "nanny state" and effect not to see how their "freedoms" are at the expense of others or of the public good - indeed often intended to subjugate the freedom of others.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Nov 24th, 2019 at 01:03:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A square of cloth among other trivial pursuits which pre-occupy freedom fighters who do not have passports and have never visited a country where English is not the official language.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Nov 24th, 2019 at 03:31:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Birmingham Star City: 13-year-old girl among arrests after `machete' brawl during Frozen 2 viewing

Hardly the stuff of OPPRESSION in North Korea or Singapore.


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Nov 24th, 2019 at 04:58:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is odd, true. As if people would miss lumps of gum on the pavement.
Less commentary about its draconian control of press and media, nothing to see there.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Dec 4th, 2019 at 09:20:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Brexit sets up a very dangerous dynamic whereby both the UK and the EU have a vested interest in securing their own stability by seeing the other fail. This is the stuff that wars are incubated in, even if, on this occasion, it leads to no more than an economic war."

Very dark scenario I can't agree with. The economic welfare of the UK and the EU is very much interdependent. Do not underestimate how the UK and EU are entangled through cooperation on intelligence, military through NATO under leadership of the US [:(] and strong ties through trade.

So much depends on the outcome of the election, but I see the Tories still aim for a hard Brexit with no-deal. When that would be the case, both the US and UK will be tough competitors for the EU bloc of nations. The EU most likely will be forced to look eastward to Asia and perhaps even warm their ties with Russia.

Let's see what happens with Macron's comment NATO is "brain-dead". As the US is the head of NATO, I can see the reflection of the CiC sitting in the White House as the target of Macron's statement.

Let's hope the economic power of the EU will go forward on Green policy goals and modernization of renewable energy, logistics and infrastructure. A lot to be gained without the ballast of the US and UK on measures to combat climate change.

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Thu Nov 21st, 2019 at 12:39:24 AM EST
Bill Clinton famously had a sign in his Little Rock campaign headquarters saying "it's the economy, stupid". But if Brexit has taught us anything, there is enough stupidity out there to make large numbers of people make decisions against their own financial and economic self interests.

It may not be in the economic interest of the EU and UK to be at loggerheads, but it may be in the political interest of their elites to maintain that impasse to ensure the political stability of their respective unions - and their position of leadership within them).

Why else has the UK elite been ranting at the EU for the past 40 years, blaming it for all manner of ills that have much more to do with UK government policies and actions than the EU?

Expect a future, perhaps more insecure, EU leadership to blame the UK for all manner of shortcomings in their own leadership and performance. Brexit has been a godsend distraction for the the elites on both sides, distracting from austerity, inequality, and incompetence all round.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 21st, 2019 at 10:47:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
These days domestic politics BEGINS at the border.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Nov 23rd, 2019 at 04:59:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brexit talks: the brutal reckoning that awaits the UK
Many EU member states are calling for a very hard line with the UK in talks on future relationship
But as politicians spar over who is best placed to lead Britain out of its Brexit quagmire, top officials in Brussels believe the UK population faces a brutal reckoning for which it is ill-prepared. EU officials have been preparing for negotiations with the UK on the post-Brexit relationship for more than two years, and behind the scenes many member states are urging them to take a very hard line indeed.

"What is going to come is going to be much more challenging and demanding than what we have seen up to now," says one senior EU diplomat. "I would not wish negotiating a trade deal with the EU on anybody. It's the worst thing that can happen to you, especially if your administration doesn't have any experience negotiating trade issues."

---<snip>---

Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, has already made clear Brussels will be guided in the talks by a simple principle: the further the UK aims to diverge from EU rules in Mr Johnson's avowed quest to boost the country's economic competitiveness, the more restricted Britain's access to the single market will be.

The EU argues it is being asked to grant Britain market access on goods going beyond any other trade deal the bloc has with a major economy, creating a clear risk of unfair competition for Europe's companies. Such access will come at the price of sticking closely to EU law on workers rights, environmental standards, state aid and other rules.

Britain, by contrast, argues a free-trade deal is a fundamentally looser economic relationship than membership of the EU's single market and customs union, and that it would be hypocritical for Brussels to demand far more alignment than it has done in negotiations with other countries. Dominic Raab, the UK's foreign secretary, said on Sunday that the country is "not going to align ourselves to EU rules".

Some of the countries that have been most adamant about the need for a regulatory level playing field are those, such as the Netherlands and Denmark, that are bastions of the cause of free trade and close allies of the UK. "Britain's allies will themselves be subject to their own internal lobbies," says Peter Guilford, a former EU trade official. "They will not be on Britain's side."



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 21st, 2019 at 11:33:03 AM EST
I think you're making the same fundamental historical error of scale that the UK pundits are making - probably a side effect of the massive Irish over-exposure to UK media.

The UK and the EU are not peers.

While I expect Johnson's UK (if that's what we get) to be an English nationalist enemy of the EU and any other not-properly-white countries the UK won't be more than an annoyance to the EU (more than that for IE, until we finish routing around them).

England and its Empire was once a peer to the rest of Europe, but that Empire is long gone and Brexit makes it likely the last fragments will break away.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 21st, 2019 at 11:37:22 AM EST
I don't for a moment regard the UK and EU as peers, but that is how UK Brexiteers would like to see the relationship. And that is their fundamental error in appraising their relative negotiating strengths, and why I have been expecting a hard Brexit from day 1. Their expectations of reciprocity and equal treatment cannot be  achieved as a third party - and that has been the brutal reality since the negotiations began - and it will only get worse from here - see article quoted above...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 21st, 2019 at 11:46:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Everything you always wanted to know about infringement procedures - but were afraid to ask
Summary: It's pretty darn difficult to fall afoul of "community law" into the EU gov penalties. Consequently, UK free-riders have taken punishment into their own hands by invoking natural laws of swift and brutal retaliation.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Nov 23rd, 2019 at 04:30:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
that is their fundamental error in appraising their relative negotiating strengths

Imperial hangover is a bitch.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Dec 4th, 2019 at 09:51:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank:
...and there will be some in the EU advocating that the EU join the UK in a race to the bottom, with lean government expenditures, low taxes, de-regulation, and a buccaneering entrepreneurial spirit.

President Macron on line one.

by Bernard on Thu Nov 21st, 2019 at 08:46:53 PM EST
Finance could be the one industry to profit from Brexit because its gonna be offshore but close enough. Thats disturbing, since aspiring to be a sellout dumping place contributed to the Brexit vote in the first place.

And far from denying the contributions of the Anglosphere but they have driven democracy&capitalism (a winning combination one might think) off the cliff. Being a Southern American inequality state is nothing to aspire to - look whats currently happening there.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Thu Nov 21st, 2019 at 09:55:03 PM EST
What do believe is "currently" happening in "Southern American" states?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Nov 21st, 2019 at 10:00:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I meant to say South American. Chile, Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil etc. The Anglosphere used to pride itself on 'not being Banana republics'. Now their own political stability is fraying.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Thu Nov 21st, 2019 at 10:47:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
is generally considered a part of the continent of North America. The region was a significant producer and exporter of bananas for most of the 20th century.

producers, as distinct from exporters such as Belgium.

The seven nation-states that comprise this area of "Latin America" owe historical and current "political instability" to European colonization, foreign charters policed by "strong men", and subsequent military intervention by US fed gov agents in their sovereign governments. How this history is analogous to trade relations between the UK and EU I couldn't say.

History Of Central America And The Caribbean - Animated Map

Here are only two trivial articles establishing the pejorative expression "banana republic" in US American pulp fiction and foreign policy of "regime change" in Central American states up to 1991, ie. excluding pernicious details up to the present. It is interesting to note, however, unstated relations between British, European, and the US American companies which ultimately transformed a SE Asian delicacy by the end of the 19th century into a trash crop.

How history of "political instability" across another other continent, South America, is analogous to trade relations or forthcoming hostilities between the UK and EU I couldn't say.
The History of South America- Animated Map

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 22nd, 2019 at 01:34:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sidelight on bananas...

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing, nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Fri Nov 22nd, 2019 at 07:54:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 22nd, 2019 at 02:51:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From john_evans link the threat to bananas from "Panama Disease".

Not so long ago the Western world was briefly awakened by revelation [source?] of corruption through the "Panama Papers". To my knowledge the expression "Banana Republic" refers to endemic corruption, not fruits. The hand of Uncle Sam ... 😎

It's clear money and fluent wealth [capital] corrups. U.S. Congress and unlimited dollars in political campaign is a major cause of corruption. Under presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush and today's Donald Trump the genie has come out if the bottle. There are many examples where democracy "in name only" had been replaced by authoritarian and dictatorial regimes. A Boris Johnson and his gang of Conservatives wanting to emulatie Trump and his gangsters from the business world. Running executive foreign policy as a mobster of New York, where his roots lie.

Diplomacy, compromise and negotiations have been replaced by bullying, dictat and bribery. To extend American legal reach across the globe is a concern for all citizens where NSA and GCHQ have reached a level far beyond the imagination of 1984 and Big Brother. Human intelligence has been replaced by dumb a$$es and soon by AI and robots. Machines may survive as Human kind perishes.

The 20th century scourge of Communism has been replaced ... living in a new phenomina of inequality and hopelessness for too many.

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Fri Nov 22nd, 2019 at 09:35:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
of what--European "foreign direct investment" in Central and South American real estate since 1450? Or European and US "foreign direct investment" in Central and South American sovereignty since 1450? Or "political stability" among Central and South American peoples which has not occurred?

You didn't read the background posted nor did you solve the riddle, How history of "political instability" across Central or South America is analogous to trade relations or forthcoming hostilities between the UK and EU--the thesis of the principal post.

Why is that?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 22nd, 2019 at 01:03:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because the term "banana republic" in popular (imperialist) European discourse refers not to the production or trade in bananas but is instead a metaphor for political corruption, instability, and incompetence which Europeans like to associated with certain Latin American dictatorships (ignoring their historic responsibility for causing it) and using it as an insult to hurl at political opponents.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 22nd, 2019 at 03:02:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not a fan of neologism. I might have mentioned.

History of the potato is a wonderful illustration of how "Europeans like to associate[] with certain Latin American dictatorships" rather than their own.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 22nd, 2019 at 04:57:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wiki
In 1901, the American author O. Henry coined the term to describe Honduras and neighbouring countries under economic exploitation by U.S. corporations, such as the United Fruit Company...

So it is a rather old neologism...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 22nd, 2019 at 05:11:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Previously posted references in this thread to US trade history with CENTRAL AMERICA. I surmise, you didn't read any.

O. Henry, momentarily Twain's contemporary, was a prolific US American writer of short stories--akin to homely parables--typically published in periodicals, magazines. "The Gift of the Magi" easily is the most well-worn title printed to elementary school syllabuses. The book Cabbages and Kings (1904) is a satirical reproduction of manifest destiny immediately concluding the Spanish American War (neologism: Philippine-American War). One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) is a similar study of imperial factors (read: UK-English agents).

"Banana republic" is not a neologism. That phrase literally is but one among hundreds of descriptive fragments in the narration of an American company's governance of its "estate". I don't expect that you'll read it.

...Bernard Brannigan was the great merchant of Coralio. Besides his store, he maintained a train of pack mules, and carried on a lively trade with the interior towns and villages. He had married a native lady of high Castilian descent, but with a tinge of Indian brown showing through her olive cheek. The union of the Irish and the Spanish had produced, as it so often has, an offshoot of rare beauty and variety. They were very excellent people indeed, and the upper story of their house was ready to be placed at the service of Geddie and Paula as soon as he should make up his mind to speak about it.

By the time two hours were whiled away the consul tired of reading. The papers lay scattered about him on the gallery. Reclining there, he gazed dreamily out upon an Eden. A clump of banana plants interposed their broad shields between him and the sun. The gentle slope from the consulate to the sea was covered with the dark-green foliage of lemon-trees and orange-trees just bursting into bloom. A lagoon pierced the land like a dark, jagged crystal, and above it a pale ceiba-tree rose almost to the clouds. The waving cocoanut palms on the beach flared their decorative green leaves against the slate of an almost quiescent sea. His senses were cognizant of brilliant scarlets and ochres amid the vert of the coppice, of odours of fruit and bloom and the smoke from Chanca's clay oven under the calabash-tree; of the treble laughter of the native women in their huts, the song of the robin, the salt taste of the breeze, the diminuendo of the faint surf running along the shore--and, gradually, of a white speck, growing to a blur, that intruded itself upon the drab prospect of the sea....



Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Nov 22nd, 2019 at 06:35:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I hope Macron's remarks do not lead to repair work in NATO HQ....

is the more pertinent and interesting comment with respect to the thesis of the principal post.

WHEREAS 600 years of "shared history" in "foreign policy" dedicated to "foreign direct investment" in violently subjugated economic resources, plantation for commodification of same, and "financialization" of public and private "growth";

WHEREAS such mutually beneficial enterprise continues to rationalize both lucrative and menial jobs saved or created in complementary industries for citizens of the "Allied" nations;

WHEREAS organizational transformation is difficult to predict and so-called neoliberal advocates for international trade are reluctant to divest ownership interests in "developing" countries, the replacement value vested in PESCO is as yet manifest;

an eruption of armed hostilities between UK and EU governments over either a bi-lateral trade agreement or comparable balances of trade with so-called Third World governments is improbable. Coordination of maintenance of effort in their "shared history" is nearly as certain as the rising tide.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 22nd, 2019 at 04:23:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps it is because Ireland is not a NATO member, or  perhaps it is because of Trump's disinterest in NATO, but I remain sceptical about the degree to which the UK can leverage a shared NATO membership to achieve more favourable terms of trade with the EU.

An EU/Russia economic détente seems a more likely outcome of Brexit.

Certainly some intelligence, anti-terrorism and crime fighting cooperation will persist, but will non-NATO EU members be prepared to make trade concessions (over, say, fisheries) to bolster intra-NATO collaboration which should be happening independently of the EU in any case?

The EU was founded to contain geo-political rivalries between the major European powers. NATO will (probably) continue to perform a similar function. But I doubt that the UK's stepping outside of the EU's cooperation umbrella will be rewarded by more favourable trade terms.

A threat by the US/UK to exit NATO might be the only way to revive that "brain dead" organisation...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 22nd, 2019 at 05:05:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A threat by the US/UK to exit NATO

How about a referendum? Boris?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Nov 22nd, 2019 at 05:08:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's why Labour will kick-start a Green Industrial Revolution that will create one million jobs in the UK to transform our industry, energy, transport, agriculture and our buildings, while restoring nature. Our Green New Deal aims to achieve the substantial majority of our emissions reductions by 2030 in a way that is evidence-based, just and that delivers an economy that serves the interests of the many, not the few.  

Just as the original Industrial Revolution brought industry, jobs and pride to our town ... [Labour Manifesto 2019: 12]

Given your understanding of events, capital requirements, and "geo-political rivalry" which predicated "the original Industrial Revolution" of Europe, is the proposition feasible, delusional, or a demonstration of "magical realism"?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 22nd, 2019 at 06:51:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought the original Industrial Revolution brought poverty to the skilled workers (hence the Luddites) while the jobs and pride came a century or more later. But the Manifesto is addressed to people who think that Brexit will bring back control, so in that context it may make sense.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Nov 22nd, 2019 at 07:24:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also: is there anything in the Labour "Green New Deal" which requires the UK first to leave the EU?

Environmental policies are not constrained by EU membership.

VdL is also harping about a Green New Deal for Europe.

by Bernard on Fri Nov 22nd, 2019 at 07:58:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. Promise to execute a legally-binding referendum remain or leave result.... qualified with column-inches of dodgy NEW! Withdrawal Agreement negotiation.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Nov 22nd, 2019 at 08:51:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You may be thinking of the LOW-skilled workers rather than the MIDDLE-skilled workers and HIGH-skilled workers who took management posts at company trading posts, administrative offices, and plantations from, oh, 1640 until the wars of independence in the colonies after WWII.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Nov 22nd, 2019 at 09:00:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Prior to the GLORIOUS REVOLUTION and "boreal crown", England's economic growth and sub-division of industry into wage dependency blossomed with supply of diverse raw materials from continental entrepreneurs, chiefly Dutch circum-navigators.

I might have mentioned 9. "Commodity" and "Commonweal": Economic and Social Problems, 1520-1560, because the entire semester is such a droll yarn. Crown joint stock charters show up ~6 min before the end of that lecture.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 22nd, 2019 at 09:24:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We are speaking in broad generalities here but my impression of preferment in the British colonial service and trading companies was not that promotion was based on skill, but rather was more about coming from the "right families", being made of "the right stuff", going to the right schools, and having a good wartime record as an officer.

Members of the "working classes", however skilled, rarely made it to the officer ranks in the military, or management offices in the civil and commercial sectors. This might have been partly due to the disparity in the levels of education available to the working and middle classes, but mainly it was just about social class.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 22nd, 2019 at 10:45:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Nov 23rd, 2019 at 04:09:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Several centuries of British rule of Ireland led by incompetent toffs and with the working classes doing the dirty work as foot soldiers and Black and Tans?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Nov 23rd, 2019 at 12:03:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
m'k. How about the Irish Times?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Nov 23rd, 2019 at 07:56:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Members of the "working classes", however skilled, rarely made it to the officer ranks in the military, or management offices in the civil and commercial sectors.

It seems that in the Royal Navy they did have a problem of 'gentlemen and tarpaulins', where men coming from the commercial fleet ('tarpaulins', usually pressed to service during war) were better seamen and commanders than those of proper birth.

It was considered an obsolete problem by the early 18th century, when commissions required a proof of skill and a service in a lower rank. So, even if you were a gentleman, you had to join the Royal Navy as a young boy - a midshipman - and process trough the ranks. Provided you had the ability for sea and a patronage of an elder officer, who put your name forward at the right time.

Patronage would, of course, allow people to prefer relatives and peers, but since in the higher ranks career progress depended also on the whims of the Whitehall, people tried to bet on those most likely to progress into the level where they could return the support and loyalty.

Therefore, one of the tasks of a ship's captain was to make sure that the young officers learned to behave like gentlemen regardless of their background. They might end up as vice-admirals, after all.

by pelgus on Sun Nov 24th, 2019 at 12:01:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's simply a terrible way to treat HRH's subjects. What was it that the Royal navy was doing by circumnavigating the world all those centuries? I forget.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Dec 3rd, 2019 at 02:11:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is a reasonable aspiration and should make some electoral impact - which is the main purpose of a manifesto. Of course Labour may find that "the coffers are empty" if/when they reach office and have to trim their plans accordingly.

It is a political necessity for Labour to offer an alternative to Tory austerity and if they can convince the electorate of its feasibility, it could be a vote winner. Game changer, I'm not too sure.

And BTW, there is no reason why this agenda couldn't be delivered from within the EU, and every reason to suppose their might be more resources to fund it if the UK were to Remain.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 22nd, 2019 at 07:53:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For contrast, I do appreciate the energetic "audit" of UK ahh leadership in Europe's security, national diplomacy, and "internationalism."  

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Nov 22nd, 2019 at 09:05:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]

(No relation to Corbyn's "deal" (Withdrawal Agreement))


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 22nd, 2019 at 11:02:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A criticism of the Conservative Coalition government in 2010-12 was not that debt increased, but that they didn't focus on economic recovery - but prioritised deficit reduction at the wrong time. The deflationary fiscal policy proved a drag on the recovery, making it one of the slowest on record.

Debt under Conservatives 2010-19

How austerity broke Britain - and how we can recover

"Economics is not a binary concept"

Big increases in in-work relative poverty rate are about much more than just low pay | IFS |

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Fri Nov 22nd, 2019 at 09:57:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Economic recovery in The Netherlands

At the start of the crisis, government debt increased rapidly to 68 percent of the GDP in 2014. The accumulation of debt was mainly on account of state aid granted to financial institutions, falling tax revenues due to the economic downturn, and rising expenditure as a result of mounting unemployment. Recovery did follow after 2014. In 2017, government debt was in compliance with the European ceiling again (60 percent of GDP) for the first time since 2010. At the end of 2017, the Netherlands' government debt stood at 57.1 percent.

The Netherlands 10 years after Lehman Brothers

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Fri Nov 22nd, 2019 at 09:58:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The key issue leading to the economic problems faced both in the UK and the USA after 1970 was the reduction of tariffs and the loss of capital controls. With commercial elites in charge of trade policy that policy was directed for their benefit while domestic economic policy was left to suck hind titty. Blame for the resulting problems was deflected onto abandonment of the gold standard after '71.

In truth, the problem was more one of pretending that gold standard rigidities regarding monetary policy still applied. That prevented either country from enjoying the potential benefits of the new free floating FX system with respect to domestic policy. The result was forgoing possibly as much as $100 Trillion of potentially available economic activity since 1971. The fact that national policy was dominated by fossil fuel interests and the military industrial complex were the other major impediments to achieving a better future.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Nov 23rd, 2019 at 05:41:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Everybody knows the worth of their weight in gold since the London Conference of '33, quipped Hull.



Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Nov 23rd, 2019 at 08:31:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can't be done, because not enough capital?
Do you subscribe to the Kellin "crowding out" voodoo doctrine?
Are you unaware that the UK has a sovereign currency, and no written doctrine forbidding monetary creation or debt financing?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sat Nov 23rd, 2019 at 02:14:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is an entirely reasonable - and long overdue - plan.
(Aka affirmation)


'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Dec 4th, 2019 at 10:11:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Say what you like about Trump, but one thing is evident: The US of A is not going to start WW3 if Russia invades, say, Turkey. Or Romania, or probably not even Poland. NATO is a left-over from WW2 and its aftermath, and probably obsolete.
by asdf on Tue Dec 3rd, 2019 at 12:44:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WWIII is already in progress. Tactical hostilities do not resemble what you had been taught to expect.

Start again.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Dec 3rd, 2019 at 01:36:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cue US colonial debt, Emma Lazurus gazing fondly on Statue of Liberty, and 140 chars of Derida quoted, allegedly.
Trump slams Macron for `insulting' and 'disrespectful' NATO comments
up-skirts First World, "developed" nations


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Dec 3rd, 2019 at 02:19:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well I agree you are right about the different tactics of WW3. I'm not convinced it has actually started yet, though. We're still in the initial skirmishes stage. Waiting until an election has been reversed or a power grid has been disabled.
by asdf on Wed Dec 4th, 2019 at 04:36:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I understand. You live where?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Dec 4th, 2019 at 07:57:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Colorado Springs
by asdf on Thu Dec 5th, 2019 at 02:34:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Where's the war beyond the border of Colorado Springs?

S.178 -- 116th Congress (2019-2020) Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019

Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019

JCPOA

Venezuela and "Lima Group", Syria, Yemen, CAR

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Dec 7th, 2019 at 07:27:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was thinking along the lines of how the Internet enables attacks on the financial industry, for example, by remote actors.
by asdf on Sat Dec 7th, 2019 at 10:29:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"remote actors" such as US Treasury? I understand. Without telecommunication a blockade of a land-locked "adversary" would be otherwise difficult to execute.

Pentagon chief plans to shift US focus to China and Russia

Even as security threats pile up in the Middle East
[...]
He focused instead on shifting the U.S. military's focus toward China and Russia -- "today's revisionist powers." He accused Moscow and Beijing of seeking "veto power" over the economic and security decisions of ["]smaller["] nations. ... He said he has been studying the force and resource requirements for every area of the globe to determine how to rebalance those resources.


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 at 01:17:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the 1990s indeed NATO became obsolete. The attacks of 9/11 changed all that ... we're fighting global terror ever since. Return on investment is excellent ... terror deaths ever since has skyrocketed! Change the narratieve and all true followers of the "independent" media will carry the message. The relic of NATO is new born and going strong ... the old Soviet States of East Europe are a blessing with little disguise ... Rumfeld's New Europe.

Destroy NATO and nuclear weapons to invest in staving Our Planet Earth. 🌹

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Tue Dec 3rd, 2019 at 04:40:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germans in favor of reducing reliance on USA

At start of NATO Conference in London, Trump lashes out at Macron for "brain-dead" remark. Felt personally insulted ...  

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Tue Dec 3rd, 2019 at 05:43:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Johnson takes Trump at his word on NHS and trade deal 😇

Oh dear, I wasn't joking about my friend Donald ...

"No. That's complete nonsense. I don't know where that comes from."  

Boris - Mayor -  Brexit - Arron Banks - Funding - Cambridge Analytica - Steve Bannon - NHS - UKIP - Farage - Trump - a believer in truth - Pravda - Big Brother propaganda

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Wed Dec 4th, 2019 at 04:07:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Fri Dec 6th, 2019 at 08:02:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For the NATO reception, the dress code was cocktail attire ...

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Dec 3rd, 2019 at 07:29:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
First Lady of the US wins the high heel shoes contest. But the "handshake" with Macron is going to cause some trouble.
by asdf on Wed Dec 4th, 2019 at 04:38:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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