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August 13, 2019



Really, after 40 years can this all still be put down to thinking wrongly. Isn't this stuff well known. And 'sovereignty' might allow the deal making, but it won't be dictating the terms of any (potentially dark and devious) international dispute resolution process, that's for sure.

Mr Art

To compare Britain against only Germany is disingenuous. Germany is a well known outlier on per capita exports.

That doesn't contradict your arguements for improving Britain's export strength of course.


Remain say that we'll lose exports/trade/jobs due to leaving a trade deal' with the eu. I'm sure Chris has said this himself (?).

In this context, surely trade deals elsewhere can help make up for *some* of that loss?

So, as Chris says, trade deals haven't/won't massively change our economy, but they do make some difference.


What would the right national environment for exports look like?

Lowish housing costs, stable families, reasonable education, reasonable transport to the workplace and of course job opportunities. A healthy mix of manufacture and services and finance. Otherwise we are priced out of the market or cannot meet the market or cannot get to work or don't have any work or are stuffed when the world changes.

Then we look at aspirations. What do our middle classes aspire to work at and what do our working classes aspire to work at. For most I suspect chance and what is available are the main drivers. But our 'nice' jobs, medicine, law, academe, government, science and engineering all have problems. Training for medicine is restricted by government funding, law seems overcrowded but good for a few, academe is a poor second pay wise, government is not much of an export driver. Science and engineering jobs are highly regional, getting housing and temporary accommodation nearby and transport to work is a problem and the pay is not that great.

We seem to have been without any sort of strategy for a long time. Indeed I suspect a 'sod The North' attitude has been prevalent coupled with the idea finance will cover the gap, so do nothing else. We now face Brexit and a need to export, but 'you can't fatten a pig on market day', so we look to face some lean times. Whether Boris et al can or will come up with a sane plan to fatten the British industrial pig is still up for discussion. I doubt it.

Underlying all this is the UK class system and the sense that no sensible person like us would sully their hands with business or industry. Why, we would consult, or advise or sit on a committee alongside people like us. We would of course live in a leafy suburb or the Cotswolds, we would block anything so vulgar as housing or a business park or an airport or road.

I cannot help but think the attitude of the Britain Unchained mob is 'pull up the ladder Jack, I'm all right'. Meanwhile you lot can enjoy the only strategy we have - a race to the bottom.


The exemplar of the USA's trade relationship with China should be viewed as a horror show for a nascent "free Britain". Britain is economically less powerful and have to cope with a predatory US leadership. PM Johnson would be powerless in demands from Trump to change this-or-that, on his whim.

Martin Rawson neatly summed up Brexit as a "Heist" - what more can be said about the purposes of the political economy.


Germany is an economy that is the antithesis of Britain's. It is poorly understood by US and UK economists, and US/UK educated German neo-classical ones. Particularly its collective bargaining system. According to neo-classical theory this shouldn't work.

Some of the remarks of Wren Lewis and Krugman, for example, show incredible ignorance. They concentrate on its monetary policy, which they say is neo-liberal. But again, they just look at their models and don't really try to understand it.

But the German economy is a model of the future. We want broad democratic participation in economic decision making. People must feel they have a stake in economic decisions. The Lander Financial System and cooperative industrial relations systems are a good start. But don't clutter it with neo-classical theory.


This argument doesn't strengthen the remainer position much: if trade deals aren't that important why the fuss about leaving the EU - isn't EU membership just a big free trade deal?

The Rage

Ted, your point is dead as well. Trade deals do not matter outside bourgeois capital expansion. Financial collapse and contraction of debt is all that's left.


«if trade deals aren't that important why the fuss about leaving the EU - isn't EU membership just a big free trade deal?»

Indeed Project Fear (whether of leaving or remaining) is bullsh*t, and being in or out does not *currently* matter that much in the aggregate, either politically or economically, because the political powers and economic impact of the EU are quite small: after all the EU manages only 1% of GDP directly and has very small delegated powers, mostly exercised through the EU Council, which is made of government heads and ministers.

But by the same argument leaving is hardly worth it too, and the economic and political advantages of remaining are greater than those of leaving even if *currently* the margin is relatively small.

But the EU is a strategic political project more than a trade project, and while it is in very slow development, the goal is to give more influence and thus more sovereignty and independence to the *peoples* of Europe though closer union of those *peoples*; political sovereignty and independence comes also through size, and as Churchill said in 1944 "When I was at Teheran I realized for the first time what a very small country this is".

That's the big deal, and what the EU is *currently* is not what matters as to deciding to Leave or Remain.


«In this context, surely trade deals elsewhere can help make up for *some* of that loss?»

Certainly so, but in pretty small measure, as outside the EU the big economies are all protectionist or anyhow export oriented, and quite far geographically, which is costly.

The key to “help make up for *some* of that loss” won't be the trade deals as such, WTO terms are indeed pretty decent already, but will be, as "Britannia Unchained" argues, much more competitive english labour costs.

Outside the EU english workers in order to compete in the big worldwide market will become cheaper than many chinese, indian, vietnames, etc. workers, something that will greatly boost the incomes and living standards of those employing them in England.

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