BREXIT – Part 4

By William K. Black
July 4, 2016     Bloomington, MN

This is the fourth column in my seven-part series discussing the seven-barrel shotgun blast of articles that the New York Times published attacking the vote by those who favored BREXIT.  This column addresses Paul Krugman column on BREXIT.

Paul Krugman [Part 4]

Paul Krugman also wrote an attack on “populist[s].”

It seems clear that the European project – the whole effort to promote peace and growing political union through economic integration – is in deep, deep trouble. Brexit is probably just the beginning, as populist/separatist/xenophobic movements gain influence across the continent.

Krugman, sadly, was born too late to provide his expert views on the American revolution.  Under his stated “logic” (actually, pure rhetoric) he would have denounced our “separatist” movement – our Declaration of Independence.  Krugman’s great concern is about the Celts (I’m part Irish and part Scot).  He thinks BREXIT will bring to power “the worst elements in British political life” and cause great “damage” by encouraging the Scots and the Irish in Northern Ireland to become independent, perhaps in the latter case by joining the Republic of Ireland.

I am of course not an expert here, but it looks all too likely that the vote will both empower the worst elements in British political life and lead to the breakup of the UK itself.

Krugman doesn’t explain why independence for the Scots and the Irish is terrible given the experience of the U.S., Canada, the Republic of Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.  None of those countries has a populace that considers independence a mistake.  But Krugman is so sure that independence for the Scots and the Northern Irish, both of which are more likely given the sharp differences among Scotland, Northern Ireland, and England on BREXIT, would be disastrous that he doesn’t feel any need to explain why it would be disastrous.  The typical reaction to independence from the UK among the nations I have listed is that it is a superb development that should be celebrated.  The 4th of July is our great national holiday.  Krugman appears to have forgotten that what the Brits called our “worst elements” declared their independence from the Brits.


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