Saturday, June 25, 2016

Federation of Planets hits a setback

Cameron should've found out what was said in the speech.

I used to be a fervent supporter of limited, democratic international government, and I remain a much more jaded supporter of same. We'll get there in a century or so barring the Singularity, but we just hit a snag with Brexit.

William's got a good post on it, as does most anyone with a brain outside of Britain and nearly half the people inside it. I'll add to his points that the situation reminds me a little of the runup to the Iraq War, where the entire rest of the world said "WTF?" to us Americans (partly excepting the Brits) and that made virtually no difference to our politics. 

I also agree with him that immediate economic repercussions will likely be somewhat limited. Regardless, we'll need a few more days to see what the short-term impact will really be. Medium-term it depends on what the Leave campaigners and the EU seem to be aiming at - if it's a Norway-style, you obey all the rules but have no control and that somehow feels good outcome, then the economic impact could stay limited. If they want to take actual economic control of their borders, then they're in for serious problems.

Mostly in agreement with William about the stupidity of EU leaders threatening to punish Britain. I think they're not taking the long-term view - if the election had been held ten years from now, the Remain side would've won - and maybe it will, if you don't go out of your way to alienate them. (My idle speculation, btw, is that Cameron is stalling to October in case the economy or something else gives him a chance for a redo election.) Where I'd disagree somewhat is that EU's primary job during the split is to look out for their side. They shouldn't go out of their way to punish Britain, but protecting Britain's interest is the task of the British negotiators. 

Interesting article here on Greenland's exit from the EU thirty years ago - it took them 3 years of contentious negotiations to get this island of 60k people out, and now some people there want back in. Have fun, everybody.

Finally, various people like Kevin Drum have said stop blaming the economy, that there's an obvious xenophobic and racist component in significant parts of the support for both Brexit and Trump. That just sends us to the next question though - why are they happening now. In America at least, I doubt our racism is stronger now, certainly not stronger than 20 years ago. So there is more to it - maybe just an accident of political conditions, or maybe something more is happening.


Wolfgang said...

>> why are they happening now
My best guess: the internet.
No twitter, no Trump.

Victor Venema said...

I do not expect EU will try to punish UK. The evidence Stoat offers is thin. The EU will not make the relationship more comfy than any other one and UKIP will certainly claim they are being punished, but I would be surprised if the EU would do so. A prosperous UK is good for the EU and good neighborly relationships as well.

Kevin O'Neill said...

Nationalist sentiments historically rise during times of economic discontent. It's in our tribal natures. The most depressing thing I've read on Brexit's implications are from Larry Summers:

"The political challenge in many countries going forward is to develop a “responsible nationalism”. It is clear that there is a hunger on the part of electorates, if not the Davos set within countries, for approaches to policy that privilege local interests and local people over more cosmopolitan concerns. Channeling this hunger constructively rather than destructively is the challenge for the next decade. We now know that neither denying the hunger, or explaining that it is based on fallacy is a viable strategy."

Progress is, unfortunately, not a straight line forward. And this is definitely a step in the wrong direction and will likely take a generation to correct. The incremental losses may not even be discernible to Britons on a year-over-year basis. But twenty years from now they'll look around and regret this decision.

Catmando said...

Uranus still has to tell Jupiter and the other planets of its intention to leave the federation of solar orbiting bodies. The supreme leader of Uranus, Dave, has decided that he will leave the task to former mate Boris. In the meantime, the leader of Titania has hinted that she may seek a referendum herself to become independent of Uranus and remain in the Federation.

The leadership of the campaign to leave the federation, formally known as Blakes 7, have been busily saying that actually any money saved might not be spent on health care or schools but might be spent in their pensions, and no we never actually said that we would stop people coming here from Neptune as economic migrants to pick food or clean our toilets, and that refugees from Pluto would still be welcome although they'd be mad to come to Uranus as they would just get abused by the 52% of local Uranians who would throw rocks at them.

I think that sums up the whole sorry mess as it stands. Those who voted to stay are signing a pointless petition asking for a second go. Those who voted to leave are starting to realise that they have made a huge cock up and that actually the chances of towing Uranus out of the gravitational pull of the federation is not going to happen. If this was how they wanted to make Uranus great again, they surely failed.

Anonymous said...

There is hope for a non-nasty stance:

“It should not take ages, but I don’t think there’s any reason to fight now, pushing for a short time period” before talks begin, she told journalists, adding that the vote is “not a reason to be in some way nasty in the negotiations.”

Merkel also underscored that even from outside the EU, “Great Britain will remain a close partner with close economic ties to us.”

Anonymous said...

Anyone who expects Britain to emerge from this with favorable terms has not been paying attention. If the EU were in a strong position, that might be possible, but a weak EU now faces an existential threat. It has no choice but to inflict sufficient pain on Britain that the Danes, Dutch, hell, even the Italians, think twice about voting to leave.

The only question is which will harm the UK more--Brexit or having Boris Johnson a PM.

Rob Smith said...

FWIW the referendum is not legally binding, Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is the thing to watch . It has not been invoked as a result of the vote
This referendum was a proxy on Camerons leadership, hes paid with his job.

Tom Gray said...

To me, seems directly connected w/ massive influx of refugees to EU and fears of what that means with "open borders." There have already been tensions in UK over terror attacks, Muslims, Poles taking "British" jobs, etc., and everything has just gotten amped way up in the past year. MHO.

E. Swanson said...

One of the main issues in the Brexit vote, (as well as the rise of the Trump), has been immigration. Most of the commentary I've seen has tended to downplay or ignore the basic problem, (HERE's ONE). By that I mean population growth, as experienced locally as immigration into their nation by peoples from other areas.

Britain is an island nation and, as such, the British are likely to be much more sensitive to the "Limits to Growth" problem, given their history. The British expansion with emigration to their colonies, as well as the the Irish Famine and resulting emigration of millions, probably left behind the sense that population can not be allowed to expand beyond the resources available to support it. Britain recently enjoyed an economic boost from their share of North Sea oil and gas production, but those days appear to be over. The article linked above claims that increasing population thru immigration will result in increased economic growth, but does not necessarily translate into improvement for the peoples already living in Britain (or the USA), not to mention the cultural differences between the old and the new.

The argument often put forth for globalization is that spreading the wealth around more equitably, thus raising the standard of living of the poorer half of humanity, is a worthy goal and allowing migration from poor nations to rich will be a net benefit. There are several obvious problems with that, which the "progressives" tend to gloss over. First off, as people gain more wealth, they tend to consume more energy. Indeed, one argument often made is that the poorest peoples tend to use local fuels for cooking, which has a direct impact on their health. I'm half way thru reading Robert Bryce ((2010) Power Hungry where he recommends providing fossil fuel (LPG) cook stoves for poor Africans to destroy the local charcoal economy in the Congo, in order to save the endangered gorillas habitat. His overall take is that there's no way that the developing nations will curtail their fossil fueled emissions of CO2 and that any attempts to do so by developed nations will be overwhelmed by the poor masses of humanity who now use/emit very little on a per capita basis. Such complaints are basically correct if one takes Bryce's numbers at face value. Our favorites from the denialist camp, Spencer and Christy, Lundborg and others, have made similar comments, indeed, I found Bryce thru reading the recent Cornwall Alliance statement on Climate Change.

That the "progressives" appear unable to face increasing population as an ultimate existential threat only makes it more difficult to solve the problem. In the US, about half our population growth is the result of immigration and our history as a nation of immigrants ad a nation which respects an individual's rights of expression and religion has made it very difficult to speak of limiting population growth as a national priority. Ultimately, like Britain, the Earth is an "Island in Space" and we must somehow learn to think accordingly, else we are condemned suffer the consequences.

david lewis said...

In 2004 when the EU accepted ten new countries, the Guardian published:

"Today 10 countries join the European Union. That is the easy bit. The problems start here. Forget the politics, although they are complex enough. Take a look at the economics: first, the mismatch between the economic strength of the established members and the new entrants. Even on the most optimistic projections, it will take a generation for the accession states to catch up with the other 15. The imbalance has sparked worries that enlargement will mean investment flowing one way in search of cheap labour and migrants moving the other way in search of better pay."

By now, Polish is officially the second language of England. Its a big change.

I don't understand all the fears about the UK "leaving" the EU. I remember when the UK applied to get in, and France had reservations.

The "leave" side didn't work out its negotiating position. If the issue really is mainly that many in England don't like the result of allowing the free movement of people from poor members of the EU into England, what could be negotiated is a free trade zone such as the North American Free Trade zone.

Canadians and Mexicans can't freely move into the US to live and work, and it doesn't seem to mean the end of the world in North America.

Kevin O'Neill said...

David writes: "By now, Polish is officially the second language of England. Its a big change. " Do you want to rewrite or rethink that? It's not true.


"Canadians and Mexicans can't freely move into the US to live and work, and it doesn't seem to mean the end of the world in North America."

A rather strange attitude if only 'the end of the world' counts as detrimental? It also ignores the fact most Canadians would view moving to the USA a step backwards. While immigrants - both legal and illegal - pour in from the less developed and/or politically unstable countries in Central America. And in the preceding comment E. Swanson points out that: "In the US, about half our population growth is the result of immigration..."

We have a very large immigrant workforce. Remove all our immigrants? Yeah, that would make us more prosperous. Not. In fact, for many baby boomers, given our demographics, the best hope to see retirement benefits is that we have enough immigration (i.e. workers paying into SSI) to cover the outlays.

I am continuously surprised that so many people, here and around the developed world, place so much emphasis on arbitrary lines on maps and the accidental geography of where you were born. I thought the disease of nationalism was on the wane. Obviously I was wrong.

E. Swanson -- immigration does not increase the planet's population, it only shifts the geographical distribution.

E. Swanson said...

Kevin O'Neill,

Seems to me the ultimate question is: "How is a nation to address it's own procreation?" If the immigrants had not migrated to the other nation, the local conditions would reflect the higher population which would have been the result. Absent emigration, one might expect that the local impact(s) of the larger population would spur efforts to curb the rate of increase in said local population. A prime example might be the policies of the Catholic Church (Mexico) and those of Muslim faith (Pakistan, Egypt, Indonesia) against birth control and abortion. As the old biblical saying might have have it: "Let the sins of the fathers be visited on the children...maybe then the children would learn from their parents' mistakes".

Sooner or later, fossil fuels which now run our economies will become less available, after that, more of the same economics won't be possible, absent a massive shift to renewable sources. What happens then?

Bryson said...

Between the now-likely Scottish departure from the UK, difficult negotiations over the new relations between the UK and EU, the victory of the hard-line Thatcherite element of the Conservative Party over the 'wets' (themselves clearly committed to the ongoing program of keeping taxes on the rich low, unions weak and cutting benefits for the poor, but now doubtless to be outdone by a government led by Boris Johnson), and (above all) the racism and hostility to 'foreigners' that drove the vote, it's hard to see how this turns out to be a plus for Britain.

Brian said...

E Swanson, I'd agree that overpopulation is underemphasized by the left and by enviros, but it's still a hell of a lot more helped by them in contrast to the right.

I'd also argue that nations aren't morally obligated to accept more immigrants than it experiences emigration, but refugees are an exception. EU-style free movement to work may be a good idea, and probably is a good idea, but it's not a moral obligation.

Kevin O'Neill said...

Brian writes: "EU-style free movement to work may be a good idea, and probably is a good idea, but it's not a moral obligation."

Which system of morality would that be? In basic economic terms capital knows few borders and can flit around the globe thrice before labor has literally finished putting its boots on. This has always been an advantage of capital over labor that skews the system dramatically in capital's favor.

Which system of morality endorses arbitrary lines on maps as the just and determining factor in the path of one's life?

Sorry, those that want to claim that morality doesn't include *all* our fellows, just those near us, or most like us, or only a quota's worth of them isn't a moral system worth giving the name. It's a political stance masquerading as morality.

I find it remarkable that I, an atheist, have to ask: WWJD? I think you'll find the answer in the Gospel of Political Expediency.

Kevin O'Neill said...

Brian - I wrote about this subject a long time ago (2002) using the context of a Wire song: Map Ref. 41°N 93°W. My views have not changed.

Bernard J. said...

To the extent that the Brexit was motivated by fear/hatred of refugee influx, the fallout is a mere sign of things to come when, in a few more decades, the effects of climate change force an order of magnitude (and more) people from their current lands.

The world should consider the wisdom of further fueling the heating of the planet without nothing more than a limp wrist flick to mitigation because future manifestations of fire, flood, cyclones, drought and resultant movements of populations will make look like a picnic the current first steps of climate change, with the influence it's already had in fomenting the Syrian mess and indirectly the Brexit.


The video is apposite, because the pregnant question is the degree to which the working assumptions of those pushing climate change as an existential threat and central force in foreign affairs may devolve into science fiction

Stay tuned for the next exciting episode

Why doesnt the HTML tag work??

Hank Roberts said...

Does the HTML link work if you hand type, quote the URL, and close the angle brackets?

If it does, hilight it and "view source"

Hank Roberts said...

OK, that works; the blog software added a bit more than I typed though.
Does the HTML link work if you hand type, quote the URL, and close the angle brackets?

In the following substitute
# for <
$ for >

You type #a href=""$Does the HTML link work if you hand type, quote the URL, and close the angle brackets?#/a$

and the blog software adds: rel="nofollow" in the middle of that for you, which you see when you "view selection source"


Thanx =s Hank, but It's Greek to me- Where in the comment pane does one "view selection source"

This mysterious balk happens about half the time, and comes and goes randomly. with the complaint

A tag not closed or some such