Monday, June 27, 2016

The Real Tragedy of Brexit

Last week, British voters voted to leave the European Union (referred to by the rather too catchy term Brexit). Since that time, the FTSE 350 (Britain's largest stock index, similar to the S&P 500) lost £140 billion of value. Britain's currency, the Pound Sterling dropped 11% against the dollar (and dropped a similar amount against every other world currency). The OECD predicts that British households will earn between £3,000 and £5,000 less per year in 2030 if Britain actually does leave the E.U. Every major organization that has examined the problem has predicted that Brexit will hurt Britain.

Namely these:

Despite that, the Britains voted to leave the E.U. The leave campaign was a mixture of scaremongering, xenophobia, misinformation, and flat lies. But I'm not going to talk about that. Jon Oliver does it better:

But the financial costs aren't the true tragedy of Brexit.

Now, the Scots are planning a new referendum on leaving the United Kingdom. Likewise, the Northern Irish will have theirs. Of course, this all makes sense, the Scots and the Irish voted overwhelmingly to remain in the E.U. They'll choose to leave Britain and rejoin the E.U. Strangely, the Welsh, who voted to leave the E.U., are now planning to have a referendum to leave Britain. Secession is contagious. Subdivisions continue.

Brexit will drive people apart.

Every boarder erected adds more distance between the people on either side. Expenses are higher. Profits are lower. Border guards must be paid. Families, friends, and lovers are separated by red tape.

We are hairless apes living on a tiny blue speck in a vast blackness. We are illuminated by a small star at just the right distance not to cook us or freeze us. A large rock from space could end the human race at any moment. We could end ourselves with nuclear weapons. We are in the process of ending ourselves with pollution. Truly, humanity is a delicate thing.

In the next fifty years, we must adopt sustainable energy and agriculture. In the next hundred years, we must reach an equilibrium with the rest of the Earth's ecosystem. In the next several hundred years, we must learn to deflect asteroids headed for the Earth. In the next billion years, we will need to find another planet to live on.

The E.U. benefits humanity.

We must all work together to solve the huge problems facing humanity. To this date, no two European Union members have fought a war. Instead, the nations of the E.U. have traded with each other. Citizens of member states have moved freely in order to make their lives better. Europe has welcomed refugees and participated in international space exploration. Most importantly, the E.U. has pushed hard for reducing CO2 emissions to address climate change. The only truly effective carbon market is a cap and trade system that the E.U. has proposed.

Britain's exit from the European Union puts all that at risk. Britain is the third largest country in the E.U. by population and the second largest economy. It remains to be seen if Britain's exit presages the exits of other nations, but the E.U. is undoubtedly weaker. Britain is undoubtedly weaker. It's unlikely Britain will remain one nation.

When will we stop dividing?

There will always be those who wish to leave any political union, but when are such claims valid? Can ten men on ten acres declare independence from their nation? Can 10,000 men on 10,000 acres?

The human race needs to join together. Not split apart. Until leaving the Earth is an option, leaving political unions should not be.

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