Tag Archives: Brexit

2017: Change Can Be A Bitch, by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

Present economic arrangements are not working for a lot of people, notwithstanding the puffery from the powers that be. From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:

2016 brought a lot of changes, or rather, brought them to light. In reality, the world has been changing for many years, but many prominent actors benefitted from the changes remaining hidden. Simply because their wealth and power and worldviews are better served that way.

It’s entirely unclear whether we will ever get a chance to see to what extent the efforts to hide developments have been successful, or even been perpetrated at all, because we don’t know to what extent truth and reality will be accessible in the future.

What we can say at this point in time is that the changes 2016 delivered were urgently needed. There are many people out there who just want to turn back the clock, and change everything back to how it was, but they can’t, and that’s a good thing, because the way things were was hurting too many people.

2016 will go down in history as the year when a big divide between groups of people in the western world became visible, a divide that had until then been papered over by real or imaginary wealth, as well as by ignorance and denial.

When politics and media conspire to paint for the public a picture of their choosing, they can be very successful, especially if that picture is what people very much wish to see, true or not. But as we’ve seen recently, our traditional media have become completely useless when it comes to reporting news; the vast majority have switched to reporting their own opinions and pretending that is news.

To continue reading: 2017: Change Can Be A Bitch

 

 

Advertisements

European Politicians Terrified By “Horror Scenario” After Brexit, Trump, by Tyler Durden

The peasant revolt might spread, and that has a lot of people in Europe worried. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

First it was Brexit, then there was Trump. Two “shocking” events that nobody in the media, markets or punditry could admit could possibly happen. They happened… and that’s just the beginning – as we showed last night, the political calendar over the next two years is only heating up, with countless potential “black swan” events – often involving nationalist tendencies or outright separatism, and further hits to the establishment status quo – on the horizon.

Most of these events take place in Europe, a powderkeg of simmering anger and resentment built up over the centuries of artificially enforced borders cutting across religions, ethnicities and cultures, which has only been swept under the rug over the past several decades with the help of an artificial customs and monetary union which is increasingly unstable. As such, even the smallest domino can push the entire continent into a state of terminal socio-economic collapse.

And both Europe, and the globalist establishment, know this.

The “horror scenario”

Which is why back in May, when Donald’s Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election seemed the remotest of possibilities, a senior European official took to Twitter before a G7 summit in Tokyo to warn of a “horror scenario”.

Imagine, said the official quoted by Reuters, if instead of Barack Obama, Francois Hollande, David Cameron and Matteo Renzi, next year’s meeting of the club of rich nations included Trump, Marine Le Pen, Boris Johnson and Beppe Grillo: truly a horror for an exclusive group of aloof elitists who enjoy sneering on the same people whom they take advantage of every single day.

A month after Martin Selmayr, the head of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s cabinet made the comment, Britain shocked the world by voting to leave the European Union. Cameron stepped down as prime minister and Johnson – the former London mayor who helped swing Britons behind Brexit – became foreign minister. Now, five months later, with Trump’s triumph over his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, the populist tsunami that seemed outlandish a few months ago is becoming reality, and the consequences for Europe’s own political landscape are potentially huge.

This is why Europe is suddenly terrified that what until June seemed impossible, is now all too likely: in 2017, voters in the Netherlands, France and Germany – and possibly in Italy and Britain too – will vote in elections that could be coloured by the triumphs of Trump and Brexit, and the toxic politics that drove those campaigns.

And, as Reuters writes, the lessons will not be lost on continental Europe’s populist parties, who hailed Trump’s victory on Wednesday as a body blow for the political mainstream. “Politics will never be the same,” said Geert Wilders of the far-right Dutch Freedom Party. “What happened in America can happen in Europe and the Netherlands as well.”

Just like after Brexit, French National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen was similarly ebullient. “Today the United States, tomorrow France,” Le Pen, the father of the party’s leader Marine Le Pen, tweeted.

To continue reading: European Politicians Terrified By “Horror Scenario” After Brexit, Trump

Bringing Down the Globalist Monster, by Justin Raimondo

It is a monstrous philosophical and empirical error to think that ever larger collectives and governments do anything but reduce the human race’s chances for survival. The non-powers that be are catching on; the powers that be are still smitten with ever larger and more intrusive governments. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

The main issue in the world today is globalism versus national sovereignty, and it is playing out in the politics of countries on every continent.

In the United States, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s critique of globalism – encapsulated in his campaign theme of “America First” – has galvanized a mass movement opposed to the internationalism of the regnant elites, their transnational allegiances and their foreign wars.

In Britain, the opposition to the European Union culminated in a referendum which – against all odds, and against all the Powers That Be – repudiated the EU in a stunning blow to the political class.

As the refugees from globalist wars in the Middle East stream into Europe, Hungary’s nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban declares war on the “fanatical internationalism” of the European Union – and is denounced as a “fascist” by those he calls “today’s enemies of freedom.” These new authoritarians, he avers, “are cut from a different cloth than the royal and imperial rulers of old, or those who ran the Soviet system.” Sounding like Trump, Orban sets his sights on the enemy:

“They use a different set of tools to force us into submission. Today they do not imprison us, they do not transport us to concentration camps, and they do not send in tanks to occupy countries loyal to freedom. Today the international media’s artillery bombardments, denunciations, threats and blackmail are enough – or rather, have been enough so far.”

To be sure, nationalism has often been the instrument of authoritarians, and warmongers, but what we are seeing today is a reaction to an aggressive anti-democratic internationalism that doesn’t care about the consent of the governed. That’s why a British court has effectively overturned the results of the Brexit vote – in a lawsuit brought by a hedge fund manager and former model – and thrown the fate of the country into the hands of pro-EU Tories, and their Labor and Liberal Democrat collaborators.

This stunning reversal was baked in to the legislation that enabled the referendum to begin with, and is par for the course as far as EU referenda are concerned: in 1992, Danish voters rejected the EU, only to have the Euro-crats demand a rematch with a “modified” EU treaty which won narrowly. There have been repeated attempts to modify the modifications, which have all failed. Ireland voted against both the Lisbon Treaty and the Nice Treaty, only to have the issue brought up again until the “right” result was achieved.

“Remainers” accuse Brexiters of being economic “isolationists,” and yet there is nothing to prevent the free flow of trade between a sovereign Britain and the continent except the trade-bloc mentality of the EU. The globalist agenda makes use of “free trade” propaganda, but in reality their trade policies amount to managed trade: real free trade doesn’t require thousand-page treaties. The result of such treaties has been the creation of trade blocs, i.e. a form of regional protectionism married to outright imperialism. Take the cases of Japan and South Korea: in exchange for allowing the de facto military occupation of their respective counties, both US satellites are given a free pass for their goods to cross our borders unimpeded. So in exchange for the “benefit” of having our industrial core hollowed out by cheap overseas products, we are required to not only pay billions for the defense of these countries, but also must risk the prospect of having to go to war to fulfill our “obligations.”

To continue reading: Bringing Down the Globalist Monster

 

The Fury of the Central Planners, by The Zman

The Command and Controllers are furious that contrary to their dire warnings, disaster hasn’t followed the British rejection of Euro Command and Control. From The Zman on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:

When I was out in the provinces last month, I watched a bit of the BBC and SkyNews. One of the things I found humorous about the news coverage was the hyperventilating about Brexit. Every story had a Brexit angle, even the local interest stuff. The general impression I got from the news presenters was that they were having a tough time keeping it together. At any moment they could break down into sobbing over the horrors of Brexit. If you did not know better, you would think Brexit was code for re-opening Auschwitz.

All the prophesies about the disasters that would befall the world, if the snaggletoothed yokels voted to leave Europe, have not come to pass. In fact, the early returns suggest it has been a net positive for the Brits. Time will tell how it all unfolds as there is a lot that has yet to happen. Even so, the results thus far are making the Remain side look rather foolish. Instead of accepting this reality, the true believers are carrying on like Godzilla is about to cross the Channel and attack London, because of Brexit.

This inability to accept reality is not confined to the Brits. Tyler Cowen has an unintentionally hilarious column up demanding that we believe the libertarian economists and not our lying eyes. The short version, for those uninterested in reading it, is that he and the rest of the doomsayers forgot to carry the one and the day of reckoning is actually a little ways off. But don’t you worry though. The day of reckoning is approaching and those beastly Dirt People in the accompanying picture will be held to account.

In fairness to libertarians, modern economists are not libertarians. They dress up their act with libertarian hobbyhorse items like free weed and open borders, but modern economics is managerial central planning. They are technocrats convinced they can micromanage everything through monetary and tax policy. No matter how many times they get it wrong, they remain certain they just need to tweak their models and boundless bliss will spread over the countryside. Worse still, they fully embrace the lunacy of homo economicus.

Economics, as I’m fond of saying, is the modern equivalent of astrology. Before a battle, Cyrus II of Persia would bring in his astrologers to advice him on the time and place to attack his enemy. The astrologers would figure out what he wanted to hear, consult their maps and then tell him what he wanted to hear. Cyrus was a bad ass dude, who was rarely wrong, so it was a wise course by the astrologers to tell the boss what he already knew. When he won, they got some credit and they avoided contradicting the boss.

This old story about the eminent astrologer economist Joseph Stiglitz praising the economic polices of Venezuela ten years ago is a good example. Stiglitz was telling his hosts what they wanted to hear because they were paying him to endorse their brand of lunacy. Of course, Venezuela is now headed to total collapse because their economy has ground to a halt. In an age when Mexico’s poor people are obese, Venezuela has managed to have a food shortage. Maybe the rulers should not have listened to Joseph Stiglitz.

To continue reading: The Fury of the Central Planners

 

Picking Up The UK Tab, by Jeff Thomas

One little-noted facet of Brexit is that Great Britain pays into the EU a lot more than it gets back. When it leaves, what are the net moochers going to do? From Jeff Thomas at  internationalman.com:

Back in the late ‘90s, I began saying, “I’ll give the EU twenty years.” At that point, the EU seemed to be going great guns, but I believed that it was an ill-conceived concept that wouldn’t stand the test of time.

There were several reasons for my view. First, I didn’t believe that those countries that were entitlement-focused, such as the Greeks, would ever be as fiscally responsible as, say, the Germans, so the Germans (and other countries where there was a responsible work ethic) would end up subsidizing the Greeks (and to a lesser extent, Spain, Portugal, etc.)

Second, culturally, there was so great a divide between, say, the Austrians and the French, that they could never substantially agree on the union’s laws and directions.

Third, the countries of Europe have been at war with each other countless times over the centuries. They might agree to trade cooperation, but they would never agree to having a former enemy dictate policy to them. And it was baked in the cake that some members would have a louder voice than others, and so, would seek to dominate.

In recent years, we’ve watched the EU stumble repeatedly. Invariably, Brussels has arrogantly assumed that it can dictate to all EU members, and offers few apologies for doing so. The individual countries’ leaders then do their best to explain to their own voters why Brussels should be able to behave like an oligarchy, and the voters understandably have become increasingly angry.

Eventually, the wheels were sure to come off the trolley and, with the UK Brexit vote, we’ve witnessed the first major blow to the survival of the EU.

Whilst the “leave” vote has been acknowledged, we should expect to see politicians placing stones in the road to Brexit, in addition to creating repeated delays. It would also not be surprising to see demands for a recall or even a nullification by the UK Supreme Court.

In the midst of this, we’re already seeing the predictable backpedaling by those politicians and pundits who, up until the vote, were warning that a Brexit would spell unmitigated disaster for Britain. Most of them are now speaking instead of “working on crafting a successful settlement.” (After all, when the sky has failed to fall, they won’t want the public to remember that they ranted like veritable Chicken Littles prior to the vote.)

But, in one sense, the Brexit will unquestionably spell disaster—not for Britain, as was claimed, but for Brussels.

Britain was never fully married to the EU; she was more a “woman on the side,” but in this case, it was the woman that was picking up the tab for the affair. In 2015 alone, the UK paid £13 billion into the EU budget, whilst EU spending on the UK was £4.5 billion. The UK’s “net contribution” was therefore about £8.5 billion—a loss of 65% of its investment. Not money well-spent, considering the trade restrictions heaped on the UK by Brussels.

The £8.5 billion loss, of course, went to support the net-receiver members of the EU, such as the ever-unapologetic Greece.

Most of the above will be common knowledge, but here’s a few pertinent questions that no one seems to be asking—at least not publicly:

At what point does the UK cease to pay into the EU?

To continue reading: Picking Up The UK Tab

Brexit Armageddon was a terrifying vision – but it simply hasn’t happened, by Larry Elliott

Here’s one of the least suprising stories of the summer. Notwithstanding the chorus of experts and powers crying that disaster would be the consequence if Brexit passed, it passed and there has been no disaster. From Larry Elliott at the guardian.com:

Project Fear predicted economic meltdown if Britain voted leave, so where are the devastated high streets, job losses and crashing markets?

Unemployment would rocket. Tumbleweed would billow through deserted high streets. Share prices would crash. The government would struggle to find buyers for UK bonds. Financial markets would be in meltdown. Britain would be plunged instantly into another deep recession.

Remember all that? It was hard to avoid the doom and gloom, not just in the weeks leading up to the referendum, but in those immediately after it. Many of those who voted remain comforted themselves with the certain knowledge that those who had voted for Brexit would suffer a bad case of buyer’s remorse.

It hasn’t worked out that way. The 1.4% jump in retail sales in July showed that consumers have not stopped spending, and seem to be more influenced by the weather than they are by fear of the consequences of what happened on 23 June. Retailers are licking their lips in anticipation of an Olympics feelgood factor.

The financial markets are serene. Share prices are close to a record high, and fears that companies would find it difficult and expensive to borrow have proved wide of the mark. Far from dumping UK government gilts, pension funds and insurance companies have been keen to hold on to them.

City economists had predicted an immediate rise in the claimant count measure of unemployment in July. That hasn’t happened either. This week’s figures show that instead of a 9,000 rise, there was an 8,600 drop.

Some caveats are in order. It is still early days. Hard data is scant. Survey evidence is still consistent with a slowdown in the economy in the second half of 2016. Brexit may be a slow burn, with the impact only becoming apparent in the months and years to come.

But it is obvious that the sky has not fallen in as a result of the referendum, and those who said it would look a bit silly. By now, Britain was supposed to be reeling from the emergency budget George Osborne said would be necessary to fill a £30bn black hole in the public finances caused by a plunging economy. The emergency budget is history, as is Osborne.

In a way, Project Fear did work. It put the wind up businesses, making them warier about investing in new kit. And at least some of the people who voted remain did so because they were worried about the economic consequences of leaving. That was hardly surprising, given the regular and lurid warnings – from the Treasury, the Bank of England, the International Monetary Fund and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development – about the dire consequences that would inevitably flow from Brexit.

To continue reading: Brexit Armageddon was a terrifying vision – but it simply hasn’t happened

 

Bank of England QE and the Imaginary “Brexit Shock,” by Pater Tenebrarum

Brexit passed and the sky hasn’t fallen in Great Britain yet. From Pater Tenebrarum at acting-man.com:

Mark Carney, Wrecking Ball

For reasons we cannot even begin to fathom, Mark Carney is considered a “superstar” among central bankers. Presumably this was one of the reasons why the British government helped him to execute a well-timed exit from the Bank of Canada by hiring him to head the Bank of England (well-timed because he disappeared from Canada with its bubble economy seemingly still intact, leaving his successor to take the blame).

This is how Mark Carney is seen by the press. A few decades ago no-one would have thought that the drab bureaucrats inhabiting central banks would ever get this much attention, and yet, here we are. It’s like living in a really bad B-movie.

Cartoon via theguardian.com

The adulation he receives is really a major head-scratcher. What has he ever done aside from operating the “Ctrl. Prnt.” buttons? As far as we are aware, nothing. As we have discussed previously, his main legacy is that he has left Canada with one of the greatest and scariest real estate and consumer credit bubbles extant in the world today. Some accomplishment!

With respect to his economic analysis, it seems not the least bit different from the neo-Keynesian/ semi-monetarist mumbo jumbo we get to hear from central bankers everywhere. This is by the way no surprise: they’re an incestuous bunch and have largely received their education at the same institutions.

Most of them seem genuinely convinced that central planning not only works, but is necessary to improve on the alleged drawbacks of an “unfettered market” (i.e., the mythical unhampered free market economy no-one alive today has ever experienced). If one looks closely at what they are actually doing, it soon becomes clear that it is in principle not much different from what John Law did in France in the early 18th century (the difference is one of degree only).

BoE Adopts Loosest Monetary Policy in History

The much-dreaded “Brexit” has now given Mr. Carney the opportunity to do what he does best, namely open the monetary spigots wide. One might as well try to improve one’s health by playing a few rounds of Russian roulette every morning before breakfast. Here is a summary of the measures the Bank of England announced last week (via Reuters):

The Bank of England cut interest rates to next to nothing on Thursday and unleashed billions of pounds of stimulus to cushion the economic shock from Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. Acting on its chief economist’s wish to use “a sledgehammer to crack a nut”, the BoE reduced interest rates by 25 basis points to a record-low 0.25 percent.

This first cut since 2009 was accompanied by a pledge to buy 60 billion pounds ($79 billion) of government bonds with newly created money over the next six months, and two new stimulus schemes. One will buy 10 billion pounds of high-grade corporate debt, the other – potentially worth up to 100 billion pounds – is to ensure banks pass on the full rate cut to borrowers. The Bank said most BoE policymakers expected to cut the main interest rate to even closer to zero later this year, and sharply downgraded its outlook for growth next year.

“By acting early and comprehensively, the (Bank) can reduce uncertainty, bolster confidence, blunt the slowdown and support the necessary adjustments in the UK economy,” BoE Governor Mark Carney told a news conference.

Sterling fell as much as 1.6 percent against the dollar following the announcement, while British government bond yields hit record lows and the main share index rose by 1.6 percent.

Carney said he had unveiled an “exceptional package of measures” because the economic outlook had changed markedly following the Brexit vote. The Bank expects the economy to stagnate for the rest of 2016 and suffer weak growth next year. By cutting rates to the lowest in its 322-year history, the BoE joins the Bank of Japan and the Reserve Bank of Australia, which both undertook unprecedented stimulus in the past week.

Finance minister Philip Hammond welcomed the rate cut and said he and Carney had “the tools we need to support the economy as we begin this new chapter and address the challenges ahead”.

To continue reading: Bank of England QE and the Imaginary “Brexit Shock”