What happened in the United Kingdom during the summer of 2016? The working class revolted, in fear and disgust.
How the United Kingdom voted on Thursday... and why - Lord Ashcroft Polls
The "Remain" side predicted collapse, which for two days was a self-fulfilling economic event… that ended quickly. The pound sterling is back to $1.35 and rising, the FTSE is up 2% for the last two days, and people are now realizing the EU, as a trade group, never finalized treaties with China, India, Australia, Canada, or even the United States. The only trade agreements were internal, and many of those ineffective due to internal politics (French farmers come to mind).
Both campaigns relied on so much hyperbole that neither was believed by the general population. I listen to BBC WS, Bloomberg London, and CNBC International for hours daily (in the car) and all these sources are slowly agreeing the End of the World™might not happen after all.
The EU nations need the UK. Contrary to stories, the insurance and banking industry aren't going to pack up tomorrow, any more than they rushed out of NYC after 9/11 or when NYC raised taxes. Cambridge, Oxford, the London School of Economics, and the Royal Society remain the intellectual centers of many disciplines.
The UK needs the EU - its largest market. The Channel Tunnel isn't going to close, trade isn't going to stop. It won't be the same deal Norway struck, but there will be a deal, out of necessity.
Yes, middle-class, bachelor's holding and un-degreed voters with at least 30 years in the U.K. (not all "native born") voted to leave. The elites of London and elsewhere have created an economy in which the educated elites and their children do great, like in the United States. The top 10% raise children destined for the top 10% — and we are willing to live in high-tax "liberal" cities (London, SF, NYC Paris) that have the greatest wealth inequality coefficients because the outrageous costs of houses, education, and services don't register with us as they do the working class.
People in the middle are angry. You can tell them all about how great the "information society" and "tech revolutions" are, but the disruptions are more extreme than the Industrial Revolution was. Automation and algorithms are leaving little room for the "average" person. From the ATM to the automated stock trading platforms managing my 401k, I don't deal with people outside my class as often as I should. The toll road is automated. My bills are paid automatically. Most of my shopping is online, managed by little orange robots in an Amazon warehouse.
So, yes, those workers are ticked off at the financial class, the educated elites, and the politicians. The brave new world didn't include a safety net and led to an economy based increasingly on mathematical modeling instead of human creativity.
Greece should have also been willing to tell the EU where to take its austerity and its regulations, but instead caved and is beholden to Germany and France more than it was. The people of Spain are in the much the same situation, as unemployment spikes again in their major cities (30%) and nobody in the elites seems to care.
What's sad is that the EU could have been more democratic and more responsive, but ruling classes tend to be isolated simply because that is human nature. Just as our leaders aren't going to sit down and really listen to people talking about their lives at an Olive Garden or McDonald's.
The solution needed to be action 10 years ago. Now, the disillusioned are in charge. That might not go well for the UK, EU, or the United States.
Ah, Canada. How do you remain so sane????