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Why Global Capital Fears ‘Brexit’


Why Global Capital Fears ‘Brexit’

Helena Norberg-Hodge, Rupert Read

Trade treaties were a hot button issue during the recent US presidential primary campaigns. This represents an important victory for the people – for the grassroots – whose voice is finally being heard. While it’s hard to know what really lies behind Donald Trump’s opposition to the trade agreements, it’s very significant that Bernie Sanders put Hillary Clinton on the defensive about NAFTA and led her to take a stand against the TransPacific Partnership (TPP). In rejecting these trade deals, political leaders are going against the top-down pressure from global corporations and banks.


This nutshell encapsulation of Post-WWII global economics from the authors is excellent:

"The European Union is an extension of the Bretton Woods institutions – The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). It is widely assumed that the European Union was formed in order to prevent conflict and in order to avoid another depression. In the aftermath of the Second World War, political elites and business leaders promoted the notion that economic integration was a path to peace and harmony. But the result was a form of economic development – based on debt, global trade and consumerism – that systematically undermined democracy and favored corporate interests while hollowing out local economies worldwide."


"Today, interlinked multinational banks and corporations constitute a de facto European government, determining economic activity through the ‘European market’. Their vast lobbying power has an overwhelming influence on the EU Commission and the secretive Council. In other words, corporations run Europe."


Finished reading. Wow, i've been aware of and admiring of these writers, but this is great stuff, very much along the lines of how i assess our predicament and our options.

One thing perhaps missing here (though they surely consider this aspect) is that the globalized transnational corporate monstrosity produces lots of "consumer goods" that won't be practical at the local level. And in general, as Heinberg emphasizes in his piece posted here today, we need a serious ramp-down of total energy consumption. And i believe we also need a serious ramp-down in consumption of "consumer goods" that consumers have become accustomed to taking as granted.

We don't just need the energy savings and ecological relief resulting from shorter supply chains in localization. We also need the energy savings and ecological relief resulting from far less manufactured crap. For people raised as "consumers" this will require a serious shift in understanding, frankly, what it means to be human. So many have learned to quite literally identify with our technological appendages, as noted by the marketers at Apple who appended the word "i" before all their products.

We need to break our identification with these manufactured things, these consumer goods, these technological devices, and learn to live primarily in relation to the ecology.


Thank you, Helena Norberg-Hodge, Rupert Read for this keen and thorough analysis containing so many important points and insights.

The types of changes to the earth's geology that are peripherally related to global warming are going to soon make Localism the ONLY option.


The various Indigenous Peoples of the world LIVE this model... that of "learning to live in (right) relation to the ecology."


Another excellent article by these people. I am very impressed by its depths and insights offerred.


I basically agree with the main thrust of the article, though it seems a little pollyannish. The authors diagnose the problems of the EU and globalization in general pretty well, but then appear to offer a pie-in-the-sky solution of "everything for everybody," i.e., not seriously discussing trade-offs or sacrifices.

They just fly right by some of the more difficult issues -- that the greater local control will likely make global environmental regulation more difficult to implement and make it more challenging to impose universal standards of human rights, with just this sentence: "Going local needs to be pursued in full awareness of the need for environmental and human rights protection that goes beyond local, regional and national borders." They do mention that in the Nordic countries the local rules are more progressive than the EU rules, but the Nordic countries are not representative of Europe and certainly not of the rest of the world.

And of course the corporatists will raise the environmental and human rights issues to defend their globalist policies. Trade-offs must always be made, and they often involve difficult decisions and sacrifices.


Yes, my dilemma as a UK voter is that I'm being offered a choice between "more of the same" and "more of the same but we'll pretend it isn't"; and the debate (on both sides) has struggled to get beyond reinforcing tropes that have been busted time-and-time again - the most absurd situation was a week or so ago when both camps used exactly the same argument on the same day! ("If we remain/leave, we will be crushed under the unaccountable, undemocratic corporate overlords, but if we leave/remain we will be able to do something about it. Huzzah!")

I am a huge supporter of decisions being taken at the most appropriate level. That means more localisation, but it also means more larger, shared decision making too (I don't understand what the fears of a common European foreign policy actually are, and, as noted, common human rights standards need bigger structures.) The UK has a particular problem with this because we don't really have a history of federalism in any shape or form - it's tough when it's really easy to identify your borders because they're the bits with the sea round them. So whilst the "leave" campaign has admirably recognised that it's the regional economic problems that are what is causing so much discontent (albeit with a dangerously xenophobic "it's the immigrants, isn't it?" veneer painted on top), they utterly fail to recognise that this isn't a European problem, it's a nation state problem, and they have so far failed to propose any solutions, and yet that hasn't affected their support. Meanwhile the "remain" campaign have been reduced to saying "well it's OK because we'll opt-out of anything we don't like" which is barely even half-hearted.

I suspect that, come the result, I'm going to be either depressed or really depressed.


The Brexit choice appears to be a similar conundrum to the US November election choice of the two major candidates being Clinton and Trump...do I want my left leg cut off or my right leg cut off ?


I wonder how the analysis of this article squares with Varoufakis' vision of a Democratic Europe.


The analysis in this article is right on target.

Seems like people in the UK are leaning toward exit, but I am afraid the powers that be will take advantage of the vacuum before the people's will can put in place.


All well and good, but Brexit would throw out the baby with the bathwater, as the old saying goes.
In the 21st century, either Europe remains united, or the Russia of Vladimir Putin controls Europe.
As long-term residents of both the USA and ****now Sweden**, we live in the shadow of Russia, and much
prefer the imperfect European Union to the alternatives -- similar to what Winston Churchill said about Democracy, it may look bad, but the alteratives are even worse. This econonist says


Thanks for your perspective. i have not formed a solid opinion about maintaining the EU.


A crucial factor in support of localisation is that crude oil is an irreplaceable natural resource that is being irreplaceably used up depite desperate efforts such as fracking to meet the demand.The current low price of crude oil is only temporary. Something like 90000 container vessels use fuel oil (a derivative of crude oil) to carry out the unsustainable globe trade. Localisation is bound to occur for this practical reason.Ironically big money will tend to embrace localization in due course as it will be the way to make money. Britain can lead the way by leaving the EU as it will encourage localisation, the realistic way ahead as the vast range of about ninety natural resources (additional to crude oil) are irrevocably used up.


I've only got seven things to say to this ridiculous article: wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong wrong. That just about covers all main points.


Hah! You think it's any different on this side of the pond??


We're all in the same boat, man.


Spot on ! what I knew all along - the top 0.0001% owners of the economy are controlling the world and will do their best to prevent Brexit because they set up the EU for their own purposes - next step is TPP - now they are having a problem because the masses - darn it - are discovering what the end-game is ! Now we will find out what they do to counter this inconvenient situation. The EU is run from the top with NO Democratic input - it's decision process is completely hidden from view, let alone discussion, and TPP is the same - all will be determined by the Capitalist owners of the world. This is Big Brother - Capitalist Mode- and we are all in danger. Of course once they have EVERYONE working for peanuts, there will be no-one to buy their products, but that fact seems to escape their attention !


The principal objective of the EU is for the international banking cartel and its corporations to gain control over governments via private currency (the Euro) and laws (TPP). http://coloradopublicbanking.blogspot.com/2014/05/the-view-from-top-of-power-pyramid.html


No, it cannot be that -- we do not get Fareed here in Sweden, although we wish that we did. Rather, I am old enough to have known Europe before the EU, and it was an awful mess. So I am unequivocally pro-EU!


I agree with everything said in this article. That's why I support Donald Trump for president.