Brexit – A view from USA

This Is How Brexit Could Be Good For the World

By Jeffrey E. Garten

Jeffrey E. Garten is the author of From Silk to Silicon: The Story of Globalization Through Ten Extraordinary Lives.

Though it will take a long time and a lot of government effort

There is no lack of apocalyptic handwringing about the UK’s vote last night to leave the European Union—the so-called Brexit. But a more optimistic scenario is also possible.

Admittedly, no one really knows what the impact of a divorce from Europe will mean for the British economy or for the country’s role in the world. It is impossible to say whether other countries like Greece will now want to exit the EU, possibly leading to the disintegration of the Eurozone bloc itself.

Globally, there are scary unknowns, too. Financial markets are already throwing a tantrum, and who knows where that will end? The UK has been a strong voice of democracy, free markets and the rule of law within the EU, and it is not possible to calculate what its absence on the continent portends.

Just as important, Britain’s leaving could fan the fires of nationalism, xenophobia, and revolt against elites—all of which are burning in countries such as France, the Netherlands, Germany, Hungary, and Poland, for starters. Given that British voters turned revolted against immigration, in particular, Donald Trump and his supporters could look as if they may be part of an historical tide. “There is a great similarity between what happens [in the UK] and my campaign, “ Trump said today. “People want to take their country back.”

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Brexit: New debates and hard choices

How, then, could anyone construe a more positive outcome out of this morass? Here is a way to think about the possibility for a more positive picture.

We should take a longer perspective. Of course, the immediate fallout will need to be dealt with. But governments should also look ahead, and think about the next decade and how to deal with the fundamental issues that the British vote revealed. There are no quick fixes, but there are fixes.

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