Before and after the votes were tallied for the BREXIT a cacophony of voices sounded lamentation after lamentation as to the consequences of staying in or leaving the European Union (EU). I believe that had Britain stayed, we could have counted on more of the same; A kind of blind leading the blind into the future. But with it’s leaving, forecasts of economic doom and gloom seem have captured the headlines in the mainstream media. while on the other hand, the alternative media sphere radiates with stories of a new dawn for individual and collective freedom.
As much as we would like to think it so, truth be told, none of us can predict the future. Turn over a tarot card, throw your runes and/or yarrow sticks and you’ll still be left with the nagging question of, what will happen to England, Great Britain, the EU, to global financial markets, and to us here in the United States??
When I worked at a large accounting firm and was assessing which start up technology companies stood a chance of making a go of it, I was given a piece of advice from a venture capitalist I will never forget. He told me this simple rule, if a company had been around a year, you can pretty much count on it being around for another year. If a company had been around seven years, you could pretty much count on it being around for that many going forward. In time I came to realize that venture capitalists were far less daring than I had previously thought when it came to their investments. Gambling was something they did not prefer to do.
So, as I look at BREXIT and all its implications I say to myself, England has been around for a very long time. Since 924 AD. Great Britain has been around since 1707. My hunch is both England and Great Britain will be around for at least the remainder of my lifetime and quite possibly well beyond.
As for the EU. That is a different story. It has been around since 1993 and much of the motivation to create it was the desire to keep the tribes of Europe from warring with each other. Had all their economies been equal and/or complimentary, it might be on stronger footing than it is today. My guess is it may not be around in its current form twenty years from now.
That is not to say it will disappear altogether. Intergovernmental treaties between European governments and loose confederations will no doubt exist. They did before the EU and the Benelux union between the countries of Belgium, Netherlands and Luxemburg is a good example of one that was quite successful.
BREXIT, much like any divorce must be met with the same acceptance as any divorce between a couple. In the end, regardless of all the best intentions and efforts, it just didn’t work out. If you want, chalk it up to “irreconcilable differences.”
Now as is often the case in a divorce, friends of the couple must choose which side to remain closest with and which side to simply be cordial to. In the case of BREXIT, I have always had a deeper connection to the EU. Despite its many faults (and there were and are a lot of them) it did strive for something higher. The ideal of the EU was crystalized for me in 1991 on a night train from Mannheim, Germany to Brussels, Belgium.
At that time I was attempting to set up a distributorship for water filters in Germany. Following a lengthy meeting in Mannheim, I came to the realization that my trip was a failure and it was time to cut losses and head home. I hopped the night train from Mannheim to Brussels. I planned on getting into Brussels early the next morning.
I bought my ticket last minute and the train was packed. The compartments were full and the only seats available were of the “pull down” variety in the hallway. Although it was uncomfortable, I was glad to have it as the other pull down seats in the hallway became quickly occupied.
It wasn’t long after leaving the station that I and those closest to me struck up conversations. To my right was a Belgian scientist and to my left an Italian fruit merchant. Later, our conversation was joined by a French soldier and German student. Other passengers would also join us from time to time as our train sped through the night.
Again, it was 1991 and the vote on the EU was just a couple of years away. The topic of the EU dominated the conversation. We talked all night, until the sun came up and we were overwhelming optimistic about the EU and its future. We imagined a stable, peaceful, and prosperous Europe.
In 1989 the Berlin Wall had fallen and the EU seemed to be the next most logical progression to tapping into the full potential of the people of Europe. Our combined vision of what that meant was grand to say the least. But less than a year later, Yugoslavia would descend into civil war.
A reminder, that in Europe as in most other places, demographics is destiny. And now, the EU seems to be unraveling as the money begins to dry up. Prognosticators are falling over each other to predict which nation(s) will be the next to leave.
As for me I choose to wax philosophical on the topic. I suppose it is good to dream. And if that dream either never materializes or eventually crashes, perhaps it is not the dream that is important, but rather the intention. . . The EU may not be a reality going forward into the distant future. But does that mean stability, peace and prosperity can’t. . ?