Who’s Really Most Afraid of Brexit? And Why?

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Follow the money.

By Don Quijones, Spain & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET.

One of the glaring but oft-overlooked ironies of the Brexit debate is the fact that the UK has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the creation of the euro, despite not being a member of the Eurozone and holding the single currency in rampant disregard. The UK economy has certainly benefited more than most Eurozone economies.

Since 2001 Britain’s share of key financial markets has exploded. London is now home to almost one-half of the entire global interest-rate OTC derivatives market, compared to 35% in 2001. Its share of global forex turnover increased from 33% to 41% between 2001 and 2014. And its share of global hedge fund assets doubled, from 9% to 18%.

Almost 2.2 million people work in financial and related services such as accounting and law, two-thirds of them outside London, reports a study by the financial services lobby group CityUK. They produce nearly 12% of the UK’s GDP, 11% of its tax take, and a net trade surplus of £72 billion ($104 billion).

Financial services have taken a third of foreign direct investment in Britain since 2007, most of it coming from the EU. These are some of the reasons why The Economist magazine recently identified the City of London as the place with arguably most at stake in the Brexit debate, especially with its two biggest rivals, Paris and Frankfurt, vying to take a piece of the action.

The fact that Frankfurt is already home to the European Central Bank’s lavish headquarters makes it the most likely contender.

“In the unlikely event that the UK were to leave, Frankfurt would clearly be a main beneficiary,” says Hubertus Vaeth, who runs Frankfurt Main Finance, the industry association for the city’s banks. “Quite a few actors have prepared. Don’t ask me for names, because nobody wants to be quoted on that – but we do know from quite a few players that they have plans for such an unlikely event.”

That’s not to say that Germany is banking on Brexit. As the BBC points out, German business is strongly anti-Brexit. A recent survey by the Bertelsmann Stiftung think-tank found that 83% of German businesses opposed it.

As for most City-based banks, they would much prefer to continue operating from London than have to move their European base to Frankfurt or Paris, where they can probably expect a lot more government interference in their operations. When it comes to financial secrecy, no European jurisdiction – not even Switzerland or Luxembourg – can hold a candle to the wholly autonomous City of London, one square mile inside the nation’s capital that for centuries has existed as an ancient, semi-alien entity lodged inside the British nation state; a “prehistoric monster which had mysteriously survived into the modern world”, as a 19th-century would-be City reformer put it.

Despite attempts down the centuries to reform the City, it remains the only jurisdiction in the UK not fully subject to the authority of parliament. In fact, the relationship seems to work the other way around. Behind the Speaker’s chair in the House of Commons sits the Remembrancer, whose job is to ensure that the interests of the City of London are respected by the elected members.

The square mile has another major attraction: its almost non-existent approach to financial regulation. By having a large base in the City, global financial institutions get the best of both worlds: they get both EU “passporting rights” — that is, the ability to trade across Europe — as well as the ability to engage in activities that would be unimaginable in most other financial jurisdictions, including New York.

It’s no coincidence that London has been home to just about every major global financial scandal of the last decade, including Libor, Forex, MF Global, the London Whale and rampant gold and oil-price rigging.

Given that both the City of London and the global banks that operate there have so much to lose from a British exit from the EU, it’s hardly any surprise that they are among the largest backers of Project Fear, the massive PR campaign aimed at sowing and watering the seeds of dread about the potential consequences of Brexit.

Two days ago the Project scaled new heights of absurdity when UK Prime Minister David Cameron warned that Brexit could lead to the outbreak of a new war in Europe.

The UK Treasury has predicted that Brexit could cost each British taxpayer over £4,000 each, while destroying the jobs of thousands of city bankers. The latter may well be true but it is unlikely to enlicit much in the way of sympathy beyond the nation’s capital.

The Bank of England’s Mark Carney has cautioned that Brexit is the “biggest domestic risk to financial stability,” with potentially dire consequences for Britain’s balance of payments, its housing market, foreign investment, and its banks.

The banks themselves, they have begun threatening to hike the cost of loans if Britain quits the EU. As the FT reports, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank are among a number of City giants to have included so-called “flexit” clauses into loan documents, escalating fears that borrowing costs will soar if Britain votes to leave the EU.

But will fear be enough to dissuade British voters from taking a giant leap into the great unknown? Based on recent polls, the answer appears to be a resounding NO. Even among businesses, support for Brexit is on the rise. Not only that, but the European establishment and global banks’ biggest fear — that a vote for Brexit would unleash popular demands across Europe for similar referendums on EU membership — appears to be in the process of manifesting.

A new MORI survey of countries making up 80% of the EU population shows that 60% of Italians and 58% of the French also want their own referendums on EU membership. And 48% of the Italians and 41% of the French surveyed said they would vote to leave. Perhaps most importantly, half of those surveyed believe that Brexit would set off a domino effect, and that it would do more damage to the European Union than to Britain itself.

It is this potential of Brexit to unleash a mass stampede towards the EU’s doors — doors that as yet do not open from the inside — that has the political and economic establishment on both sides of the Atlantic in a state of barely concealed panic. As the last three EU-themed referendums (in Greece, Denmark, and the Netherlands) have shown, no matter how much fear of change they try to instill in the European populace, it doesn’t appear to be working. For now, it seems, the fear is very much on the other foot. By Don Quijones, Raging Bull-Shit

You know that things are bad when even the firmest believers begin questioning their faith. That’s what’s starting to happen in Europe, where the EU faces a dizzying constellation of threats and challenges and even the staunchest of eurocrats are beginning to express doubts. Read…  It’s Gotten So Bad in Europe, Even Eurocrats Begin to Worry

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  52 comments for “Who’s Really Most Afraid of Brexit? And Why?

  1. Paulo
    May 11, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    If they leave the Euro, maybe people travelling to London will be able to find parking downtown? :-)

    It’s always about money, isn’t it?

    I hope they do leave and shake the money tree to its roots and knock the banks off their foundations. Something is wrong when the average citizen can no longer afford to buy even the most meagre dwelling. Something is wrong when the only job prospects are in financialization.

    I hope they do leave, and maybe other entrenched systems will wake up and realize if they no longer serve ‘the people’, The People will no longer serve them.

    Off with his head, and set it on York gates;
    So York may overlook the town of York.

    I think I’ll go listen to the Beatles “Revolution” after I hit send.

    • Mark
      May 12, 2016 at 9:53 am

      The (State) City of London is my favorite walking place when I go to Europe, couldn’t care less for parking spot.

      After all Brits were never 100% part of EU since they kept their currency and steering wheel on the right side :))

  2. OutLookingIn
    May 12, 2016 at 12:01 am

    The UK’s last chance at self governing sovereignty.

    Either get out while the getting is good, or stay and become totally enslaved by Brussels and the unelected eurocrats. For which the Brit’s will have the privilege of paying for their own enslavement.

    Their EU association now costs the British taxpayer much more than any purported cost of exiting. The only BIG losers will be BIG MONEY. Time to man the barricades.

  3. Konstantin KS
    May 12, 2016 at 12:51 am

    Fear works best with sensible subjects, while consuming works best with brainless subjects. An intriguing problem for the leading elits.
    But why and how a Brexit would abolish the privileged status of the City?

    • d
      May 12, 2016 at 5:43 am

      “But why and how a Brexit would abolish the privileged status of the City?”

      IT WONT.

      But it will make it a lot harder, to seamlessly avoiding regulators, and do a lot of the EU business, now done in London.

      A will hurt European finance houses just as much as the British ones, as the Europeans will loose their EU/London passport to seamlessly avoiding regulators, hook up, also.

      A Brexit will hurt the EU people a lot more than it will Hurt the British.

      As the British regularly “veto” moves by Brussels to increase EU powers, and federalise Europe, by unseen Brussels stealth Measures.

      Which is why some in Brussels champion Brexit.

      As the British are an impediment to an ever closer unelected Brussels controlled Europe, by stealth.

  4. Intosh
    May 12, 2016 at 12:52 am

    The City of London reminds me of the Capitol in The Hunger Games.

  5. Jungle Jim
    May 12, 2016 at 1:44 am

    This anti-EU sentiment is not something new. From the beginning this was a top down movement of the political elites. They told stories about the benefits to be realized, but
    support among the common folk has never been especially strong. That is one of the reasons why referendums have been avoided whenever possible. Those that were actually held were usually against the status quo. Then, after rejection by the voters, the politicians announced that they would go ahead anyway. Someone once asked Josef Stalin what he thought about elections. He replied that he didn’t believe in numerical abstractions like vote counting. He apparently has pupils in Brussels.

    The euro has been an experiment in one-size-fits-all finance. As time passed and the problems with it became apparent the support grew more lukewarm. The former appointed head of Italy, Mario Monti, quipped that the greatest obstacle to the euro was democracy. He was quite serious, and he seems to have been quite correct.

    Now, the expanding refugee problems and the Russian sabre rattling are added to the mix. A few refugees would be welcome, a few million would not. They are seen as having alien values, they are competitors for what jobs are available, and they are potential terrorist supporters. Putin’s attempts to return Russia to world power status don’t seem to bother most Europeans. They certainly don’t seem enthusiastic about defending Poland, Ukraine or the Baltic republics. They see that as our problem.

    Whether there is a Brexit or not, it is high time that the political elites across the EU at least gave their fellow citizens the right to say yes or no.

    • d
      May 12, 2016 at 5:52 am

      “He apparently has pupils in Brussels.”

      No he has Disciples, who work diligently to complete his agenda, and still worship him daily.

      The difference between a Fascist and a communist.

      Is that a Fascist has the brains to understand.

      Capitalism is necessary, for the Fascist to get fat, and to be able pay for social policy’s, in a calm, stable, social environment.


      Not the best administration, however for most, Spain was much better under him, that it is now.

  6. John Doyle
    May 12, 2016 at 1:44 am

    It wouldn’t be so bad to stay if either side abandoned Neo-liberalism. It’s a sure bet that this now toxic and dangerous infection needs to be lanced.
    The woes inflicted on Greece are purely for bankers benefits and eventually the Greeks will force a change. Whatever the costs and no matter how much the Greeks were to blame, they have to take back their monetary sovereignty. The Lisbon Treaty imposes curbs on the UK’s ability to mint money so a Brexit would free them up as well.
    Unfortunately crushing neo-liberal policies will only come about after some almighty scare in the world economies.

  7. JW
    May 12, 2016 at 2:38 am

    Brexit is about UK leaving the EU, it is not part of the Eurozone. However it is a real fear that the only way to preserve the Euro will be the creation of a federal europe as a single political state. That is of course the aim of the original creators of the EU ( not least the CIA).
    Brexit is about Sovereignty. Despite endless economic analysis, no-one has the slightest idea whether brexit would be good or bad for the UK economy, probably overall it would be only a very marginal effect. What is very clear however is that it is a chance for the UK to escape the federalisation of european states. if the UK does not leave now, it will have the same decision to make within 5 years when it is forced to accept the euro in a federal EU or leave.

    • d
      May 12, 2016 at 5:57 am

      More like 155 than 5 in reality.

      The federated EU project is at a stand still, and will be until the real Peoples Economy picks up.

      As the world has borrowed at lest the next 30 years of growth, it will be on hold for at lest 40 years.

      Apart from completing banking union SLOWLY.

      • May 14, 2016 at 9:06 am

        D, this relates to another comment you made that I can’t reply to anymore (skinny column problem).

        You will make my life easier and you’ll get more of your comments posted in unedited form, if you don’t always accuse commenters who use the word “banker” and even “bankster” as meaning “Jew.”

        You wrote in a comment below: “Why do banker’s ( It would be simpler If you just wrote Jew’s, we understand) have to behave Ethically.”

        I removed this line.

        Most people, me included, use “banker,” “bankster,” “central banker,” etc. without EVER meaning “Jew.” People don’t like to be accused of being anti-Semite when they’re just complaining about financial issues.

        • d
          May 14, 2016 at 11:13 am

          “Most people, me included, use “banker,” “bankster,” “central banker,” etc. without EVER meaning “Jew.” People don’t like to be accused of being anti-Semite when they’re just complaining about financial issues.”

          You most definatly, and some other’s, dont ever use those terms in synonymy..

          Some do.

          The N word is now Verboten.

          As samuel L Jackson, so succinctly put it “Every time a person (he was discussing ghetto gangster music) uses “that word” (He never says it) they empower it, and make it acceptable for “others” to use it.”

          Although many of use use it properly “Banker” is a “Code word”.

          Just as “Anti Racist” is frequently a “Code” for “Anti White”.

          Banker Bashing, and Jew Bashing, is very nicely (for some) melding together, again. Unfortunately. (I get the feeling Europe may have seen the end of its post 1945 peaceful time’s (issues are developing that make Bader Meinhoff, and the Red brigades, look rater Quaint))

          So you have to look at context, and tone. And make mistakes.

          GS and JPM Et al, are as much “Bank’s”, as the local US
          “S and L” is an international Stock/Bond Broker.

          Language constantly evolves. The Anglo Saxon F word, was once
          “the” term, for planting agricultural seeds.

          Do we perhaps have to look at the way we use “Banker” “Broker” “Trader” “Financier” “Central Banker” “Bankster” and the context we put them in.

          Using the word “Bank++++” has become an easy catch all, hot button, to cover a whole group including the members of “The Tribe” and allude to the supposed international conspiracy’s of “The Tribe”

          Jamie Dimon, and Steve Cohen are a lot of things.

          I wouldn’t call either of them simple “Banker’s”.

          The legal Basis for the actions against SAC Capital that turned it into a “Home Office”. Post other case various appeals. And some precedent case conviction overturns, on appeal.

          Are now to say the least, extremely unsound. Some of the Actions against JPM are appearing in a similar light.

          So should we really be referring to them as “Bankster’s”? (Alluding they are all criminals)

          Going back to Post grad after decades, and being forced into gender and race neutral writing. To retain marks, was hard.

          The world is also moving into closer examination of, context, tone, “Hot-button”, and potential “Code”

          Alluding that “Henry ford had Problems, as he upset “some people” ” Given his writing history, is pretty obvious to me, and probably you as well.

          There is no Global secret or open Banking/Central Banking Cabal.

          There is no Global secret or open Banker controlled group of international Corporates.

          There are a large group of Globalized Corporates (Blackstone Etc) that work in concert. I wouldn’t refer to them as a secret Cabal. They are to big to keep those kind of dirty secrets for very long at all. From the Assange and Snowden creatures of this world.

          I do refer to them as Vampires, Allied to china, which they are, as it is their current major manufacturing base.

          The closet thing we have to a secret Cabal, intent on Dominating the planet these days, is the CCP in Beijing. Capitalist Bankers (Of any Kind) they are not.


          If they do not change the way they do things, somebody is going to have to change them.


  8. realist
    May 12, 2016 at 2:38 am

    The White House is the one who decides whether there will be a Brexit or not

    • Jonathan Vause
      May 12, 2016 at 5:46 am

      erm, no it isn’t

    • frederick
      May 13, 2016 at 7:53 am

      Doubt that very much more likely Goldman Sachs/Rothshilds

  9. Anthony
    May 12, 2016 at 7:00 am

    It is serious stuff.

    I feel so strongly about the machinations of there filthy criminally corrupt spivs thieves psychopaths and their assorted FSA adherents who would destroy England that I have taken to help things along.

    I have proposed and offered to all my friends and relatives who are either ambivalent or couldn’t care less, their kids and friends too to buy their vote

    I have offered to host a party with free drinks all night, buffet and a tenner each to take home if they vote out.

    I have over 100 signed up as of now. and am busy looking for a big enough venue to hold the party.

    If you really value your independence and sanity and escape from the filthy miasma of Brussels then for a really good rim at little cost in the scheme of things you do the same and encourage as many as can to follow

    • nick kelly
      May 12, 2016 at 10:45 am

      Oh great- to counter the threat to democracy he’s going to buy votes.
      This comment sums up the general tenor here, with a twist however.
      Description of the pro- EU side as ‘filthy’, a word the author uses twice, is indicative of a disturbed mind.

    • Chicken
      May 12, 2016 at 8:23 pm

      London’s newly appointed Mayor was asked to weigh in, seems he agrees with POTUS:

      “What would happen to London’s position as one of the world’s leading financial centers if the U.K. voted to leave the European Union?
      I think leaving the European Union would be catastrophic for our city. The E.U’s GDP is bigger than China, is bigger than the U.S. We’ve got a market of 500 million people in the European Union. They’re not just a market, they’re our cousins. If you look at London, there are huge social benefits, huge cultural benefits, huge benefits to our security, but the economic benefits are massive. More than half a million jobs in London are directly dependent on the E.U. Sixty percent of the world’s leading companies, including Sony, AIG insurance, China Telecom, have their E.U. headquarters here in London. Half of London’s exports go to the European Union. I’m going to be a Labour mayor campaigning with a Conservative Prime Minister for us to remain in the European Union. It’s crucial going “

    • Agnes
      May 12, 2016 at 9:04 pm

      My great Aunt said she would have shot FDR if she wasn’t a Catholic Lady. And she was a good shot. Have fun at your party.

    • retired
      May 13, 2016 at 8:21 am

      We are sending over 20 Donald Trump clones to help the cause!

  10. Markar
    May 12, 2016 at 9:28 am

    I suspect the refugee crisis is what’s tipping the scale toward Brexit, at least among the general population. The financial machinations of the City are often kept out of the light of day, but it’s hard not be affected by optics of thousands of poor, uneducated refugees pouring into your country who don’t share your values, live off the dole, and commit heinous crimes. The elites have really screwed the pooch for themselves with this insane policy.

  11. Kreditanstalt
    May 12, 2016 at 10:16 am

    One gets the feeling that a new order is struggling to be born even as the old establishment, grasping and clawing for one more particle of life, refuses to die…

  12. Tim
    May 12, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Please clarify: third para,

    “They produce nearly 12% of the UK’s GDP, 11% of its tax take, and a net trade surplus of £72 billion ($104 billion).”

    Current UK trade deficit -3.83 B pounds.

    “Since 1998, the United Kingdom has been running consistent trade deficits mainly due to increase in demand of consumer goods, decline in manufacturing, appreciation of the GBP and deterioration in oil and gas production.”

    But they are running a surplus in services trade. Products trade is more negative. So the contribution is not really net, but for the services side.

    • Tim
      May 12, 2016 at 10:24 am

      Sorry, garbled that a bit, I meant that the financial services contribute to a surplus in services trade. Net trade products and services is negative.

      • nick kelly
        May 12, 2016 at 10:53 am

        So without financial services it would be very much more negative- right?
        I prefer Germany’s economy (double the UK’s manufacturing) to the UK’s without a doubt. But can the UK gain manufacturing to make up for what it may lose in finance.
        PS: I also don’t share the apparent consensus that banking is unproductive, evil or filthy.

        • Tim
          May 12, 2016 at 7:28 pm

          Yes, I think that’s right. If financial services were bringing in less foreign money, the deficit would be larger.

          (But foreign property buying and investment aren’t in the trade balance, they’re in the capital account, I believe. And so that could swamp the trade balance deficit.)

        • retired
          May 13, 2016 at 8:34 am

          You have 10% Reserve Banking & you feel O.K. with that?..
          What would you say if we took the ‘N’
          out of banking & were left with 10% reserve

          Would you think that the baker was a crook for selling the same loaf of bread to 8 or 9 different people?

          Why,in your opinion, are bankers & financial Rentiers better then bakers?

        • d
          May 13, 2016 at 9:00 am

          You’re another beating on the Banker, who is doing nothing illegal.

          As its easy and socially acceptable .

          Dont like the low reserve ratios, and I don’t.

          Go see the people who set them, not attack the people who conform to them.

          Don like the Bankers current ability to create money from air, and I don’t.

          Go see the people who allow the Bankers to do that.

          Banker bashing is worn out, its exposed for what it is. JEW bashing, in a tight economy.

          Something the whole world engages in, every-time the economy tightens.

          Need a scapegoat, blame them Banks and Bankers.

        • May 13, 2016 at 1:02 pm

          Try to not conflate “legal” with “utile” and “ethical.”

        • d
          May 14, 2016 at 8:34 am

          Why do banker’s have to behave Ethically.

          When leftist politicians and their backers, never have, and never will.

          “The truth can never catch up with a: Professionally Propagated, Genocidal, Racist, leftist, Lie”

          ” “Militants are the problem all of them everywhere”.

          However liberal leftist groups, combine to be the biggest militant force, so therefore.

          The Leftist liberals ARE THE BIGGEST PROBLEM.

          ” “Yes, absolutely, the left should have control over what people are
          allowed to hear and know, because that’s how we’re going to build a better future.” “(from the Facebook, anti-conservative/right, Political Bias, Saga) ”

          Then the left says the right is Orwellian, and oppressive, in the next breath.


          Bankers and the Right, aren’t the problem.

        • nick kelly
          May 13, 2016 at 10:38 am

          Dear retired: rent movie ‘It’s a Wonderful Life” with Jimmy Stewart for a explanation of banking. The bank is having a run on it and people are saying ‘where is my money?’
          Stewart explains: it’s the mortgage on bills place, its the loan to the bakery, etc.
          The 10 % reserve is the amount the bank has to have ON HAND- available now.
          To demand a non-fractional reserve bank- i.e, one with all deposits on hand is to demand a bank that can’t make loans.
          Of course, the amount that a bank should have on hand or available on short notice is debatable.

          BTW: to all who think I’m defending the banking excesses- I support Glass-Steagall. All this derivatives stuff is not traditional banking. The bank should not be trading on its own account- it should take deposits and make loans. They managed to do very well for centuries doing just that.

        • d
          May 13, 2016 at 11:00 am

          “To demand a non-fractional reserve bank- i.e, one with all deposits on hand is to demand a bank that can’t make loans.”

          Not so.

          It simply means when the bank puts credit in the borrowers account, it has the cash on hand to cover that credit, as opposed to creating it from thin air. which is how money is currently created.


        • May 13, 2016 at 2:16 pm

          RE: The 10 % reserve is the amount the bank has to have ON HAND- available now.

          Indeed it is. The problem is this reserve level is seldom attained, and in far too many cases the “reserve” is not in cash, either in the vault, or on deposit with the Federal Reserve, or liquid [government] bonds. [Calling something a reserve or asset doesn’t make it one…]

          The problem is enforcement of the 10% reserve *CASH* requirement would result in a drastic immediate reduction in bank credit, and more than 95% of the “money” in circulation is bank credits, not Federal Reserve spondulics.

  13. May 12, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    Brexit should be determined by the net aggregate effect on the majority.

    Why would any rational person be overly concerned about an economic sector [finance] which has become increasingly irrelevant and parasitical? The fact that it has become such a high proportion of the GDP and employment is an argument for, not against, Brexit and a likely reduction in its largely non- [even counter-] productive activities and consumption of resources, i. e. people, land, and capital. The same observations apply to the finance “services” sector here in the U. S.

    While a well-functioning financial/banking sector does indeed appear necessary to a well-functioning economy, it is not an end in itself, nor is it productive [in the sense of generating food, shelter, clothing, etc.], and therefore must not be allowed to dominate the socioeconomy and culture.

    • nick kelly
      May 12, 2016 at 2:08 pm

      If a bank supplies financing to a builder who could not otherwise build the house or apartment it does help produce shelter.
      The efficiency of modern banking is taken for granted- try making money on a 3-4 % loan by pooling thousands of balances under 1000.
      Oh right -they get the money for free.

    • Chip Javert
      May 12, 2016 at 2:09 pm


      You sound confused (maybe jealous?), stating finance is “necessary to a well-functioning economy” but “not an end in itself” and “[not] productive”. Well, which is it: necessary or irrelevant?

      Your definition of acceptable stuff only includes growing food, building houses and making clothes. That was great when we were all hunter-gathers, but is a silly definition in the modern world where less than 90% of the population has little/nothing to do with these activities.

      While you may not think finance has much value, lots of other people do, and are willing to pay for it. They also pay for cell phones, GOOGLE searches, books, education, opera tickets, PCs, airplane trips, car washes, ski trips and a whole host of other modern activities that do not meet your less-than-well considered definition of useful activities.

      Any non-communist/totalitarian financial system (including socialism) requires appropriate regulation, which only works if society holds regulators and politicians accountable for ethical & credible performance of their duties.

      • Tim
        May 12, 2016 at 4:24 pm

        In my understanding, finance is necessary, but it is not a factor of production itself. Without finance you can’t have a developed economy with specialized trades, professions, services, and specialized products. Barter won’t work. Without finance, economies operate at a very low, primitive level. Finance is at the heart of developed economies. This may be where people are getting diverted, as finance is not a true factor of production, the way the classical economists put it.

        Because finance is not a true factor of production, some people are missing its significance, and getting misled by the obvious crime going on. And so out comes the broad brush.

        • May 12, 2016 at 5:41 pm

          RE: In my understanding, finance is necessary, but it is not a factor of production itself. Without finance you can’t have a developed economy with specialized trades, professions, services, and specialized products. Barter won’t work….

          Indeed! The problem is IMNSHO “finance” has been allowed to grow far beyond its proper role as a necessary support activity, and significant portion of what is currently termed finance has become an end in itself and “parasitical” in the same way lotteries and casinos are. For example FX trading volume is hundreds, if not thousands, of times greater than is justified by “real” economic exchanges.

          How is the “real” economy of the United States improved when the average length of ownership of a share of stock is now in the millisecond range, and more than 60% of stock trading is between computers? What aggregate/holistic economic benefit is generated by the creation and trading of derivatives and collateralized loan/debt obligations? How does commodity futures trading, where the amount of contracts grossly exceeds the physically available commodity, benefit the aggregate economy? These activities are huge diversions of assets and attention from productive activities.

          To use an overworked simile, “finance,” like fire, is highly useful, but highly dangerous, and must be carefully controlled.

      • retired
        May 13, 2016 at 8:52 am

        Loan sharks & pawn shops also lend money out,but they don’t hold a candle to the bankers & hustlers in the financial markets.
        When it comes to embezzling in an almost completely unregulated manner in collusion with the Central Bankers.
        When the Central Bank deliberately cause distortions in credit which in turn cause endless financial bubbles as a result of cheap money given to a select few insiders.
        You see all of this & say that this is just a group of financiers doing an honest days business dispensing credit that helps produce the nations wealth?
        this whole opinion is nonsense!

  14. Chip Javert
    May 12, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    Looking at Brexit from the USA (Obama’s opinion does’t count), I seem to remember the same dire predictions about UK’s loss of financial business as a result of remaining outside the euro…obviously not a good prediction.

    Unless literally forced by EU regulation, who in their right mind would rather do financial business in continental Europe instead of the UK or USA? This business is conducted on the basis of cost, capability and capacity, not the color of your flag.

    London’s market share battle is with New York, not Frankfurt or (LOL!) Paris.

    • nick kelly
      May 12, 2016 at 3:02 pm

      At the moment its share battle is with London. There is no inherent reason that a large financial sector could not arise in Frankfurt, located in a larger country with a larger economy. For one thing it could probably hook up with the financial groups in Holland.
      There have been many very large upheavals in the last 100 years- and many entrenched interests overthrown- perhaps beginning with WWI that swept a dozen kings off their thrones, began the Russian revolution, ended the Ottoman empire, the German monarchy, etc. etc.
      There is no guarantee that any status quo will continue.

      • d
        May 13, 2016 at 6:19 am

        “There is no inherent reason that a large financial sector could not arise in Frankfurt,”

        What would you call the one that is already there.

        Frankfurt is THE mainland EU FX center.

        Paris is a Malicious, Vindictive, Wannabe, trying to manipulate EU regulations to steal business from London. It has been the center of trouble making and warmongering in Mainland Europe for over a 1000 years.

        • nick kelly
          May 13, 2016 at 1:59 pm

          Sorry about that WR- I just got back from a walk and was going to ask you to delete it.
          I’m also sure it was not spelled correctly

        • May 13, 2016 at 2:05 pm

          It was spelled incorrectly AND the grammar was wrong


        • d
          May 14, 2016 at 8:07 am

          “Rass-Hass” should really be “Volksverhetzung”

          From the Literal Hass-Spreken/Spraken Translation?? which should have been in that spot.

        • d
          May 14, 2016 at 7:57 am

          It wasnt.

          I have forgotten much more German than I can remember.

          Frances fear, and hatred, of the Germanic Princes, and the state they were forming.

          lead Europe to the Franco Prussian war of 1870, and so what is called WW I and WW II (Aka the Franco Prussian war of 1870 round’s II and III ( all of which france lost(and all the Horrors Including the Holocaust that went with them))) all events which were deliberately caused by France. The Germans simply started the shooting, in wars that had been on running for some time, they did not start.

          Anything that promotes inter European, Nationalist, or Ethnic discord that is allowed to be socially acceptable, is simply not smart, when considering all the barriers to further mainland EU integration which must Happen, one day.

          “It is not wise, to be unkind to, or beat up on the German’s. As a young European country, they tend to go away and make big Guns, then come back and use them on you.” Unknown..

  15. ML
    May 13, 2016 at 1:00 am

    Here in UK the politicians did not ask if we wanted to join the Common Market as it were known but a couple of years later in 1975 we were asked if we wanted to stay in. I voted no. Now we are being asked whether to remain or leave.

    Perhaps inevitable with politicians, the advantages and disadvantages are being drip- fed to us voters. The timing of each claim designed for maximum impact.

    The EU is an experiment in socialism which is only going to work if member countries give up their national identities. That is not going to happen willingly which is why a mass influx of millions of refugees and so called economic migrants is the best thing the EU bureaucrats could hope for. For those of us that are expected to foot the bill the concern is probably not that we cannot afford to be generous and accommodating, but that our religious creed is under threat.

    For the City of London financiers and businesses generally it doesn’t matter where the money comes from as long as it does. So the Brexit project fear has to focus on what we would be missing out on if the vote leave wins.

    Personally, as someone who was educated at the City of London School, I reckon we should leave. The UK is the world’s 5th largest economy and we can stand on our own two feet. We managed to make the UK a world power and a force to reckoned with without the EU and we can do it again.

    As for (outgoing) President Obama’s comment about UK being last in the queue for trade agreements who are you kidding, there is no queue. The USA is broke and obese with it. We have lost our appetite for American movies and have turned our attention to the Scandinavian countries. And arguably if anyone is to blame for the rise of terrorism, which I appreciate is a touchy subject, it is the USA.

    Currently it costs us more money to be in the EU than we get out; as a cost-saving measure leaving makes sense; the money better spent on updating our own infrastructure and caring four own people. It would be good if we could slim down and become more productive:, if our labour costs were to fall then we could compete more profitably.

    The beauty if change is that if you don’t change willingly then it is forced upon you whether you like it or not. As a recipe for world peace, the UK should lead by example and leave the EU. That should trigger off growing desire by other EU member states to leave. Which should force the EU to rethink and reform.

    For all its fairness, socialism tends to overlook the one thing that is paramount: the money has to come from somewhere. Debt is not the answer. The USA has demonstrated that But give people a worthy cause to fight for and be supportive of and the workforce will power ahead, the economy will thrive. National identity is essential, it is the collective personification of its people and its heritage. It is as well the UK still has the £ pound sterling without it the UK would be lost.

    • nick kelly
      May 13, 2016 at 10:49 am

      Are the Scandinavian movies dubbed or sub-titled?
      I would like to see more British movies.
      How many movies can be wrung from Dell comics-Superman, Spiderman, Batman, etc.
      PS: most of the immigrants in Britain did not come via the EU.

  16. EllaDara
    May 13, 2016 at 7:43 am

    According to Brussels’ idea of diplomacy, interests, even the strategic ones, are the realm of “hard power” and of geopolitical reality; they are the prerogative of the States and that of traditional diplomacy and alliances between nations, a legacy of the Westphalian tradition. At best then it is business that will, out of preference, be left to the Member States, the apostles of «realpolitik».

    Values for their part, belong to the rule of law and humanitarian principles; in short they come under “soft power” and could be part of the base that might unite all of the Union’s members whilst national interests are inherently antagonistic and divisive. This is mainly the Commission’s reality. This binary manner of perceiving foreign policy in fact restricts the diplomacy of Europe’s institutions to a limited albeit significant role: trade agreements, development aid, humanitarian aid, dialogue over Human Rights etc…

    It especially reduces it to the point that there is no geopolitical vision.


  17. d
    May 13, 2016 at 11:23 am

    The “nick kelly” comment disappeared.

    Yet from my inbox, my reply still links to his nonexistent comment??

    Never mind his comment wasn’t very nice.

  18. May 13, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    The big guns are out to get us to remain in the EU. The peashooter leave campaign say the daftest things. What they are both careful to avoid is the fact that we can leave the EU and rejoin EFTA to allow us to stay in the single market but away from the political and judicial interference we don’t want. Doing this blows away remain’s scare stories about the impact on trade. Leave don’t like it because they want to control immigration and being in the single market means accepting freedom of movement in the EEA. Leaving the EU won’t fix the immigration problem but we need to be out of the EU in order to be able to take other steps that will help in this respect. Also being out of the EU means we can unilaterally apply the existing ’emergency brake’ the Cameron claims to have negotiated. He lies. His deal is not legally binding on the EU. No, we need to leave the EU otherwise we’ll soon be one of 2 countries not in the Euro with an opt out from it; we’ll get sucked into EUtopia to allow us to regain a shred of influence.

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