Brexit markets in everything

by on March 29, 2016 at 2:04 pm in Current Affairs, Economics, Law, Political Science | Permalink

Ukip-backed Brexit campaign employs EU migrants to rally support

Leave.EU employs four phone bank staff from EU countries including Slovakia. Their job is to rally voters across the UK to back Brexit. The appointments come despite Leave.EU claiming that “as the world’s fifth biggest economy, the UK is well placed to supply its own labour”.

1 Ray Lopez March 29, 2016 at 2:05 pm

The definition of irony…

2 Jamie_NYC March 29, 2016 at 4:10 pm

Totally… In other news: Tyler Cowen, proponent of free international trade caught buying American apples!

3 BC March 29, 2016 at 6:21 pm

Not really that ironic since the UK doesn’t need to be part of the EU to get the benefits of EU labor. Even if the EU doesn’t want to have open trade agreements with the UK, the UK can always unilaterally allow imports of EU goods and outsourcing to EU labor.

That’s why these trade negotiations are always so backwards. So much effort is put into allowing foreign consumers to benefit from domestic labor when each country could already allow its own consumers to gain all the benefits from trade just by unilaterally lifting all tariffs and trade barriers. The fact that countries put so much effort into trying to allow foreign consumers to benefit from trade is one of the few instances where anti-foreign bias doesn’t seem to apply. For whatever reason, people become really altruistic when it comes to trade agreements, so much so that they threaten to harm their own consumers just to help foreign consumers.

4 BC March 29, 2016 at 6:30 pm

Just to clarify, I’m not saying that Banks isn’t being ridiculous here, since he wants to limit use of foreign labor post-Brexit. My point is that the UK doesn’t really need to be part of the EU to benefit from EU labor. The degree to which a country benefits from foreign labor is a domestic choice.

5 Nathan W March 30, 2016 at 1:54 pm

I thought the pro-free trade argument was that domestic consumers get to benefit from foreign labour. In selling to foreign consumers, the goal is not to benefit them per se, but rather to create jobs and earn profits in selling to them.

6 prior_test2 March 29, 2016 at 2:16 pm

Well, they could have been using Indian call centers instead – you know, follow the proud American model of outsourcing as a way to increase labor flexibility. Or at least get around that pesky wage stickiness effect.

7 JWatts March 29, 2016 at 2:37 pm

Or cheating on environmental emission standards maybe? No wait, that wasn’t an American company was it?

8 prior_test2 March 30, 2016 at 1:32 am

Man, the last time I posted the history of such, it seemed to end up on the cutting room floor, so let us try again – ‘But for all this scandal in headlines, the whole debacle is not the first, or even the second, or even the third time the EPA has discovered automakers skirting emissions standards. And the EPA’s rules and testing procedures are complicated enough that automakers have argued in the past that their defeat devices were legal because they solved performance problems on a car model while allowing it to pass the federally mandated tests. Often, car makers accused of defeating emissions control systems reach a settlement with the EPA or the Justice Department, but never admit guilt.


A year later Volkswagen, based in what was then West Germany, agreed to pay $120,000 (PDF) to settle the charges but did not admit any wrongdoing.

Around the same time, the EPA also reprimanded six manufacturers—GM, Ford, Chrysler, American Motors, Nissan, and Toyota—for installing devices which would “defeat the effectiveness of emission control systems under conditions not experienced during EPA’s certification testing.” The EPA ordered those devices to be removed from cars that were still to be produced, but it didn’t order the recall of cars with devices that had already come off the assembly line. While the defeat devices apparently took different forms, The Sarasota Herald reported in late 1972 that the defeat devices found in the cars also activated in cold weather “in order to make the car start more easily.” Alternatively, some models were equipped with time-delay switches that cut the emissions control system as an automatic transmission shifted from low to high gears.


Between 1991 and 1995, GM sold approximately 470,000 Seville, DeVille, Eldorado, and Fleetwood model Cadillacs with 4.9L V8 engines that turned off the emissions control system when the driver turned on the air conditioner.

In December 1995, the Justice Department sued GM on behalf of the EPA in order to force GM to recall those vehicles. GM agreed to what amounted to a $45 million settlement, including $11 million in fines, $25 million to fix the recalled cars, and just under $9 million in a “community service” penalty.


In 1998 the EPA reached a settlement with Ford over defeat devices found on 60,000 1997 Econoline vans. Ford was accused of equipping its electronic control module with instructions to increase fuel economy (and override the emissions control system) when the vans were driven at highway speeds. In an EPA Enforcement Alert (PDF), the administration said that when the defeat device was activated, the Econolines released nitrogen oxide “well beyond the limits of the CAA [Clean Air Act] emissions standards.”

For this, Ford had to recall affected vehicles and fix them, as well as pay a $2.5 million fine to the EPA.’

Notice the 20 year rhythm? And notice how much of the auto industry had the same basic idea in the early 70s?

9 msgkings March 30, 2016 at 3:41 am

All I notice is the 3rd degree burns all over you, because you been burnt. Or rather, Sie wurden verbrannt

10 Adrian Ratnapala March 30, 2016 at 12:17 am

In the UK the call centres are usually outsourced to somewhere north of Humber. This caused havoc when my local Indian takeaway outsourced its telephone service.

Before that, placing an order had been a perfectly businesslike conversation that took no more than three seconds. Then it became an agonised verbal wrestling match with people who — in spite of being brought up in Britain — somehow don’t know the word “Biriyani”.

11 M March 29, 2016 at 2:22 pm

So are they supposed to be practicing hiring discrimination against people lawfully in the UK? Is that something that would go down well?

12 Art Deco March 29, 2016 at 2:42 pm

You think The Guardian and the moderator don’t know they’re arguing in bad faith?

13 Rock Lobster March 29, 2016 at 2:48 pm

This is a sincere question that I hope somebody can answer.

So in addition to annoyance at having to follow EU rules and regulations, it seems like Brexit is largely motivated by dislike of the so-called “Polish plumber.” But what about immigrants from the rest of the world? Why do they hate the Polish plumber so much while still letting in people from Pakistan, Africa, etc.? Seems like a weird ordering of priorities.

14 Art Deco March 29, 2016 at 3:12 pm

“The Annoyance” is the replacement of decisions by elected officials with decisions by apparatchiks in Brussels. That alone should dictate withdrawal. Gross examples of Brussels in action include the Eurocurrency disaster, the Schengen disaster, and the Hag-Chancellor’s come-on-down refugee lallapalooza.

15 Rock Lobster March 29, 2016 at 3:33 pm

Thanks but that didn’t really answer my question.

16 Adrian Ratnapala March 30, 2016 at 12:22 am

Well it should.

You can rationally tolerate something which is annoying, but which you think is your best option all told. But if someone *else* has imposed the annoyance on you, then its rational to be angry. (1) Because the someone-else is unlikely to be balancing your various interests with much care, and (2) because it sets a precedent for the someone-else imposing on you.

17 John Faben March 30, 2016 at 2:46 am

In what practically meaningful sense are the people making the rules in Brussels any more “someone else” to the average Brit than the people making the rules in Westminster?

18 Behemot March 30, 2016 at 5:36 am

Its wildly inaccurate to impose a false dichotomy between “elected officials” and “apparatchiks”.

Much of the domestic UK social order is created by unelected officials – the judiciary, the learned societies, big multinational businesses, the various churches, the House of Lords, the universities – and (by and large) thank God for that!

Moreover, the party system means that you have little actual influence over those “elected officials”, which may not be such a bad thing either – think of how little difference there is between the mainstreatm parties – Labour/Conservatives (or the Democrats and the Republicans – prior to the Trump era).

Are these parties corrupt and incompetent? Yes. Are the “popular” alternatives – like Farage and Trump, any better? No.

19 M March 29, 2016 at 3:36 pm

My feel on the ground is there is more of a dislike of open borders and the potential of open borders for mass migrations across the continent in the abstract than actual dislike of people, which in theory the managed border doesn’t have (even if, in reality it’s actually circumvented).

I don’t on the whole think there are actually many people who order their priorities like that. However there are different regional flows to migration, coming to different parts of Britain. There are to some degree people who dislike Polish plumbers, yet would never really see an African because they are all in London. Also language and cultural legacies can make it easier for some migrants to socialize on similar terms with British people in ways that Eastern Europeans cannot so easily (of course there are some pan-European cultural references that can link British to European migrants to the exclusion of non European migrants).

There are some odd organizations of priorities I have seen – I have spoken to a few actual people who are angry at “gentrification” of London by the movement of talented young British people from the periphery of Britain to London, yet who have absolutely no issues with any level of mass migration by young people from the rest of the world – but I think a preference for Pakistani and African migrants over Polish is a very unusual one.

20 RM March 29, 2016 at 3:56 pm

In the UK a few years ago, I saw a weird coalition of Whites and South Asians working to keep out Eastern Europeans. It did not seem to me to be a large or politically significant coalition, but it was nonetheless super interesting. Perhaps could be explained by the fact that South Asians have been going to the UK in large numbers for upwards of 7 decades. We are talking about their grand kids being in the coalition.

21 Horhe March 29, 2016 at 4:21 pm

@Rock Lobster: There are problems with some EU migrants, like the Roma and so on, and the natural friction caused by the occasionally true taking of the jobs meme.

But, the real reason for some of the most vehement attitudes towards EU migrants is the fact that, unlike non-European immigrants and their descendants, they are a softer target for socially acceptable criticism, disapproval of immigration and so on. The expression of policy preferences in the UK is distorted by taboos, social expectations, the threat of legal action, the effect of social opprobrium on employment and participation in community life, on social status etc.

Basically, non-Europeans are sacred objects, as described also by Jonathan Haidt in his book The Righteous Mind. Above criticism as a group or a class of people and, more and more often, due to uncertainty of where the line is drawn in (non)racist interactions (an uncertainty fostered on purpose by the various social engineers in media, quangos, government and immigrant communities), above criticism as individuals as well. Like the delayed response and sheer stupidity of the police regarding the Rotherham mass rapes and forced prostitution.

So, there is a lot of tension beneath the surface which, as in all societies experiencing cracks along religious and ethnic lines, is increasingly repressed through anarcho-tyranny – the reduction in free speech, freedom of association, freedom of worship etc mainly for the natives. More often than not, it is the natives who police themselves and leave little for the migrant communities to do in terms of imposing thir preferences.

So, a scapegoat must be found. Enter the Roma or, as they are sometimes called, the Bulgarians, Romanians etc. Plus an assortment of actual ethnics from those countries. The sheer Schadenfreude which accompanied Sarko’s campaign in France to expel the Roma was quite something. Finally, some brown people which it is acceptable to criticize and hate. After all, they are fellow Europeans and it’s the Easterners’ fault for not having assimilated them in 800 years. Many of the Eu migrants leave their families at home and are much more mobile and apt to move along with opportunities. This means that it is a safer bet to attack them, since they might go away, rather than betting on a fourth generation Pakistani youth with a Pakistani immigrant parent to leave the gravy train for a return to a country he has never known, and where he is just as unlikely to fit in as in the much more tolerant and helpful Britain.

You can also view it from a different angle. Hating on fellow Europeans might be a good gateway drug to expressing oneself clearly on non-European immigrants to your country as well.

22 Horhe March 29, 2016 at 4:26 pm

I urge you to read this and see what exactly can happen when in messes with protected classes.

Although he was released, there has been lasting damage done to his image, his social capital and so on, plus an arrest record. So, one dispenses with the trial where he would surely have been acquitted, because the scarlet letter is enough. The process is the punishment. The message has been sent to others. Keep your mouth shut.

23 Horhe March 29, 2016 at 4:27 pm
24 RM March 29, 2016 at 4:43 pm

When walking down the street, who do you think blends in more: brown, black, or a thicker shade of white?

However, some of your points in the second-to-last paragraph are headed in the right direction. Eastern Europeans do not view England as a place to live and settle for generations: only as a place to make money and return home. For Indians and Pakistanis, it is the place their descendants will live for as far as we can see into the future. Dang, even the act of going back to the old country for a wife is the surest signal that you intend for your off-spring to live in England forever.

25 Horhe March 29, 2016 at 5:03 pm

The immigration as an act of love hypothesis. I don’t know why you would think that that’s an argument.

Of course, this isn’t about skin color, except on the racial totem pole of the left – this is about cultures and expectations regarding the interaction between hosts and newcomers. Being able to blend in with the population helps you nut just to assimilate, if you want to, but also to lose yourself in your new country and have your children emerge as full fledged whatevertheyare.

There was a book about the effects I described, written by Timur Quran, “Private Truths, Public Lies”, which deals with preference falsification because of factors preventing the accurate expression of policy preferences.

26 ivvenalis March 29, 2016 at 10:05 pm

Because saying you don’t like/want non-European immigrants is illegal in the UK. Keep it about the Poles and you won’t end up in jail for inciting hatred or whatever.

27 Derek March 30, 2016 at 12:57 am

You don’t get called racist when you complain about Polish plumbers. So you complain about Polish plumbers.

28 Rock Lobster March 30, 2016 at 1:48 am

Thanks everyone for the answers.

29 Nathan W March 30, 2016 at 2:03 pm

The Polish plumber can come and go at any time, and there is no mechanism to prevent his entry. Moreover, he automatically qualifies for a variety of social services. Newcomers from outside the EU face much more restrictive entry requirements.

30 Horhe March 30, 2016 at 3:51 pm

But once they’re installed, they and their descendants will be there in perpetuity. It’s one thing for an actual migrant worker to have an instrumental view of your nation. He’ll be gone eventually. It’s another for a citizen of foreign origin to have an instrumental or even inimical view of your nation.

31 BenK March 29, 2016 at 3:00 pm

Seems entirely sensible. What could be more motivating? Have the immigrants call unemployed Brits all day saying ‘Hello, because of the EU, I have a job and you don’t…’

32 Richard Besserer March 29, 2016 at 3:30 pm

The irony doesn’t stop there.

Banks apparently spent his childhood in South Africa; today he keeps a home in Pretoria.

Banks also married an illegal immigrant from Russia, Ekaterina Paderina. Katya managed to avoid deportation by marrying a Briton twice her age. For good measure she seduced the MP that her husband-of-convenience at the time asked for help to keep his beautiful Russian wife in Britain.

If it turns out Katya helped the FSB recruit Arron, I won’t be at all surprised.

33 Sam Haysom March 29, 2016 at 8:32 pm

I’m sure the chance of an exit visa had nothing to do with Cowen’s own wife agreeing to take the plunge. This site of all sites is like the worse site to be waving that argument around.

34 Dan in Euroland March 29, 2016 at 4:10 pm

Leave Europe, and found an Anglosphere block a la The Anglosphere Challenge by Bennett

35 JWatts March 29, 2016 at 4:32 pm

Why not just leave the EU, but keep trading with Europe? Is the rest of the EU going to refuse to trade with the UK on the same terms it gives Canada or the US? Is the EU going to petulantly punish the UK for leaving the club?

36 Patrick Laske March 29, 2016 at 7:11 pm

It seems perfectly rational to respond to incentives within a system while wishing for better incentives. This blog has railed against the home mortgage interest deduction, but I have no doubt both bloggers takes advantage of it.

37 Chip March 29, 2016 at 7:47 pm

Do Canada and Australia have no immigration or free trade agreements because they don’t belong to a political union?

The anti-Brexit argument is silly fear-mongering.

If the EU was more about markets and less about concentrating power in Brussels, there would be no issue.

38 Adrian Ratnapala March 30, 2016 at 12:10 am

Hmm, one of the many things I liked about living in England was the East-European Barristas etc. It still doesn’t make me feel that the EU is a good idea.

UKIP has anti-immigration agenda, which is partially justified and partially stupid. But after a Brexit, the UK will still be free to choose its own immigration policy, and allow all those Slovakians in if they want to. But if they don’t want to — then it is no one else’s business.

39 Alvin March 30, 2016 at 10:05 am

Nebraska would be completely forgotten were it not for the football program.

40 Alvin March 30, 2016 at 10:06 am

Sorry, meant for this to go under Tyler’s Nebraska post.

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