Some of you know that one of my hobbies is geopolitics and probably everybody knows that both Louise and I came to Canada from Europe (Louise still did not loose her English accent). We both have part of our families in England. A lot of our clients asked us what do we think about BREXIT?
- After the fall of Berlin wall and liberation of Eastern and Central Europe from Soviet grip, Europeans felt too safe. They concentrated mostly on delivering welfare states in all parts of Europe via the European Union, which is mostly a trade/welfare organization. The EU completely ignored cries for creation of perimeter defenses of the Schengen area of Europe, where internal border controls were abolished.
- Europe quickly and comfortably forgot its “recent” history and lost its self preservation instinct. Economical issues, delivery of wealth was at the top of the agenda. Politically, it meant a classical fight of left against right, where both sides of political spectrum made lots of promises for well being of citizens (handouts or tax cuts). But the Great Recession of 2008-2009 , together with Russian assertive moves in previous satellite states , drop of oil prices, militant environmentalism, movement of population from war and famine devastated areas of Africa and Middle East changed how the majority of population see the world. Many of citizens of developed countries feel betrayed and blame greed of rich and globalization for their stagnated wages and little or no progress in their standard of living. It is a lack of so called “upward mobility” (no progress in your well being, being poorer than previous generation, no advance in careers).
- It does not help, that millennials believe that they need to live a more “balanced life” to be happier. They are spending money which previous generations saved and reinvested. Mainly on
immediate satisfaction items such as holidays, toys and enjoyment of any kind, renting instead of buying houses.
- So here comes the paradigm shift : Instead of battles fought along the left/right line, it is now along rich/poor line. Classical weapons in this new conflict do not work so disgruntled masses which consist in Europe also of graduates of Universities are using a new set of tools such as militant environmentalism, religion and nationalism to change the balance of power and they resort to giving their votes to extreme politicians left and/or right…
- They want change even if it hurts. They vote for Notley in Alberta, Trump in US, right wing nationalistic candidates in France and Hungary, they support the extreme left in Greece and Spain. And here comes BREXIT, the British version of expression of frustrations from all the above.