In the conventional narrative, Brexit is about immigration, escaping the EU’s bureaucrats of Brussels, class war or political theater. It may be about all of these, but beneath these surface issues lies a deeper dynamic: a recognition that the entire system is broken and a new arrangement of power, responsibility and risk is required.
In this view, Brexit is a positive step in the right direction, away from centralization and central planning and towards decentralized arrangements that enable more dynamic, localized solutions.
Longtime readers know that I focus on scarcity as the source of value creation: what’s scarce generates value, profits and high wages, and what’s abundant declines in value due to supply and demand.
Correspondent Ron G. views Brexit as a systemic step towards solving existing scarcities. Scarcity is not limited to goods and services; agency and autonomy can be scarce; responsibility that connects risk and return can be scarce; level playing fields can be scarce; rule of law can be scarce; opportunity can be scarce; entrepreneurial drive can be scarce; self-reliance can be scarce; social innovation can be scarce; social capital can be scarce, and the willingness to accept losses and the risks required to change the power structure can be scarce.
Political expediency can be over-abundant, as can protected privilege.
Ron submitted this photo and commentary on Brexit and scarcity:
Here are Ron’s comments:
“Mankind’s fundamental quest is to survive and prosper by solving scarcity.
BREXIT is simply a modern example of an old pattern of behavior that seeks to resolve scarcity, (the shrinking pie of economic opportunity and ownership), through reconfiguration of relationships to reallocate resources to enable more equitable equilibrium in supply and demand.
As a prelude to BREXIT, housing in Britain, in particular, had become out of reach for those that have labored under the assumption that hard work, education, and a good job would lead to an ability to own a home, which many young Britons now find economically out of their reach; many Britons blame the government’s monetary policy of zero percent interest rates for inflation and unaffordable housing
In another sign of frustration, a few years ago a graffiti sign expressed a sentiment of the youth in Britain, one of them posted at Bell Lane near Liverpool St. Station, it read: ‘Sorry, the lifestyle you ordered is out of stock.’
The Bank of England has continued policies that have contributed to the exasperation expressed through the referendum, this along with the burdens of having an open country and economy that increased labor supply which in turn increased demand for housing and available credit to driving the asset bubble.
This type of scarcity, being seen in Britain, is very common throughout history and is generally driven by the confluence of interests that connects and drives centralized, unified policies between bankers, merchants (in today’s world global corporations) and governments.
Turning back the clock a bit, I would like to include a couple of quotes by an amazingly brilliant and eloquent commentator in economics, Fredic Bastiat in his writings from 1850:
“I do not dispute their right to invent social combinations, to advertise them, to advocate them, and to try them upon themselves, at their own expense and risk. But I do dispute their right to impose these plans upon us by law – by force – and to compel us to pay for them with our taxes.”
“Self-preservation and self-development are common aspirations among all people. And if everyone enjoyed the unrestricted use of his faculties and the free disposition of the fruits of his labor, social progress would be ceaseless, uninterrupted, and unfailing. But there is also another tendency that is common among people. When they can, they wish to live and prosper at the expense of others.”
While old tools based in centralized control have held the power bases together, and have been useful to the management of empires, they have have become outdated and are an inadequate means of resolving the complexities of bringing equilibrium in supply and demand and the distribution of power.
New forms of social connection for production and consumption have emerged and are replacing centralized models; distributed models, even in formally centralized systems of energy and water, are coming online at a rapid pace.
These systems are fueled by the realization of democratic economy and autonomy, connected through a digital technology template; more distributed and socially self-aligning, this combination of digital conduits and marketplace opportunity fit lock and key into humanity’s biological need for autonomy and dignity of choice.
To those like me who have been compelled to study foundations and dynamics in human systems as a means to understanding better choices, BREXIT is not a surprise but simply an the most recent public demand to bring about a more acceptable outcome.
BREXIT is a symptom of an inadequate system for meeting human needs, driven by many converging factors, factors shared by all modern economies: underlying complexities growing due to connections to a more globalized world, and an inability to resolve scarcities through centralized systems of management and control. This underlying complexity will only continue to grow.
Centralized control by any domain keeper are but a delusion, as I believe there will be no wresting back control from the decentralized solutions that are growing in a scale and complexity beyond their toolsets and bandwidth.
I believe we have entered a critical but wonderful age, the age of reemergence of decentralization and decentralized governance; may we preserve this opportunity for the gift that it is to life, liberty and property.”
Thank you, Ron, for placing Brexit in a more expansive and insightful context.
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