RogerBW's Blog

An argument for the UK to remain as part of the EU 23 June 2016

This is quite separate from the political arguments, which I don't intend to go into even today. It's a very simple appeal to money.

Assume the UK has left the EU.

If I am a German or Dutch or Belgian purchaser of things (goods, services, whatever), why should I bother to go through the extra hassle and paperwork of dealing with a non-EU supplier such as the UK, when there's no compelling cost advantage in doing so? Instead I'll buy from somewhere that's still in the EU. So the UK loses export sales. (Buying from China is worth the paperwork because it's much cheaper. Buying from the UK isn't.)

If I am a British purchaser of things, I can expend extra time and money to deal with an EU supplier or I can use the much more restricted domestic options, so I'll end up paying more for a poorer product. Both of these are worse than the current situation, where I can freely buy from wherever in the EU is the best fit to my needs.

This ends up meaning more costs and fewer options for everyone. (Though the larger my organisation is, the less it cares about this sort of thing because it's already making international deals.)

If the UK leaves the EU but remains as part of the EEA, it'll have to pay for the privilege, but without the significant say it already has in EU politics.

This is very much the same as the standard free trade argument: everyone is better off with more suppliers to choose between, and everyone is better off with a larger potential market for the things they sell. But we don't have global free trade (and the people pushing for it are in practice using it to enshrine rent-seeking as a global standard), so being part of the local bloc is the best available option.

The counterarguments usually come down to subsidising inefficient industries, and I'd much rather subsidise people: instead of propping up their dead-end jobs, give them money to live while they go and learn to do something more useful instead.

Tags: politics

  1. Posted by Michael Cule at 11:54am on 23 June 2016

    Most of the arguments in favour of the EU seem to boil down to money.

    My more idealistic friends find this sordid and bewail the fact that REMAIN isn't being more idealistic.

    Myself I suspect that people are more interested in their bellies and would like to remind people about the state of British cuisine in 1975....

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 12:25pm on 23 June 2016

    I have lots of idealism but I didn't particularly fancy posting it here. Mostly because I suspect that some of the people I know are of differing opinions and, like you, I don't want to get into that argument at least on this blog.

    Garlic: Dangerous Foreign Vegetable, Give Me Back My Rosbif.

  3. Posted by Chris at 04:24pm on 23 June 2016

    Garlic: something my mother used to cook with if my father was not at home, on account of it made him sick.

    Olive oil: something we brought back from France in quantity when we went on holiday, because the only shop where you could buy it in England was the chemist's.

    As for the state of cuisine in 1975, what has the EU to do with it? Our cuisine is more influenced by America, because that's where we get our ideas about what to sell in supermarkets. Oh, and by the Indian subcontinent, and Latin America, and the West Indies.... I don't think it was Europe which was responsible for chilli being added to everything over the past fifteen or twenty years, either. (Spit.)

    Neither Remain nor Leave has been anything but stupid and offensive and adversarial during the whole blasted campaign, as far as I have heard, and neither has told the truth about anything much. And the word "could" does not mean "will", either. Pah.

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