Anger fueled EU vote, not logic


Jonathan Kirshner, a professor of international political economy at Cornell University’s government department, says the departure of the UK from the European Union shows that even in a stable democracy, an angry public will vote against its interests.


Kirshner says:

“The departure of the U.K. from the European Union will have a significantly negative effect on the British economy, provide an additional drag on an already sluggish global economy, and raise the possibility of the dissolution of the United Kingdom — leaving England diminished, isolated, and exposed.

“From an American and Global perspective, however, these considerable and unwelcome developments are of less concern than two underlying existential crises that are suggested by this outcome.

“First, it would appear that even in an established, sophisticated and stable democracy, the majority of a fearful and angry public will thoughtlessly vote for policies simply to express guttural frustration, even if the actual consequences of ‘victory’ will in fact make their problems worse.

“Second, the vote is suggestive of the possibility, however remote, of the unraveling of the entire European project. Despite its profound flaws – such as the management of the Euro – the EU has been an integral part of that very long period of peace and stability among its member states, a towering achievement now perhaps too easily taken for granted.”


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