The difference here is what?

The first problem here is the term “single market”. Brexiteers and remainers alike seem to cling to a 19th-century notion of separate nations making their own products and trading them with other countries. The chief political project is then to lower or ideally abolish tariffs so that the so-called comparative advantages of free trade kick in.

Last week chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier called this view “nostalgic”, and for good reason. The EU is rapidly evolving into something far more ambitious than just a free trade area: it is in the process of becoming one huge economic zone governed by a single set of rules and standards and overseen by a single European court of justice, striking trade deals with the rest of the world and deriving its logic and coherence from the four famous freedoms of goods, capital, services and labour. Products such as cars, computers or aeroplanes are now built from components made in factories and production units scattered across the EU, with employees moving seamlessly between them. For this reason “single economy” is a far better term than “single market”.

The really great joy of this is that the author is Joris Luyendijk.

You know, the bloke who did the series about how London is just ruled by international finance and isn’t that terrible? That London does the international finance and Wolfsburg the car making being just the working out of comparative advantage inside a single economy…..

25 comments on “The difference here is what?

  1. The assembly of computers in the EU relies on components made in EU factories. Really? I think that will be news to every CPU, RAM, GPU, SSD, HDD and motherboard manufacturer in the world.

  2. Tangentially on-topic- Brexit bill passed 326-290. Even without the 10 DUP and 7 Labour votes, the bill would still have passed.

    Presume all 17 of those votes were cast against the bill, that would have given 309-307.

    But it’s nice to know what Labour really thinks of their heartland vote. As if we didn’t already know.

  3. “So called comparative advantage”.

    I reserve the right to deny any reality I wish, and even start believing it again later in the article if it suits the tactical needs of the moment.

  4. For this reason “single economy” is a far better term than “single market”.

    Probably. But the extension of that is that it really needs a single polity, ever closer union in the jargon, and that’s where we need to part company because by and large we have a different view of the world on this side of La Manche.

  5. What i think Joris is saying is “we’re trying to build a country here!” but if the UK goes to USA and says how ’bout a specific deal on the car trade? The USA doesn’t go “oh how nostalgic of you!”

  6. It is also worth noting that, of the four freedoms, that of services is in practice extremely limited (try setting up as a lawyer anywhere on the continent). This might be a relevant point for discussions in the service-oriented UK, perhaps?

  7. He is of course wrong. Nations do not make their own products and trade them with other nations; people and businesses located in different nations make products and trade them with other people and businesses.

  8. This bit really gets me: “striking trade deals with the rest of the world”

    It basically sums up the EU – protecting “Europeans” from the wild uncivilised savage world

  9. From the quote: “The EU is rapidly evolving into something far more ambitious than just a free trade area”

    Can an institution be described as rapidly evolving if it has been following a single path of nation building for 40+ years?

  10. The EU is rapidly evolving into something far more ambitious than just a free trade area: it is in the process of becoming one huge economic zone governed by a single set of rules and standards and overseen by a single European court of justice

    Good luck with that. BTW, is Joris a time traveller from 1992 or something? Nice of him to enlighten us on the Maastricht Treaty, but I’d prefer he gave us a review of Alien³.

    Mr Ecks – Is this Joris twat British?

    Legally, I don’t think you can be called “Joris” and qualify for British citizenship. What kind of a name is “Joris”, anyway? Were his parents hoping for an ugly girl?

  11. “Nostalgia” as Barnier used it, refers to trading with the EU wit out tariffs. So to write in lauditory terms of the EU “striking trade deals” whilst decrying the British desire to do so really can only be done if the ink is coming out both ends of your pen simultaneously.

    But, as Tim points out, this is what the guy does.

  12. “The EU is rapidly evolving into something far more ambitious than just a free trade area…”

    Yes, more ambitious, but ill-conceived, out of date, undemocratic, hugely expensive and doomed to failure.

  13. I’m involved in logistics, one way or another.

    A minor query arose earlier regarding a exhaust part going from A to B. Or rather, not A to B.

    The supplier is based in Wisconsin, though the orders are taken in Illinois, and the stock stored in Tennessee. The part was manufactured in China, and the recipient is in Austria.

    The part went China to Tennessee, to us in Illinois, and will be flown to Frankfurt, then onto Austria.

    This is not terribly uncommon. The thought occurs that the EU is just no longer relevant to today’s world.

  14. “So, one big country with regional specialisations rather than free-trading small countries with the same specialisations.

    Someone please explain to Joris that these are basically the same proposition.”

    They are not the same proposition because free trading small countries allow for a wide range of tax regimes, social security, personal freedom. One big country allows for none of this, which is why they want it.

  15. BIND

    But the extension of that is that it really needs a single polity, ever closer union in the jargon, and that’s where we need to part company because by and large we have a different view of the world on this side of La Manche.

    Basically what I was going to write, but better-put.

    Which reveals something I do not understand at all. A lot of the pro-Remain crowd are now talking almost exclusively about how Brexit will make people poorer, as if the value of everything comes down to money (which given the identities of some of these people is a bit of an about-face, though for business-types at least it’s more consistent).

    But by acknowledging that the source of the added value they suppose flows from a single mega-economy governed by a single system of laws, they are logically accepting that there is an underlying political project and concomitant issues of demos, identity and destiny. And at the end of the day, don’t those issues ultimately require democratic consent, preferably by a broad and deep consensus rather than at best a narrow one?

    Yet I don’t believe opinion polls have ever suggested a clear majority of British voters expressing a desire for deep political integration and for the European identity to supplant their British one. And the issue was largely swept under the carpet during the referendum campaign. Very few people have stood up and actively argued for Britons to define themselves as more European, to welcome more governance from Brussels and so on. (One long-running exception to this is Eddie Izzard, and I actually admire his attempts at persuading Brits to wrap themselves up in the EU flag – partly because it is at least honest, partly because he is an authentic campaigner for it and had been so for long before the referendum, and partly because the perpetual sheer bloody futility of it amuses me.) If you accept that there is a necessity for a deep political project, you also have to accept that its attempts to get the British public on-board with it have been utterly unsuccessful, and questions about personal and national identity don’t have “right” and “wrong” answers that you can accuse people of being idiots for. A person might well be an idiot in your view for thinking that stopping thousands of poor Polish and Romanian farmers coming over to compete for their job could possibly exert a negative pressure on their wages, think that if you will. But can a person really be an intellectual inferior for feeling more British than European?

  16. @Hallowed Be
    This one?

    I sprang to the stirrup, and Joris, and he;
    I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped all three;

    Robert Browning – How they Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix

  17. “A lot of the pro-Remain crowd are now talking almost exclusively about how Brexit will make people poorer,”

    We said that to the Americans, the Irish and the Scots, and they still said “we don’t care, we *STILL* want to be free”. That’s what they can’t understand, that benefits may have disbenefits that are worth paying for. Yea gods, have they never been shopping. “I want this avocado, but WAHHH!!!! it means I won’t have this money in my purse any more.”

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