Uncommon Knowledge
John O’Sullivan: Brexit’s Past and Future Paths

John O’Sullivan: Brexit’s Past and Future Paths

October 29, 2018

Recorded on September 26, 2018.

As the Brexit deadline of March 2019 draws near, John O’Sullivan discusses the status of Brexit today and the history of Britain’s decision to enter the European Union in 1973. He explains how Britain’s entry into the European Union first came about under Margaret Thatcher. He argues that British citizens had objections to joining the European Union back in 1973 and those objections never went away. Over the past forty-five years, the British have become increasingly more skeptical and frustrated with the European Union and resent the degree of its interference in the government’s decision making.

O’Sullivan and Robinson talk about the upcoming March 2019 deadline set by Theresa May for Brexit to officially occur. They talk about the state of the government as it stands, its preparedness for Brexit, and the opposition to Brexit by some parts of the government and the younger citizens.

How the World Recovered: The 2008 Financial Crisis Ten Years Later

How the World Recovered: The 2008 Financial Crisis Ten Years Later

October 17, 2018

Recorded on September 28, 2018

Ten years ago, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression hit the United States and spread to other countries, including the United Kingdom. Here to discuss what happened then and where the world is now are former Federal Reserve governor Kevin Warsh and former chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne.

Kevin Warsh and George Osborne discuss the 2008 financial crisis, how they dealt with it at the time, what they would have done differently, and whether the economy is headed toward another downturn. Warsh discusses how the United States failed to realize how bad the crisis was until it was already too late. The crisis had a huge impact on Europe and the United States and set off a global panic. However, within two years the economy was already growing by 2 percent and the quantitative easing used by the Fed was no longer needed as the world changed.

Warsh and Osborne analyze the state of the US and UK economies today and the trade war with China. They argue that there are two ways to approach China: either try to contain it or co-opt it. Innovation and growth in the United States are necessary to prevent China from gaining more purchasing power and greater influence on the international market.  Osborne analyzes the effects Brexit could have on the single market and trade with the UK’s geographically closest trading partner, France, and airs his concerns about what Brexit means for the UK’s future. He argues that Margaret Thatcher, who helped create the single market in the EU, would never have voted to leave it.

While a future financial crisis is always possible, Warsh and Osborne end on optimistic notes: that there is still room for growth in the two countries’ economies and that a better financial future for many Americans and British is still possible through good economic policies, including lower taxes and less regulation.

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