Samir’s Selection 07/05/2016 (a.m.)

  • tags: Jupiter spacecraft Juno NASA planetary astronomy

  • The economists who foresaw the backlash against globalisation…Dani Rodrik of Harvard University is the author of the best-known such critique. In the late 1990s he pointed out that deeper economic integration required harmonisation of laws and regulations across countries. Differences in rules on employment contracts or product-safety requirements, for instance, act as barriers to trade. Indeed, trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership focus more on “non-tariff barriers” than they do on tariff reduction. But the consequences often run counter to popular preferences: the French might find themselves barred from supporting a French-language film industry, for example.Deeper integration, Mr Rodrik reckoned, will therefore lead either to an erosion of democracy, as national leaders disregard the will of the public, or will cause the dissolution of the nation state, as authority moves to supranational bodies elected to create harmonised rules for everyone to follow. These trade-offs create a “trilemma”, in Mr Rodrik’s view: societies cannot be globally integrated, completely sovereign and democratic—they can opt for only two of the three. In the late 1990s Mr Rodrik speculated that the sovereignty of nation states would be the item societies chose to discard. Yet it now seems that economic integration may be more vulnerable….

    tags: globalisation trade employment freedom publicopinion cooperation economics identity unemployment

    • Already the un-codified (and some would say “unwritten”) constitution may be saving the pro-EU political class from their own folly and complacency. The referendum was never binding in law (as this law and policy blog pointed out nine days before the vote). Indeed, the referendum had little legal – as opposed to political – significance. It was a glorified consultation exercise. The real decision has to be made afterwards, as a distinct legal act. This is the decision envisaged by the now-famous “Article 50″ – the EU treaty provision which deals with member states wanting to leave the EU.
    • The prime minister David Cameron was expected to make that decision immediately, on the day of the result. But he did not. He has left it to his successor to make. This deft uncoupling of the referendum result from the formal decision to quit the EU was significant. In my view, it will become the first of three steps the still pro-EU UK government will take to delay Brexit – and perhaps will delay it so long that it never happens.

    • The reason the government may get away with this manoeuvre is because the leaders of the Leave campaign either did not expect to win or naively thought winning a referendum would be enough. In either case there was no plan: no notion of any follow-through. And so when the government became wrong-footed nothing was done. They had won the Referendum Battle, but they did not act swiftly to also win the Brexit War.
    • The first step has already happened: Mr Cameron snapped the tie between the referendum result and the Article 50 notification.
    • The second step will be when the government says that the form of the decision will require some form of parliamentary vote: either a resolution or a motion, or even a fresh statute. Views vary among legal pundits on whether this is strictly necessary — my view is that it is not, and if the prime minister and cabinet had decided on referendum day to make an immediate notification, no court would have quashed the decision or injuncted him from making the notification. But it is a convenient view for a procrastinating government to adopt, and the result of any parliamentary vote cannot be taken for granted by leave supporters. Few members of parliament or peers support Brexit.
    • The third step will be the proposal of preconditions before further action. Many will remember Gordon Brown’s “five tests” for UK to join the euro (which were never tests in any real sense, but that detail was not important). Already contenders for the Tory leadership, such as Theresa May, the home secretary, are talking of situations being right and that things will be done when they are good and ready. This vagueness will no doubt shortly convert into more formal terms. After all, this would only be what any responsible government would do before taking ever such an important action.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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