Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Perry G. Mehring — Channeling Charles Kindleberger on Brexit

What would Charlie have made of Brexit?
Charles P. Kindleberger’s very last book-length effort was the slim volume titled Centralization versus Pluralism, a historical examination of political-economic struggles and swings within some leading nations (1996). In his frame, the historical struggles and swings he recounts–in the Dutch Republic, Germany, France, Britain, Canada, The United States, Japan and China–were all driven by a fundamental contradiction between the logic of economics and the logic of politics.
From a simple-minded [economic] viewpoint, the world is the optimum economic area, with its constituent countries committed to free trade, a single international currency, and harmonised standards, whereas the optimum social area is much smaller, and based on the criterion that a social unit should be small enough for an individual to know that he or she counted.

The record of history, at least within individual nations, seems to be about swings between each of these separate logics, now one way and now the other, with no sense that one is a more fundamental force than the other.…
Channeling Charles Kindleberger on Brexit
Perry G. Mehring
ht Mark Thoma at Economist's View

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