Acton Institute Powerblog

Globalization, Brexit, and virtue in the world of finance

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In a recent interview with MercatorNet, Samuel Gregg explains why the integration of markets is not in itself a bad thing.  Gregg starts out by explaining why Brexit does not contradict economic globalization, but why it is actually beneficial to the global economy.  Hey says:

But Brexit is also quite compatible with economic globalization. Economic globalization is rendering trade blocs such as the EU increasingly irrelevant. Britain now can choose to trade freely with whoever it wants, instead of waiting for every single member of the EU to agree.

The interview continues to talk about Gregg’s 2013 book Becoming Europe: Economic Decline, Culture, and How America Can Avoid a European Future and what exactly is America trying to avoid by not becoming Europe.  He explains:

The EU has made things worse because it encourages the myth of security-through-the-state, and because plenty of people working in the EU really believe in a type of Kantian perpetual peace through international institutions as a substitute for the deeper, more authentically European linkages that gave Europe its distinct identity.

A few questions later, Gregg addresses some of Senator Sanders’ misconceptions concerning the difference between fair trade and free trade by making the claim that free trade is fair trade.  He does this by making a moral critique of protectionism:

First, tariffs and subsidies actually constitute economic privileges for those groups that are not accorded to others. That is not just. Second, those who secure such privileges usually do so because they have access to politicians and legislators that others don’t. That is not just. Third, tariffs and privileges lock politically weaker groups – such as industries, businesses, and entrepreneurs in developing nations – out of global markets. That is surely unjust.

The interview concludes with a couple of questions in regards to “Wall Street” and the financial sector.  Gregg talks about virtue in the world of finance as well as his 2016 book, For God and Profit: How Banking and Finance Can Serve the Common Good.  The full interview can be read here.

Kyle Hanby

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