Historically the USA has been a balancing force in the world however is that about to change? Donald Trump has managed to create problems with most of America’s continental neighbors and Global allies. Although there may be genuine grievances held by the United States however badly thought out aggressive solutions causing alienation can only weaken the USA in the long run causing such large economies as Canada and Mexico to look elsewhere for trading partners and there is elsewhere.
While the West squabbles China is quietly getting on with the job. China is probably the world’s greatest trading nation and has been for 1000s of years. They understand they need all of us to become the world leader that they aspire to through trade and economic power.
During the early middle ages China had a larger maritime fleet than all the European combined fleets.
Zheng He 1371-1433 a Chinese mariner, explorer, diplomat, fleet admiral, and enslaved court eunuch during China’s early Ming dynasty. He was originally born as Ma He in a Muslim family, later adopted the conferred surname Zheng from Emperor Yongle.
Admiral and diplomat who helped extend the maritime and commercial influence of China throughout the regions bordering the Indian Ocean. He commanded seven naval expeditions almost a century before the Portuguese reached India by sailing around the southern tip of Africa.
He first set sail in 1405, commanding 62 ships and 27,800 men. The fleet visited Champa (now in southern Vietnam), Siam (Thailand), Malacca (Melaka), and the island of Java and then through the Indian Ocean to Calicut (Kozhikode) on the Malabar Coast of India and Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Zheng He, returned to China in 1407.
Zheng did 7 voyages including to the upper reaches of the Persian Gulf. My point these voyages although militarily strong where fundamentally trading expeditions on a scale far greater than anything Europe and the rest of the world could mount. Though a nuclear power China has for millennia understood economic power is far more important than contemporary nuclear power.
Today we have The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) or the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road is a development strategy proposed by the Chinese government which focuses on connectivity and cooperation between Eurasian countries, primarily the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the land-based Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) and the ocean-going Maritime Silk Road (MSR). Until 2016 the initiative was known in English as the One Belt and One Road Initiative(OBOR) but the Chinese came to consider the emphasis on the word “one” as misleading.
The Belt and Road Initiative addresses an “infrastructure gap” and thus has potential to accelerate economic growth across the Asia Pacific area and Central and Eastern Europe: a report from the World Pensions Council (WPC) estimates that Asia, excluding China, requires up to US$900 billion of infrastructure investments per year over the next decade, mostly in debt instruments, 50% above current infrastructure spending rates. The gaping need for long term capital explains why many Asian and Eastern European heads of state “gladly expressed their interest to join this new international financial institution focusing solely on ‘real assets’ and infrastructure-driven economic growth”.
China has by far the largest foreign currency reserves with over two and half times more than the second largest reserve holder, Japan. When China and Hong Kong reserves are considered together, the total is $3.6 trillion.5 Apr 2018
Even if only part of this dream is realised it has the potential to combine nearly 3 billion people in a trading partnership more if you add what China is doing in South America and Africa. It will be far more important for Canada and Mexico to find a way into this monolith rather than dealing with 380 million Americans. Remember Russia also skirts the Silk Road. China also has a relatively under-developed enormous home market that more and more emphasis is being placed on. China has been expanding shopping malls and ecommerce (ecommerce reaching $1.2Billion 2017) at a rapid rate shopping mall revenue growing at 8.1% to 2017 there is an expected fall to around 5% (mainly due to mergers) followed by a pickup.
China now has the finest high-speed rail infrastructure in the world. Beijing has just opened a new rail link to Tehran how difficult will that make it for the US to pressure the Iranian regime. The intention is to have fast rail links right into Gare du nord. It is the USA in the long run that will have to negotiate tariffs with a powerful China
There are Huge long-term dangers in trade protectionist policies and too much dependence on military power war has never been a solution the Chinese understand this issue. USA may find it has to negotiate its long-term way back into the club on a weakened basis. Donald Trump’s incredible deal making skills which we are yet to see may not be enough to even guarantee US future employment figures. Logic dictates that the US needs to stay a global participant totally contrarian to the Trump myopic naïve approach to world affairs. Unfortunately, the Trump philosophy is aimed at the home market and a large proportion of US citizens are detrimentally naïve when it comes to international affairs and geography. US Americans especially those in power are short term thinkers the Chinese have 3000 years of understanding the value of long term planning behind them and foremost is economic power. Economic power enables you to address poverty issues reducing the propensity to rebellion.
Figures confirmation: –
I know I am a photographer and artist so you may wonder about my credentials for discussing such an important issue as in or out of the European community. Through my work in handling creative projects for major City of London institutions I drifted into the financial world of the late 80s through the 90s including a stint running hedge funds and being a member of the board of directors on more than a few city companies.
The more I look at this referendum the more I believe it should never have happened. The decision on the 23rd of June will be taken on the basis of personal pride, hypothesis, the desire to be contrarian, supposition, ignorance and assumption. It is the man in the street who will sway the balance and there is not a political party that has given clear arguments. I’m not even sure that if the arguments were given clearly the average person could make a distinction. The concept of democracy does not exist in any country in any part of the globe today and probably with good reason that in a world of 7 billion people and growing there needs to unity and management. Now as a highly intelligent uncle of mine once said variety is the spice of life and I would certainly not want to live in a world where we are all the same or a world where 1984 is the norm. Striking a balance is what creating a comfortable planet is ideally all about – difficult for combative human nature. The contribution that immigrants have made to the UK is great in the NHS and business.
To quote from the Economist:-
Concern about the economic impact of immigration has centred on two areas: the effect foreigners have on native workers’ wages and employment; and the extent to which immigrants, in particular those from countries within the European Union who are free to move around at will, take from a system to which they have contributed little. Research by Christian Dustmann of University College London and Tommaso Frattini of the University of Milan focuses on the second.
By calculating European immigrants’ share of the cost of government spending and their contribution to government revenues, the scholars estimate that between 1995 and 2011 the migrants made a positive contribution of more than £4 billion ($6.4 billion) to Britain, compared with an overall negative contribution of £591 billion for native Britons. Between 2001 and 2011, the net fiscal contribution of recent arrivals from the eastern European countries that have joined the EU since 2004 has amounted to almost £5 billion. Even during the worst years of the financial crisis, in 2007-11, they made a net contribution of almost £2 billion to British public finances. Migrants from other European countries chipped in £8.6 billion.
The authors point out that the cost of some government services—in particular “pure public goods” such as defence spending—remains the same no matter what the population, so the overall cost of providing them to immigrants is zero. Calculate the amount per person, and the price for Britons goes down as the number of immigrants rises, since the cost is shared between a larger number of individuals.
Immigrants’ overall positive contribution is explained in part by the fact that they are less likely than natives to claim benefits or to live in social housing. Between 1998 and 2011 as many as 37% of natives were receiving some kind of state benefit or tax credit; European immigrants were nearly eight percentage points less likely to collect them. Those from Europe were also three percentage points less likely to live in social housing than Britons.
Another immigration myth that I would like explained is Britain is not member of the schengen agreement, so there is no restrictions on British border control. This points to a government failing.
This points to the immigrant argument as being somewhat of a ‘red herring’ and fear promoter.
The other issue is that immigration should not have any racial connotations it is purely a volume issue. The question I ask is why with strong government policy even from within the EU is it not possible to control immigration. The UK border force is undermanned and underfunded will this change outside the EU and don’t say some of the £350 million per week will go towards this that’s already spent on the NHS and elsewhere? Besides it is not a weekly £350 million contribution only without rebates/batteries not included.
There is also a spurious argument that rules are made by faceless unelected bureaucrats based in Brussels this is not entirely correct as there is a body of elected MEPs from each member state. Now I’m not saying I agree with the elected representatives on all issues much is wrong. I will though put forward an argument that to come out of the EU would put Britain in the hands of a small myopic political establishment that could erode any semblance of leaning towards some minor form of democratic governance, Within the EU there are 28 member states all arguing their agenda this does create a senate even if the strong percolate through to the top of the table, not true, Greece is an example of eating from the bottom of the table and it should be pointed out that the Greek debt was not compounded by the Greeks but by that blight on the financial world Goldman Sachs. When I see the infrastructure Spain has put in place using EU money, railways and Roads/highways years ahead of the UK I see a benefit as with many other EU countries that have benefited from membership. A country with infrastructure will grow. I ask is leaving and indication that our political elite are shirking their duty of strong negotiation. If the EU finances the Spanish infrastructure why can’t they finance a well-funded border force. We have seen European countries put up physical barriers to Middle Eastern immigration/refugees without substantial repercussion from the EU – why can’t a powerful member state such as the UK force change and get deals? The way to change a club is to be elected to the board of directors in order to do this you have to be a member of the club.
The UK has low productivity in relation to much of the developed world. If this was higher I could see more of a reason for Brexit. Trade deals will take time to negotiate and breaking into the Asian pacs and US American continent pacs will be a long-term project. These pacs are already set in their procedures and have been for many years. It is possible but will take a considerable amount of time. Canada has been trying to ratify a deal for nearly 5 years. Norway is a very wealthy country and would say they are better off outside the Union however Norway has some products vital to Europe and the world mainly substantial oil. Norway is also currently trying to renegotiate some of it’s EEA (European Economic Area) deals for trading with the EU. It is in a different position to Britain but all is not well if you need to renegotiate some of your arrangements. There is a global drift towards trading blocks to name some; African Union (AU), Union of South American Nations (USAN), Central American Integration System (SICA), Eurasian Economic Community (EAEC), Arab League (AL). Although the EU was not originally created as a trading group but to reduce the possibility of further wars in the European zone it has developed into a strong trading block with the largest GDP in the world giving it massive negotiating powers..
Most car manufacturers in the UK have foreign ownership and are here for the access to a 508 million market the biggest trading block in the world with the biggest GDP. If their market goes from 508 million to 65 million it is naive to believe there will not be redundancies. Also countries like Spain Italy Germany already have the infrastructure to accommodate car manufacturing so it is not beyond the possibility for companies to move camp. This is only one of many foreign-owned business sectors that find the UK legislatively comfortable to operate from but don’t be under any illusion most also point to Europe 45% of UK exports go to Europe.
The City of London generates 22% of the UK’s GDP. The current job environment in the City is one of despair that generates a culture appearing to be greed. The city is a vicious hire and fire culture forcing employees to reach for greater and great targets. There is a general recognition that like justice regulations need to be seen to be done a blind lady of regulation. There is far too much incest between the political establishment and the banking and fund management fraternity. With a vote for exit and a further lowering of manufacturing production the dependence on the City could become even greater. This could lead to blind eye despair banking and fund management taking even more dodgy capital from despotic regions of the world, the city’s best method for increasing business will be to deregulate. Remember what was said to Cameron at the conference on corruption that took place some months ago, when the president of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari was asked when his government would commence tackling corruption his reply was “when you stop taking the money” . The City is already a culture of despair and knee jerk regulation. The need to pump up the capital flows through the city due to lower industrial productivity could end up being and even greater necessity.
Brexit is a brave idea a step in the dark with promoters falsely believing that the political class exist that can manage the transition they have not existed in the past so why suddenly now? Strongly negotiated membership could have many benefits and does not necessarily mean giving up a vague form of sovereignty with an even vaguer belief in obscure democracy. Closer EU integration could be contested from within if not then maybe that is the time to say we will leave this could be a negotiating hand. I don’t believe past negotiations have been very strong but contested by weak UK political management who have failed in their obligations to the British public. Also it should be noted that the UK stays as a member of the European Council.
Few of the general public understand the issues and my conclusion is that such a decision is for the elected parties to fight out in the elected houses with all their expert advisors and to make a parliamentary decision. Unfortunately we currently have a self-interested political system with little interest in discussing the options but more interested in scoring political points.
I have only mentioned some of my thoughts here and I sure the exit group could put up strong counter-arguments to these thoughts and that is what is needed. There is much wrong with Brussels management and the question needs to be asked can Brussels be forced to change. Many member states have substantial grievances with the EU. These grievances are also a reason why the EU will not be able to strike favorable deals with the UK, as such deals would open the floodgates. the EU can’t also offer a deal to the UK that is better than member states get.
Shane Aurousseau – Photographer