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>How does this explain Brexit?

Brexit is a political decision. It's not inherently good or bad, some people with so and so interests find it good, others with so and so interests find it bad. Similarly, some people think other people voted that "against their own best interests", other people think that they voted according to their interests just fine, and that the condescending ones don't really know better.

Countries signed up to the EU because of certain proposed benefits (among them, the idea that they need to keep Germany bound, an openly stated goal of early diplomats and politicians that were fundamental in the creation of ECSC/EEC/EU. Long after that, Germany re-united, took the de facto economic leadership of EU, and now votes for AfD.

(For a great overview of the climate and the tensions behind EU's creation and later development, I suggest: https://www.amazon.com/New-Old-World-Perry-Anderson/dp/18446... ).

Furthermore, EU has always been problematic from a democratic perspective, with bureaucrats at the helm, and an opaque process of decision-making (complete with several non-official-bodies, non-accountable to anyone, that nevertheless convene and take decisions that affect all member states). Add to that certain "circles of influence" between countries due to historical, cultural and economic ties, where a country might control several other countries votes (and thus have undue influence in EU decisions) and it's not that great a bundle deal.

So, if some country doesn't see the benefits in EU membership, they can always flee. Whether it will hurt its economy is not the be-all end-all question to make the decision "rational" or not, as a) the EU is not exactly a paragon of economic stability, b) economies can rebound, c) the economic impact is not the ultimate criterion by which countries decide everything they do. (As for an open market and open standard they can always happen across European countries without common single law and economic steering from Brussels -- I don't think China and the US for example have much issues in trading, despite not belonging to the same federation).

It's also about personal interests. Young voters might vote Bremain for reasons like "it's the progressive thing to do", "we want a united Europe", "I want to be able to work in any EU country" etc. Older voters might be more cynical on to what EU actually offers because of their experience, and they also don't have much to gain by EU mobility (nobody --and by that I mean extremely few-- is going to leave everything and start a new career in France in their 50s and 60s) or other things that might be enticing to young voters. That might be selfish of them, but it's not senile or irrational: it's pragmatic.

In other words, no, Brexit is not some "proof" that older British get increasingly unwise. At worst, it could mean that they can be wrong in some decision, as is the case with everyone. But the question was not whether they can never cast a wrong vote, but whether they have more experience, control over emotion, better decision making empathy, and other such traits TFA talks about than their younger cohorts. You can have all those and still make this or that bad decision.

an opaque process of decision-making (complete with several non-official-bodies, non-accountable to anyone, that nevertheless convene and take decisions that affect all member states)

Can you specify what you mean by this?

Bodies like the Euro-group, a non-official body that "although it can impose tough conditions for bailing out struggling member countries or rescuing banks, it publishes no official minutes, has no headquarters, and the people who function as its secretariat have other day jobs".

Ok, I see what you mean. The fundamental problem is that the Euro group doesn't officially exist as a separate unit within the EU.

The constitutional agreements of the Union essentially pretend that all member states are also automatically members of the currency union... But obviously this is not the case, because so many members either opted out or haven't yet been admitted into the Euro.

Since the informal Euro group has no official function, its power is executed through whatever decisions the finance ministers can push forward in their home countries.

Should the meetings' minutes be public? I think so. But it's not clear to me where to draw the line. If the finance minister of Germany calls the finance minister of Italy, we don't expect a public transcript. If there are a few more counterparts on the conference call, same thing. What are the criteria for when it becomes an official meeting of an inofficial body?

They're the finance ministers of member countries. For them to be there someone has to vote in the respective governments...

Indirect democracy is still democracy. Heck, it's even the form of democracy 90% of democracies out there use.

>They're the finance ministers of members country. For them to be there someone has to vote in the respective governments...

They don't keep records of what is said there, there is no official voting process, the pressures and blackmails inside the room are kept mum, and the decisions are then carried on.

This is not indirect democracy in the sense a parliament of representatives are -- this still has procedures, official records, transparency etc.

This is having your representatives participate in behind-closed-doors deals, and then present decisions taken in them as fait accompli.

I'd want the source of your quote first ;)

> "Indirect democracy is still democracy"

How about an oligarchy, is that still a democracy?


Of course not, but that's assuming that the shadowy "Eurogroup" decides everything.

Which is not true. The European Parliament is democratically elected, the European Council is (indirectly) democratically elected, the European Council is literally the heads of states elected, again, democratically, by member countries.

The European Commission is not democratically elected, because guess what, no public administration is fully democratically elected. No state could ever function if its "plumbers" are changed 100% every 4 years. The UK doesn't do it, Switzerland doesn't do it, Australia doesn't do it, France doesn't do it, etc.

No state could ever function if its "plumbers" are changed 100% every 4 years.

To be fair, the United States tries to do mostly that -- and the utter dysfunction of 2017 has demonstrated the dangers of that approach.

Not even Trump does that. Imagine replacing all librarians or doctors or lawyers or whatever, down to the lowest levels of state administration. And then do that every 4 years. Insanity! :)

> "No state could ever function if its "plumbers" are changed 100% every 4 years."

We're not talking about the "plumbers", we're talking about the "bosses", and I'd suggest to you it's a bit of a stretch to call an institution where corporations have a very strong influence on the selection of bosses as something that is truly democratic. Representative or direct democracy is required to counteract the influence of the rich and powerful.

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