I have very little in common with the arguments of the Leave Campaign, and in particular reject the anti-immigration thrust of the Campaign. However, I welcome Brexit as offering an enhanced ability and chance to experiment with new policies that dare more economic freedom.
We need more entrepreneurial freedom to creatively exploit the opportunities of our burgeoning technological age, accelerate progress. The tendency of the EU to regulate and ‘harmonize’ more and more aspects of social and economic life in the name of protecting citizens and in the name of creating a level economic playing field is paralysing entrepreneurial innovation and leads to stagnation. The UK society and economy can now escape from this paralysing embrace of the EU’s one-fits-all the next prosperity potentials of our civilisation can only be explored and discovered if the straight jacket of the nanny state is gradually loosened and dismantled.interventionist regulatory overreach. Whether it will make decisive steps in this direction is of course another question. There is no guarantee, but now there is at least this possibility which did not exist within the EU frame. I believe that all the seemingly entrenched societal problems of our time—endemic unemployment, poverty, social exclusion, the so-called housing crisis, retirement finance crisis, social mobility crisis etc. etc. are so many invitations for an unleashed entrepreneurial problem solving creativity, once the state gets out of the way.
I am convinced that the next prosperity potentials of our civilisation can only be explored and discovered if the straight jacket of the nanny state is gradually loosened and dismantled. (The bigger the scale of a country or block, the easier it becomes for the state to expand its scope. That’s why I favour small countries: they must keep their state action small in scope and cannot afford to erect trade barriers or impose heavy tax and regulatory burdens.) It’s time to roll back the state and for us to take the risk of giving more freedom and self-responsibility to us all, unleashing entrepreneurial creativity, organisational experimentation as well as individual aspiration and empowerment. I think we are ready and well equipped for this, at least in the most advanced societies and in the most advanced arenas of the world economy. One-fits-all rules are not the way to create a fair, meritocratic, competitive, level playing field. The inevitably differentiated world societal landscape needs adaptive elbow room everywhere. If the same rules are imposed on different contexts then there can be no fair competition at all. Real competition requires real freedoms. If the most advanced arenas impose their standards on less advanced arenas then they only protect themselves via political (police) means, avoiding economic competition. Gladly the UK still has less restrictive employment rules than EU countries like Germany, France, Italy and Austria. A firm like ZHA does not exist and could not exist in Germany. I cannot imagine how we could stay cutting edge, if each redundancy round The only real effective protection of employees is an unhampered and therefore fluid employment marketwould leave us not with the people we most value but with the people protected by the prescribed social indicators.
I believe the whole approach of trying to protect employees via the imposition of rules is misconceived and backfires to the detriment of all. The only real effective protection of employees is an unhampered and therefore fluid employment market, where employees find plentiful alternative work opportunities or find it is free and easy to set up shop themselves, due to a very liberal business environment. Labour markets will be rich and fluid when firms no longer have to anticipate paralysing difficulties to sever relations if things do not work out, and where all are freely creative in their contracting offers and can freely compete and improve accordingly. In contrast an overregulated labour market is a frozen labour market where holding a job becomes an entrenched privilege and reinforces the unproductive mentality to hold tight even if satisfaction is missing on both sides of the employment bond. Protections, e.g. anti-discrimination laws, came in far too late, after real discrimination had already disappeared in the advanced countries and the respective protections (prescribing what nobody violates) seem to have largely degenerated into a tool for routine abuse by those who cannot or will not perform. (Discrimination goes against the vital incentives of employers for whom only merit delivering market-measured success can count and therefore always and everywhere emerged from the workforce itself rather than from the employers’ side.) The UK has only been semi-independent from the EU’s restrictive tendencies, and the results of EU employment dispute cases have until now been feeding into UK case law. Generally, my view is that the law should arbitrate freely contracted relations rather than imposing universal standards that constrain voluntary arrangements and arrest the potential adaptive agility and evolutionary dynamic of the legal system.
The imposition of standards also impinges harmfully on the development sector. The amount of “protective” standards for real estate developments in the UK is as ludicrously prescriptive as elsewhere in the EU. There are national standards, London standards and impositions from the various London Boroughs. For residential developments every room The amount of “protective” standards for real estate developments in the UK is as ludicrously prescriptive as elsewhere in the EU.size is prescribed, the overall size of apartments cannot be below a certain minimum, the number and size of balconies, the overall unit mix, the maximum number of apartments accessible via a shared core etc. etc. On top of this come the prescriptive land use and density allocations, as well as ancient, overly restrictive right-of-light restrictions no longer compatible with the high density requirements of our post-Fordist network society craving for (high productivity) urban concentration. Then 30-40% of so-called “affordable housing” (compulsively rationed housing) is imposed on all developments above a certain size, which according to London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s intention is soon to be increased to 50% across London.
One really wonders what (if anything) is left to the creativity of developers and their architects? What can developers compete on in this context? How can they use the market as a discovery process to tease out and test the desires and requirements of a dynamic population during our changing times? And who are these standards meant to protect? Protection from what? All that I can see in such restrictions is the curbing of choice, and thus the devaluation of everybody’s incomes as none of us gets to spend our money on the kind of things, places, locations and life we would like to spend it on. Especially the rule that demands minimum apartment sizes pushes many out of the more central locations they would like to live at, happy to trade centrality for size. However such trades are prevented and we are all that much poorer for that.
a post-Brexit UK will be more accessible to the world’s talents who feel attracted to London and its employment opportunitiesFinally, concerning immigration, I believe that despite the fact that the Leave Campaign was all about curbing immigration, I feel that Brexit entails the chance to evolve a more open, immigration-friendly society and economy. The conservative government understands full well that the UK’s prosperity relies on immigration to enhance the UK workforce. The problem is that for immigration to work, immigration rules must be carefully crafted in relation to welfare entitlements. Immigration cannot imply a free for all, not even in a contained zone of relatively advanced prosperity like the EU, as conditions are still far from even across the EU. The UK government’s proposals to limit access to welfare benefits for EU immigrants for the first years—aimed at immigrants from Eastern Europe where welfare provisions are very different—were denied by the EU as an unacceptable form of discrimination. This inability to sensibly manage the relationship between immigration and welfare meant that some other ways had to be found to contain overall numbers and this containment effort hurts globally competing businesses like ZHA, who look at the whole world labour market as search space for professional creative talent, talent which is being trained here but has to be sent home due to the UK’s current lack of freedom to manage its immigration.
According to this analysis, we might hope that a post-Brexit UK will be more accessible to the world’s talents who feel attracted to London and its employment opportunities, and who should in my view get the chance to prove themselves, thrive and make us—and the world—more productive and prosperous in the process.