From Capital and Conflict (GREAT BRITAIN)-
Tell me truly: is it possible that Brexit is bad for the City but good for Britain?
No one’s really asked this question yet, at least not directly. As someone who’s in the financial services industry, at least nominally, it’s probably not in my interests to raise the point. But the point is certainly in your interests. So let’s raise it.
I ask because JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon told the British public that Brexit is certainly bad for JPMorgan. Campaigning with the tone-deaf and doomed George Osborne, Dimon held forth on the issue. And in prepared remarks published by Bloomberg he was as direct as you could be. He said: “If the U.K. leaves the EU, we may have no choice but to re-organize our business model here. Brexit could mean fewer JPMorgan jobs in the U.K. and more jobs in Europe.”
It’s not a trifling issue. The company has 4,000 employees in Bournemouth alone. And if the rest of the UK-based financial services industry follows JPMorgan’s lead, you’re looking (potentially) at thousands of jobs relocated to the continent. With the jobs go the incomes that pay mortgages, rents, buy lattes, steaks, loafers, Ubers, and generally support the rest of the economy in south-east London.
But here’s my point: if we really are at the pointy end of an epic global debt binge, from which the financial services industry has benefitted more than anyone (except for government itself), then the financial services industry faces hard times anyway. Doing what’s best for the bankers may not be what’s best for Britain.
There. I said it.
As the old saying goes, you shouldn’t cut off your nose to spite your face. Brexit may cost the industry, or it may not. We don’t know. But no one’s asking if Britain’s long-term national interests are better served by having an economy that’s not wholly dependent on London-based money shuffling.
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