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Season 4 - Episode 6
Brexit and the global trading system

Daniel Hannan is a renowned British journalist, author, and 17-year Member of the European Parliament who campaigned for British withdrawal from the EU, and thus succeeded in abolishing his own job in the 2016 Brexit referendum. He is the author of nine books, including the New York Times bestseller Inventing Freedom: How the English-Speaking Peoples Made the Modern World (2013).

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While some see dire consequences in Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, Daniel Hannan expresses a healthy dose of optimism in this erudite interview. “I do see huge opportunities to use Brexit to revitalize the whole world trading system,” he says, “to have genuinely deep, comprehensive free trade agreements that are not corporatist but are for the consumer.”

In particular, he sees opportunities for deeper ties with North America given our congruities of law, language, and culture. He also points out that Britain has global connections that are not limited to the Commonwealth. A committed free trader himself, he praises countries like Hong Kong and Singapore, and later Australia and New Zealand, that unilaterally lowered tariffs and profited greatly as a result.

Hannan is proud of “the English-Speaking Peoples,” whom he credits with such important bulwarks of modernity as free speech, free elections, uncensored newspapers, equality between men and women, jury trials, and habeas corpus. These may be considered universal values today, but this was not always the case. In discussing the Magna Carta, stored for safekeeping at Fort Knox during WWII, he says, “I cannot think of an apter symbol of what we were fighting for in that campaign—in other words, a system that elevates the rules above the rulers and that elevates the individual above the collective. The other side did the opposite; thank heaven we won!”

He is optimistic not just about Brexit, but about the world in general, which he thinks is tending toward freedom and prosperity. It’s not inevitable, and there are localized setbacks, but overall the news is good. With global indicators for literacy, longevity, infant mortality, female education, and calorie intake all rising, there’s never been a better time to be alive, concludes Daniel Hannan.

Links of interest
Daniel Hannan | Inventing Freedom: How the English-Speaking Peoples Made the Modern World

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