The philosophers and poets of old, nor the left- and right-wing politicians since Karl Marx’s time have yet to produce an adequate and balanced description of human nature that’s acceptable to those who think about it. Modern opinion moulders are, for the time being, woefully ignorant about what evolutionary biology is telling us. This is that, far from being rational we are awash with instincts.
The strongest instinct of all is to socialise — and, ideally, in small groups of about dozen or so adults only (along with younger and older family relatives). A corollary of the deep desire to live in social organisations is wariness of other similar organisations. In order for an organisation to protect its way of a surviving it is usually in a state a state of great wariness when facing other similar organisations..
Such wariness in early man would be small groups in display against other small groups, or later in civilized times, cultures against cultures, or in modern technological times, countries against countries. There is always a state of incipient outright warfare. But because modern warfare between countries is now close to mutual destruction, proxy warfare takes place instead.
Espionage, always strongly attempted in warfare, nevertheless continues in times of ‘peace’. Tariffs and regulations are also methods of subverting the business needs of other countries. More recently, corporate taxation is becoming the chosen proxy. Reducing the taxation of foreign firms that a government would like to attract to its own country is now going way up-scale as a cause of nationalistic rivalry.
Normally, an advanced country would charge 30% of the profits of business with their headquarters in the country. When Ireland joined the EU it 20 years ago it immediately dropped its corporate taxes to 12% of a company’ profits. It immediately attracted several very large American firms, much to the annoyance of America and also EU countries. But as Ireland is a small country this was tolerated.
Not so in lour case. This morning George Osborne has just announced that our Treasury is going to drop UK corporate taxes from 30% to 15% as part of the country’s economic strategy when we leave the EU. This is highly likely to be approved by whoever become the new prime minister — Theresa May or Andrea Leadsom. It is going to provoke the EU bureaucrats as they negotiate our departure. But that doesn’t matter because we’re going to have to provoke them anyway.
What matters much more is the effect on America. Many large America forms will now start to think seriously about basing themselves here. President Obama has already let slip his anger about Britain leaving the EU. His advisors had probably told him that Osborne’s decision would be inevitable. Obama is going to get even angrier if it happens while he is still of office.
But never mind if America starts slapping extra tariffs on our exports — which it probably will do — China’s potential consumer market is a great deal larger and, hitherto, we’ve been prevented from exploiting that to any extent because of EU regulations.