Sunday, 15 May 2016

The pro-business case for Hitler and the Black Death

The most bizarre thing about The Boris telling everybody that Britain should leave the EU because Hitler was that his wasn't the most bizarre argument the Brexiteers have come up with (although what is it with ex-mayors of London and Hitler? Is there something strange in the water at City Hall?).

No, Peter Hargreaves, a stockbroker who funded Leave.EU to the tune of £3.2m, set the gold standard for bonkers when he said that:
...a vote to leave would create uncertainty in the UK.

But he argued that was what the country needed, saying it "would be the biggest stimulus to get our butts in gear that we have ever had".

"It will be like Dunkirk again," he said. "We will get out there and we will be become incredibly successful because we will be insecure again. And insecurity is fantastic."
By Hargreaves's logic, Hitler was a good thing because he engineered the creative destruction that pushed the British expeditionary forces into the seas off Dunkirk and so created the national insecurity that made Britain great again.

These people have really taken the "never waste a good crisis" idea and run with it. I wonder how long it's going to be before one of them comes out as pro-global pandemic, given the widespread historical view that the Black Death gave medieval society the biggest stimulus to get its butt in gear that it had ever had?
European economy and society changed drastically following the Black Death. Because so many people had died, there was a huge labor shortage. This contributed to the end of the feudal system, since serfs could often leave their manors and make a better living in cities. In addition to better work opportunities, survivors of the plague had a surplus of material goods. Many of the dead had left behind entire estates and other belongings. These goods were available through inheritance and looting. At this time, the pawnshop business, made famous by the Medici family, became extremely successful. Through these factors, Europe experienced an overall rise in its standard of living.