Joseph Stiglitz: Independence has costs and benefits
AS SCOTLAND contemplates independence, some, such as Paul Krugman, have questioned the “economics”. Would Scotland, going it alone, risk a decline in standards of living or a fall in GDP? There are, to be sure, risks in any course of action: should Scotland stay in the UK, and the UK leave the EU, the downside risks are, by almost any account, significantly greater.
Must everything revolve around money? Yes, the world could come crashing down as a result of Scottish bravado. It could get bad. Real bad, potentially. But, in all honesty, I’d rather work to build a new world than live in one that has lost its prime and is, quite frankly, rotten to be in. I’d like to see someplace where we care about our environment, our people, our world, and our relations with each other beyond money. This isn’t utopia, as there will always be those cousins you won’t like, or that hurricane which wipes out millions of peoples’ homes, or that odd potential for alien invasion, or that likely potential to have to cope with a world that we are changing faster than we can adapt to.
Yes, the rich won’t have as much. But there will (and should) always be a decentralized incentive to work, produce, and innovate freely on all fronts. Anything short of this Progressive vision and actions results in the degradation of the social unit and the environment in which we HAVE to live.
The conservatives want things to stay as they are, no matter how painful or poorly grounded they may be. They may have the edge over the likes of me as far as experience goes, But their experience is no good when it’s poorly founded, and aging does usually leave you less able. I’m an American. But I say “YES” to Scottish independence, as a means of forcing this sick, rotten, twisted human universe to move forward with its life, never stagnate, and to look back with a wise eye, not a wistful one.
The time will come on September 18th. And the Scots will either lead us forward, or do a “smart” move for the wrong reasons.