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The Unknown Lesson of the New Coronavirus Strain in the United Kingdom

Reino Unido

[Leer en español]

Last week, alarms were raised on the European continent, according to official statistics. Despite being one of the first countries to start the vaccination campaign against the coronavirus codified as COVID-19, the United Kingdom has been the scene of the development of new mutations.

There are still no clear conclusions about this new biological variant, although not a few scientists dare to warn that its contagious spread capacity is much greater. There is still no clear information about its lethality, although pharmaceutical companies BioNTech and Pfizer don’t rule out having a new vaccine ready in six weeks, if necessary.

Before this new situation, last weekend, not a few countries rushed to suspend the flights between their geographical points and the United Kingdom (not only we speak of the European Union and the European Economic Area, but also from countries like Morocco, Turkey, Russia and Israel). Thus, consequently, they closed their borders.

However, it isn’t the purpose of this article to inquire into scientific studies related to the issue. Rather, we will discuss one of the palpable and umpteenth economic consequences of the political and economic strangulation to which we have become accustomed, violating, among other things, freedom of movement.

Domestic demand, by itself, does not work

The United Kingdom is not one of the countries on the European continent with the lowest rates of economic development. We are talking about a member of the top 20 countries with the highest purchasing power per capita in Europe, in which the agricultural share of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has remained stable over the last decade.

The Heritage Foundation believes that we are talking about the seventh freest economy in the world (which, by the way, is in the process of leaving that same European Union, whose protectionism is hard to deny), with levels of financial freedom, ease of enterprise and commercial freedom higher than, on average, eighty points.

Its tax burden (at least, when it comes to treating the worker) is not among the highest according to the OECD ranking either. However, what is easy to infer is that it is not a territory with an absolute shortage of raw materials and absolute complications for any entrepreneurial procedure, in the purest style of “Communist oases” such as Cuba and North Korea.

However, despite this economic strength, the recently implemented border closure is causing serious distortions in the distribution of goods and services in British society. And yes, in the face of the psychological panic caused by political kidnapping, British supermarket shelves have begun to empty.

If these goods can be easily replaced (assuming the importance and proper functioning of the distribution food chain), one could be reassured (though certain photos circulating on social networks may lead to a different conclusion).

But this does not seem to be the case here. The managers of food establishments are warning of a shortage of fruits and vegetables, while the European fruit and vegetable sector is generally quite concerned, fearing an aggravated scenario of this type from the first day of the new year 2021.

It should be remembered, regarding these matters, that southern Europe is an area of high demand for agriculture, well, food in general. Products such as citrus fruits from the Levant, strawberries from Huelva and Algarve, grapes from Almendral, sparkling wines, not only from Catalonia, oils from La Paz and Jaén, and meat from pastures are all in high demand.

So, in practice, calling it “internal demand” does not turn out to be as accurate as it is sold to us. With this I do not want to refer as much, this time around, to the usual Keynesian policies part of the Western models of the Welfare State (subsidies misnamed “stimulus plans” that only generate debt but also unemployment).

In recent months, many city councils, without regard to the fact that they have opted at the same time for severe confinement measures, which are very harmful to the economy (even to the so-called family economy), have insisted on “local consumption” without even demanding a drastic indefinite reduction in fiscal and bureaucratic pressure,

Obviously, being aware of the multitude of factors that influence consumer decision making, within what is known as the “framework of Missionsian economic democracy”, it makes sense that, in addition to valuing the quality of the product or service, the affective-fraternal factor towards a neighbor with a certain relationship to us should be taken into account too.

This is very common in everyday life. It is common, for example, that if our best friend has an Italian restaurant and we have a preference for this type of food, we tend to patronize this establishment. In fact, in and of itself, this is advantageous because we are generating an income that will always be grateful to us (and additionally we are valuing in this case, the special treatment we get).

However, the problem, or inconsistency, arises when, from a common sense moral advice point of view, when we want to extend into a “dogma” that escapes, by its own and spontaneously ordered natural dynamics, the mechanism that we know as the market, being able, by the way, to consider it, if we consider it at all, as a kind of obsession.

Basically, a specific geographical area will not always have an infinitesimally small variety of supply (not necessarily referring to the most rural areas) while these same small owners will never mind if some foreigner takes the “trouble” to come to them to demand something they value for tis quality, service and efficiency.

In fact, it should be pointed out that electronic commerce, obeying that same essence of dispersion and decentralization provided by the network of networks (breaking down geographical and physical barriers, regardless of the size of the company per se), would make any moral or political claim of protectionism or of reinforcement of so-called “internal demand” impossible.

Commercial strangulation leads nowhere

On the basis of the above, it should be noted that commercial freedom is not only moral, but necessary, in accordance with the natural spontaneous order, to ensure a proper distribution of goods and services, avoiding both problems of supply in developed countries and the perpetuation of poverty and misery in more devastated global areas.

This implies, therefore, also valuing the division of labor on a global scale, which has nothing to do with ideologies that seek to consolidate a Single Global State of a socialist nature, which also helps to obviate the need to remain under the yoke of the Soviet Union in Brussels (in fact, Brexit can go hand in hand with entry into EFTA, the European Free Trade Association).

Ángel Manuel García Carmona

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