titanic 3
Image: © Teufelbeutel / Karl Beutel via Wikimedia Commons

Brexit may sink the Titanic.

Yeah, you read that right.

Plans to build and sail Titanic II have been put back because Brexit meant its HQ had to be moved to Paris.

What it means: The Titanic, which hit an iceberg and sunk in 1912, was one of the worst accidents to ever happen at sea. Partly because it wasn’t properly equipped with enough lifeboats, 1,500 of Titanic’s passengers died. So it’s maybe not in the best taste to build an exact replica of the ship and sail it across the same route. But Clive Palmer, an Australian billionaire, thinks that creating Titanic II is a top-notch business idea. (He is adding more lifeboats and intending to avoid icebergs this time, tbf).

But Titanic II has already hit trouble: Brexit. Palmer planned to put his HQ in London. Now he has to move it to Paris, which will set his schedule back. The bigger problem though, is whether people will want to sail on a ship called Titanic II. Old-school economists mightsay the name makes no difference, because they think us humans are rational in our economic choices, and a ship’s name has no bearing on how likely it is to get into an accident.

Unfortunately for them, that doesn’t really seem to hold up in the real world. Look at the number 13, which lots of people in Western countries consider unlucky. Flights on the 13th of the month can be up to 44 percent cheaper than other days. And in one study of high-rise buildings in New York, 91 percent didn’t label their 13th floor as such, presumably because they were worried people wouldn’t want to live or rent office space there.

Read our explainer on rationality.

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