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Why we might not have enough food after a no-deal Brexit

We know we said we wanted economics to get real, but this is a little too real.

Yesterday, Brexit secretary Dominic Raab said we'll need to make sure we've got an 'adequate food supply' if we leave the EU with no deal. It's literally getting that crazy.

What it means: This is a essentially a very basic 'supply and demand' problem. When we leave the EU, we'll still want to consume all the same stuff – demand won't change. But the way that stuff gets to us needs to change radically in line with, well, not being in the EU anymore.

And given we're not going to stop consuming things for a few weeks while they work it out, there's an awkward overlap where demand remains the same, but supply goes a little wonky while our government tries to figure out a new way of getting all the stuff we previously got from the EU, to the UK.

Like food, for example. 30% of our food comes from the EU – far outweighing imports from any other region of the world. Yesterday, Brexit secretary Raab said he was in talks with 'industry' to make sure there was enough food in the country for that interim time period when the new systems were being worked out.


Food imports UK
Source: UK Government website. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/food-statistics-pocketbook-2017/food-statistics-in-your-pocket-2017-global-and-uk-supply

The problem is, industry leaders are saying there's nowhere to store any extra food. Warehouses are filled to capacity, and most of the food we eat is fresh anyway, so stockpiling won't actually work.

Maybe learning a few interesting dishes you can make with canned goods in the next few months wouldn't be such a bad idea. You know, just in case.

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Reader Comments

  • RW

    Your right to a degree. You mentioned “the wandering Jew”.

    I elaborate that the Jewish people, historically have tended to migrate almost exclusively to locations that are economically and culturally vibrant already. I would speculate that Jews have thrived in these places and have often improved the bounds of their economies and knowledge base.

    You can also ask; how many massive entertainment conglomerates, Nobel winners or billionaires has Isreal developed? If Jews are so capable, why isn’t Tel Aviv the Rome of our time?

    Jews are successful because they value education, maintain a strong social cohesive, they actively monitor and have a good sense for Zeitgeist wherever they are and they carefully choose the places they settle and congregate themselves heavily in these choice locations.

    But most importantly (haulocaust increased the importance of this aspect), they actually designed their culture for success. They not only attend Harvard, they use what they learned to better the group as a whole. With as much, they studied intricate networking systems, adapted to it and in many cases improved upon them. (See how Japan acquired Aegis warships and made them better).

    Of course there is nothing wrong with any of this. It’s when you elaborately gain disproportionate power in any society where you would stand out, you must take care when attempting to make a society better (Civil Rights movement) and rewriting that society all together (mass immigration). Ask blacks in China, Mexico, Philippines or India how much opportunity they have? Go to businesses owned by their American diaspora and see how many blacks they hire. Go to Silicon Valley and see how many East or South Asian tech workers wish they could work with more black people. California might work as a state, but as a nation, I think your rolling the nuclear dice here. I hope we can succeed as a tolerant pluralistic superpower but at this stage in human societal development, it’s a pipe dream.

    And if Jews really are the icon for success, they would see that fundamental human successes happen over generations. Just look at the rest of the planet? Are we ready?