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Why a Brexit Could Be a Losing Proposition for Everyone

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Why a Brexit Could Be a Losing Proposition for Everyone

Why a Brexit Could Be a Losing Proposition for Everyone

After two days of intense negotiations, British Prime Minister David Cameron has proposed a new agreement that could allow Britain to stay in the European Union. Although not all of his demands were met in full, the potential deal focuses on migrant workers, protecting the pound and London’s financial sector from regulations, sovereignty, and competitiveness.

It may be just enough of a carrot to dangle in front of the “Euroskeptics”, or Brits that are skeptical of the benefits that Britain receives from EU membership.

However, the split between “stay” and “leave” is still very even according to polls:

Polls: Stay or Leave Europe

With polls close and the “Vote Leave” campaign now in full gear for the referendum on June 23, investors around the world are trying to figure out the potential economic and political impact of a British exit from the EU.

Here’s What’s at Stake

The Bertelsmann Foundation, a non-profit foundation from Germany dedicated to European unity, has come up with a fairly compelling case against a Brexit.

Shown in today’s infographic, the impact of the UK leaving the economic union creates a situation where everyone loses.

While its true that the UK would have greater control over its own immigration and regulations, the downside is largely economic. Britain could avoid making payments to the EU budget, which works out to £350 million per week, but this would be likely outweighed by the increase in trade barriers. Currently 45% of the UK’s exports go to Europe, and without direct access to the single market, the cost of both imports and exports would likely go up.

The costs of trade policy isolation affect the United Kingdom, where GDP could drop from 0.6% to 3% lower by 2030, compared to if it remained in the EU. Bertelsmann warns it could be even worse once the effects of economic isolation factor into investment and innovation behavior, with the GDP dropping up to 14%.

Britain is not the only country that would be affected. As a result of a Brexit, the GDP per capita of Ireland (-2.66%), Germany (-0.33%), Netherlands (-0.35%), France (-0.27%) and Spain (-0.32%) could all also be impacted.

Does the financial community share these concerns? If the pound is any indication of Brexit fears, the currency is currently trading at seven-year lows.

GBPUSD

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Countries

Charted: The Number of Democracies Globally

How many democracies does the world have? This visual shows the change since 1945 and the top nations becoming more (and less) democratic.

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Charted: The Number of Democracies Globally

The end of World War II in 1945 was a turning point for democracies around the world.

Before this critical turning point in geopolitics, democracies made up only a small number of the world’s countries, both legally and in practice. However, over the course of the next six decades, the number of democratic nations would more than quadruple.

Interestingly, studies have found that this trend has recently reversed as of the 2010s, with democracies and non-democracies now in a deadlock.

In this visualization, Staffan Landin uses data from V-DEM’s Electoral Democratic Index (EDI) to highlight the changing face of global politics over the past two decades and the nations that contributed the most to this change.

The Methodology

V-DEM’s EDI attempts to measure democratic development in a comprehensive way, through the contributions of 3,700 experts from countries around the world.

Instead of relying on each nation’s legally recognized system of government, the EDI analyzes the level of electoral democracy in countries on a range of indicators, including:

  • Free and fair elections
  • Rule of law
  • Alternative sources of information and association
  • Freedom of expression

Countries are assigned a score on a scale from 0 to 1, with higher scores indicating a higher level of democracy. Each is also categorized into four types of functional government, from liberal and electoral democracies to electoral and closed autocracies.

Which Countries Have Declined the Most?

The EDI found that numerous countries around the world saw declines in democracy over the past two decades. Here are the 10 countries that saw the steepest decline in EDI score since 2010:

CountryDemocracy Index (2010)Democracy Index (2022)Points Lost
🇭🇺 Hungary0.800.46-34
🇵🇱 Poland0.890.59-30
🇷🇸 Serbia0.610.34-27
🇹🇷 Türkiye0.550.28-27
🇮🇳 India0.710.44-27
🇲🇱 Mali0.510.25-26
🇹🇭 Thailand0.440.20-24
🇦🇫 Afghanistan0.380.16-22
🇧🇷 Brazil0.880.66-22
🇧🇯 Benin0.640.42-22

Central and Eastern Europe was home to three of the countries seeing the largest declines in democracy. Hungary, Poland, and Serbia lead the table, with Hungary and Serbia in particular dropping below scores of 0.5.

Some of the world’s largest countries by population also decreased significantly, including India and Brazil. Across most of the top 10, the “freedom of expression” indicator was hit particularly hard, with notable increases in media censorship to be found in Afghanistan and Brazil.

Countries Becoming More Democratic

Here are the 10 countries that saw the largest increase in EDI score since 2010:

CountryDemocracy Index (2010)Democracy Index (2022)Points Gained
🇦🇲 Armenia0.340.74+40
🇫🇯 Fiji0.140.40+26
🇬🇲 The Gambia0.250.50+25
🇸🇨 Seychelles0.450.67+22
🇲🇬 Madagascar0.280.48+20
🇹🇳 Tunisia0.400.56+16
🇱🇰 Sri Lanka0.420.57+15
🇬🇼 Guinea-Bissau0.410.56+15
🇲🇩 Moldova0.590.74+15
🇳🇵 Nepal0.460.59+13

Armenia, Fiji, and Seychelles saw significant improvement in the autonomy of their electoral management bodies in the last 10 years. Partially as a result, both Armenia and Seychelles have seen their scores rise above 0.5.

The Gambia also saw great improvement across many election indicators, including the quality of voter registries, vote buying, and election violence. It was one of five African countries to make the top 10 most improved democracies.

With the total number of democracies and non-democracies almost tied over the past four years, it is hard to predict the political atmosphere in the future.

Want to know more about democracy in today’s world? Check out our global breakdown of each country’s democratic score in Mapped: The State of Global Democracy in 2022.
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