As the United States’ most bizarre general election campaign in recent memory has steamrolled forward at a fever pitch, Americans could be forgiven for overlooking events in Britain which – depending on how they turn out – may shake up international markets and fundamentally alter geo-politics for years to come.

That ignorance was completely understandable, that is, until last week when Labour MP Jo Cox was murdered in public by a nationalist with links to neo-Nazi organizations.

Cox was a passionate anti-racist campaigner, whose philanthropic work included stints at Oxfam and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The attacker, Tommy Mair, announced his name in court as “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain.”

His rhetoric appears to imitate that of the pro-Brexit camp, which is pushing for the UK to leave the European Union (EU) through a referendum on June 23. Largely spearheaded by far-right elements in Britain’s political scene, the “leave” camp has invoked Syrian refugees and Islam in its quest to stir nationalistic fervor and abandon the European project.

The great majority of social and economic experts agree that a Brexit would be catastrophic not only for the British Isles, but for the rest of the developed world as well – including the United States.

The political uncertainly that would follow the single largest split from the EU since the project began would curtail global investment and international trade. Brexit could decrease the net economic output of the world’s advanced economies by half a percentage point by 2019. The IMF predicts that the UK’s depature from the EU would result in a decline of economic growth by 5.6 over the next three years.

For the United States, the head researcher at FIS – Laurence Wormald – predicts that a Brexit would send the S&P spiraling by 5 percent, and that the volatility of the broader stock market could reach 40 percent.

The clearly negative implications of a Brexit, however, hasn’t stopped The UK Independence Party (UKIP) – perhaps the largest driver of the pro-Brexit campaigning – from continuing its crusade. The party’s leader, Nigel Farage, has stood by the racist remarks of party members, underscoring the very real undercurrent of xenophobia that is behind the “leave” campaign. J.K. Rowling – author of the Harry Potter series – has accused Farage of deploying “Nazi propaganda” throughout the public debate on the referendum.

In addition to the concrete damages to the global financial system, the departure of one of the EU’s largest members could spell doom for the multi-national body, which has been credited for cooling diplomatic tensions in the historically volatile region following the cataclysmic events of World War II.

The Tap will bring you further coverage of the vote’s results this Wednesday, and analysis on how those results will impact the Social Good moving forward.


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