Global markets have expectedly begun to develop jitters as the due date for the crucial vote on whether Britain will stay or leave the European Union comes closer. Investors are worried about the economic impact if Britain decides to walk out. The British pound has lost ground as money moves to safer currencies.
The deeper issue with Brexit is what it means for the future of the successful global multilateral system that was gradually put in place after 1945. The basic idea of visionaries such as John Maynard Keynes and Jean Monnet was that a web of global institutions would reduce the risks of extreme political or economic events such as wars or depressions.
The Brexit vote needs to be seen in the context of the rise of populist parties across Europe. The ongoing refugee crisis there has already made border posts matter once again. The euro continues to be on shaky ground. The Brexit vote could be the harbinger of something bigger—unfortunately.