Boris Johnson’s laboratory experiment

Before Greece risked falling out of the eurozone in 2015, Alexis Tsipras made his famous kolotoumba (somersault). At present, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson shows little sign of backing down on his ambitious Brexit agenda, though there are many opinions implying that his is also a reckless gamble. If there is an analogy between the two cases, the difference is that Johnson believes he has a much stronger hand to play in this game of poker.

Brexit looks like one of the biggest laboratory experiments of our times. Johnson is challenging opinion on all sides. It will provide social scientists with work for years to come. On trade, he is challenging a central notion in economics: "gravity theory." This says that states trade mostly with their neighbors and that anything which deters such trade leads to a lower rate of economic growth. Last Tuesday, the PM said that he...

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