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Revenge of the Experts

Just prior to the Brexit referendum, then-UK justice secretary Michael Gove dismissed dire warnings of an economic meltdown following a "Leave" vote by stating, "The people of this country have had enough of experts." And, indeed, the experts seemed to have been proved wrong – until now.

BERKELEY – The Brexit debate is an endless source of mirth for anyone with a dark sense of humor. My own favorite quote is from Michael Gove, currently Britain’s environment secretary.

Just prior to the June 2016 Brexit referendum, Gove, who was justice secretary in David Cameron’s government at the time, dismissed the all-but-unanimous view of economists and others that a decision to leave the European Union would deeply damage the British economy. “People in this country have had enough of experts,” Gove testily explained, referring to “experts from organizations with acronyms, saying they know what is best and getting it consistently wrong.”

The early post-referendum evidence suggested, to the surprise of many – or at least to many of the experts – that Gove was right and they were wrong. There was in fact no immediate recession in the United Kingdom following the Brexit vote; indeed, there was not even a slowdown in growth.

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