Whitman in Detroit Free Press, “In Brexit debacle, who will lead from the edge of the inside?”

July 6, 2016

In a July 5 Detroit Free Press op-ed, Marina v.N. Whitman asks, “In Brexit debacle, who will lead from the edge of inside?”

“On the same morning that we woke up to learn that British voters had set their country on a path of divorce from the European Union (EU), a column by the well-known conservative writer David Brooks appeared on the opinion page of the New York Times,” writes Whitman.

Brooks’s contribution, “At the Edge of Inside,” described insiders not captured by groupthink—those with “the loyalty of a faithful insider but the judgment of the critical outsider.”

While Brooks’s piece was written before the outcome of the British referendum was known, “it could not have been more timely,” writes Whitman. “To limit the damage, voices of reason must dominate, coming from leaders and individuals who are supporters of the European Union but clear-eyed about the weaknesses in both British and EU governance that underpinned the emotions that made the Leavers prevail.”

“My individual voice would count for nothing in the present crisis. And the citizens of the U.S. in general and Michigan in particular have no say in Britain’s political choices,” writes Whitman. “But the collective voices of both leaders and voters at the edge of inside, in both the UK and the EU, are desperately needed to prevent what could snowball into a global catastrophe.”

Marina v.N. Whitman is a professor of business administration and public policy at the University of Michigan. Professor Whitman served as a member of the President's Council of Economic Advisers from 1972-73 and as vice president and chief economist of General Motors Corporation from 1979-92.