IT IS too easy to be pessimistic about the future of Europe and the UK these days. The recent decision by UK voters to leave the EU will have far-reaching and devastating consequences on both sides of the channel.The consequences are already being felt in the UK, with the pound losing value at a speed usually reserved for the rand on a sunny December morning.The ill-begotten decision will haunt the UK for generations. It has been Europe’s financial powerhouse mainly because it benefited from the so-called passport system, which allowed London-based banks to conduct business in all EU member states. With this privilege gone after the UK is no longer a European country, many international banks will move jobs from London to Frankfurt, Paris, and Amsterdam.British banks face substantially increased costs of doing business in the rest of Europe and it is not clear whether all of them will survive. The Royal Bank of Scotland was hammered in the hours following the decision to leave and i...

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