This Halloween, a catastrophe is scheduled for the United Kingdom. The UK is set to leave the European Union on Oct. 31 with a very limited deal with the EU. During his campaign, Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to fight for a better deal, but has remained adamant on that date, much to the consternation of many.
For example, on Sept. 5, Boris Johnson's own brother, Jo Johnson, announced his resignation from the government on Twitter, saying he was "torn between family loyalty and the national interest."
BBC reports that although the opposition has sought to hamstring the government by way of a law constraining his actions, the Foreign Secretary has said the legislation will be tested "to the limit."
Despite Johnson's Trumpian insistence that he can make a better deal with the EU prior to All Hallow’s Eve, there remains a very real chance that Britain could come crashing down on the scheduled date.
According to Larry Elliott of the Guardian, U.S. investment banker Morgan Stanley stated the pound could fall against the dollar, potentially even reaching parity with the dollar.
"Why on earth should I care?" You might ask. True, the impending doom of the Britons has comparatively little impact for us here in 'Starkvegas.' However, there is great potential for a windfall here.
As the situation in Britain deteriorates, the pound will continue to fall against the dollar. This means you could score some serious deals by going to the British websites of businesses and purchasing goods with pounds.
For example, one year of Amazon Prime costs $119, but just £79. If the pound reaches parity with the dollar, you save $40 by buying a year on the UK website, roughly a 33% discount. Apply that discount to anything else you can buy on a British website, and you can easily imagine the potential savings by making purchases before the companies adjust their prices.
Furthermore, if your wish list is empty at the moment, you could always just invest in the pound after it tanks. While it will be very low for a period, the exchange rate has a solid chance to head back up over time.
The issue with all this is we would essentially be preying on a nation in crisis. Matters could quickly become grave in the event that a customs arrangement is not reached. Jason Douglas and Denise Roland of the Wall Street Journal noted three-quarters of all medicine imported to Britain comes through a narrow crossing from France. Should a sudden onslaught of tariffs and regulations engulf the pass in the wake of a hard Brexit, significant delays could be encountered.
Further complicating matters is the limited ability of individuals to stockpile medicine, as the government-run healthcare system restricts the amount it gives out. For diabetics, an inability to purchase insulin after supplies run out would be fatal.
This is all hypothetical speculation, but similar situations occur every day. Is it right to invest in companies which act unethically but have phenomenal stock prices? For example, Wells Fargo defrauded its own customers, while Herbalife has many characteristics of a pyramid scheme. What about firms which strip mine or manufacture weapons of war? At what point is the line drawn?
Ultimately, this varies on an individual basis. I know I will try to score some deals as London descends into chaos. You too must decide whether to make a killing, or to resist the temptation to exploit a country's catastrophe.