WSJ; Overheard On The Street - "What Have (The Romans) Given Us In Return?"


Those words were spoken by John Cleese as a rebel leader in Monty Python's "Life of Brian."

Expecting "nothing," he instead gets the awkward reply of "the aqueduct," followed by an unhelpfully long list of civilizing benefits that included sanitation, medicine, education and wine.

Now IBS suggests the debate about the U.K.'s relationship with the European Union -- mostly focused on the costs to the U.K. of an exit-- should be considered similarly. After all, economist Paul Donovan points out, the U.K. has been a stronger proponent of the single market than any other European countries. And while London could suffer as a financial center outside the EU, it seems unlikely that Paris or Frankfurt would flourish.

Moreover, a U.K. exit could stir talk of further countries leaving -- a debate that the euro zone spent sizeable resources to shut down in the case of Greece. An exit clearly would have costs for the U.K. But it may not be a one-way street.