Friday, July 01, 2005

Debate in France

Long pieces on the aftermath of the referendums: from ProspectEurope without illusions and  France profonde  ; from the NYRB What's Left of the Union. From this last:
In France one can observe a very sophisticated level of political debate and passion but it does not always provide a model of political lucidity. The public demands reforms, and when it gets them often goes into the streets to block their application, as in a recent case of educational reforms.
On the central question of the problems of the European economy (see The wreckage - Part 1), the NYRB essay continues, quoting Nicolas Baverez, from Le Monde on June 4:
Baverez also speaks of the problem of Europe's "organized deflation, which has transformed 'euroland' into a desert of unemployment and innovation," the result of Germany's original insistence that the European Central Bank be given as its sole task the prevention of inflation. This automatically canceled the possibility of Keynesian policies (even the perverted Keynesianism of Bush administration deficit finance, which gives George Bush's and Alan Greenspan's America its much-envied growth and high employment). As Robert A. Levine, former deputy director of the Congressional Budget Office, wrote recently, "The rigid monetary and fiscal constraints imposed by Maastricht are at least as responsible for economic malaise as structural sclerosis is."[5] French voters remember that France's postwar growth, from the early 1950s to the oil shocks of the early 1970s, took place under a dirigist government's successful industrial policy, by which the government both supported and protected industries that showed a strong capacity for growth. At that time monetarism was but a cloud on the policy horizon, not the fading orthodoxy it is now.
More on J-P Sartre, background on the BBC Radio 3 programme, I mentioned.


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