Tuesday, March 17, 2009
They assert that Sciences Po is a "symbole du système élitiste et hiérarchique dans l'enseignement supérieur français ... On veut nous enfermer dans des facultés qui tombent en ruine, alors nous nous enfermons dans l'école la plus riche."
It will be interesting to watch this one play out.
France's return to the heart of NATO will certainly not spell the end of France's independence and autonomy, nor will it prove the alliance's undoing. But both will be changed, in ways that no one -- least of all Sarkozy -- can foresee. Rich in symbolism, profound in consequences, unpredictable in effect: The move is typical Sarkozy, for whom it is the deed, and not the outcome, that matters.
Cf. the last line of my post "Huh?".
Worldwide, I might add, the loss of asset value has been estimated at $50 trillion. There goes Europe.
It's time for the real Nicolas Sarkozy to step foward. Do you have any idea what you're doing, Monsieur le Président? Or are you content simply to do, perpetually, and devil take the hindmost?
My propositions may have sounded absurd just a few weeks ago given the credo on optimal taxation of factors. But the inability of European leaders to undertake coordinated action on the one hand, and the sudden collapse of the perceived of superiority of laissez-faire models on the other hand, give a unique window of opportunity to build a new post-crisis social consensus.
Why, then, the growing divide between the US and Europe on how to respond to the recession? The size of public debts is one answer. Another answer is that the hallways of power in Washington (both in the Fed and the Treasury) are peopled with first-rate economists who happen to be of the saltwater variety who believe that fiscal policy works and have developed a clear view of what they want to see done. Several of them are also economic historians who have studied the Great Depression in great detail and concluded that, maybe, policy actions did not do as much good as is sometimes asserted, but that inaction under the Hoover administration transformed the financial crash into a full-blown recession.
Now look at the hallways of power in continental Europe, and you will not find many economists, even fewer first-rate economists, and certainly no one who can claim any in-depth knowledge of the Great Depression. Confused policymakers cannot develop a macroeconomic strategy on their own. On the other hand, microeconomic policies are more reassuring, because they do not seem to involve general equilibrium reasoning. Policymakers like partial equilibrium reasoning – because it is easier but mainly because they can believe that they understand what they do. Of course, we know that partial equilibrium is dead wrong and that you never get what you expect.
All this is true enough, but it's also true that one of our saltwater macroeconomists, Larry Summers, was deeply involved in removing and limiting the regulations on banking and financial markets. The remedy may thus lie in the malady, but I wouldn't say in this case that it's a blessing in disguise (I allude to Jean Starobinski's Le remède dans le mal, my English translation of which was published under the title Blessings in Disguise).