"Inventer à gauche," a group of têtes pensantes of the PS, consider what direction the left ought to take after DSK. Their main points are:
1. It's a new world, in which the US + Europe are no longer the be all and end all.
2. Something really ought to be done about "financial capitalism."
3. High spending and high deficits are not ipso facto "progressive."
4. The EU is in trouble.
5. The French don't like inequality.
6. "Social ecology" is the new paradigm.
7. Both the Sarkozyste right and the extreme right have targeted immigration. The left should recognize the necessity and inevitability of "legal immigration."
8. The state is an essential instrument for constructing "a better society."
It would perhaps be too much and too hasty to dismiss this as a list of "pious wishes," but I frankly don't see much content here. There is nothing surprising about the list of problems and no actual policy proposals to combat them. As a statement of principles, the manifesto has a certain hollowness. Take the mention of "financial capitalism." This has become a sort of mantra: by attacking "financial capitalism," we signal that we are realists who do not reject "markets" ("We believe in a market economy but not a market society," said Jospin) but we do reject anything bad that markets happen to enable. Ditto for "social ecology." Absent any specification of what costs a social ecological agenda might entail, we are left guessing what this actually means. Since I posted earlier today about nuclear power, has anyone on the left who has hailed the German decision to exit from the nuclear begun to ask how this decision might affect Germany's earlier and equally splashy decision to reduce carbon emissions by a date certain? Clearly the effect will be enormous. But the same formulae continue to be intoned. In the end, they amount to saying, "We want what is good, we reject what is bad." Vaste programme, as de Gaulle would have said.