Friday, July 1, 2011

Lifted from Comments

My friend George Ross pertinently corrects my comments on Pascal Lamy's Le Monde piece:

Dear Art Pascal Lamy is someone I know and think well of, full disclosure. The piece in le Monde is a sound bite, not a real argument and certainly not a convincing essay. But it is certainly the case that Lamy believes in the positive dimensions of globalization. As you aptly point out, this, beyond his very great competence and probity, is why he is Director-General of the WTO, why he was such a successful European Commissioner for Trade, and why he was such an important actor in the relaunch of the European Union single market. But, and this is what needs to be underline, he is also a firm social democrat, and here his track record is quite as clear. For a very long time now Pascal Lamy has spent time and effort, not least in European social democratic circles, arguing the deep need to "master" globalization through creative political reform, new regulation, and solidarity with the world's very poor. Indeed, one would be hard put to fine anyone at his level of responsibility who has used his voice and influence in these directions more than he has (see, for an earlier illustration, his little book Démocratie Monde, or Google him to check out his many recent writings and speeches). It would be interesting to know how he has worked to "master" globalization in the WTO, but it is really too early for this. But the WTO, once called "medieval" in its workings by Lamy himself, is a member-based organization in which the freedom of action of its Director-General is pretty completely constrained, however. Perhaps one ought to be careful about polemics about "demondialization," Montebourg, and the writings of a few neo-Chevènementistes in the past few months. We do need to think and act very strongly about steering and humanizing globalization. But we need to keep in mind that this deglobalization stuff is being tossed about pretty lightly in what is a chaotic pre-election punchup inside the PS about who will get what nomination and what jobs later if the PS and the French Left can overcome its self-destructive infighting and that lots or irresponsible things have been, and will continue to be, proffered as solutions to France's very real problems. The demondialization flurry, at least on a quick reading, is as much or more populist rhetoric than serious proposal. Lamy is a serious center-left proposer, on the other hand. Give him at least this, then.George

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