Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Krugman: DSK vs. Lagarde

Paul Krugman hopes that Christine Lagarde will prove to be a little less conventional and sensible than she appears:


The Mystery of Lagarde

OK, so it’s Christine Lagarde for the IMF. I wish her luck. And I wish we had any idea how well she’ll do the job.
It’s not as if she’s especially enigmatic: in addition to being smart, by all accounts she’s serious, responsible, and judicious. But that, of course, is what worries me.
For we’re living in an era in which, for the time being, conventional prudence is folly, conventional virtue is vice. The things Very Serious People want to do — slash deficits right away, “normalize” interest rates, worry about inflation — are exactly the kind of things that could turn the slump of 2008-? into decades of stagnation.
Under Strauss-Kahn, the IMF was staking out a position as the least dogmatic, most open-minded of the major international organizations. That’s not saying too much, but it was much better than the madmen in authority at the OECDor the BIS.
So the question is, will the IMF become more sensible under Lagarde? For the sake of the world economy, let’s hope not.

Lagarde to IMF

Christine Lagarde, as expected, has been chosen to head the IMF, so now the cabinet reshuffle can begin in France. I've heard that Bruno Lemaire is the favorite to succeed her, which would then leave an opening at Agriculture. Would Baroin (also rumored to be in line for Finance) stay on under Lemaire? On verra.

My Travels

Anybody curious about where I've been for the past few days can follow my journey photographically here. The set opens with the Huntington Library (gardens, desert garden, sculptures, etc.), then the Getty Museum, then Pasadena (Pasadena Playhouse and the fabulous Elements Kitchen, where we had a 3-star dinner), and finally some shots of the Pacific coast at Santa Monica.

Inside Baseball

So, which Socialists are supporting Aubry, and which Hollande?

Aubry:

Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, Michel Destot (deputy and mayor of Grenoble), who headed a circle of local pro-DSK pols now supporting Aubry, plus former ministers Alain Richard andTony Dreyfus, le président du conseil général d'Ile-de-France, Jean-Paul Huchon. Most strauss-kahniens have followed Cambadélis, except for Pierre Moscovici, still on the fence. And probably Bertrand Delanoë, mayor of Paris.

Hollande:

François Patriat, sen. of Côte-d'Or, André Vallini, deputy from l'Isère, and Gérard Collomb, mayor of Lyon.

Royal:

Parmi les cadres du PS, ils ne sont plus qu'un petit cercle de fidèles, et elle s'est peu à peu départie de tous les barons qui jusqu'ici pouvaient troubler son message modernisateur (les fédérations de l'Hérault et des Bouches-du-Rhône, ou le maire de Lyon, Gérard Collomb). Dans le premier cercle, l'on retrouve les anciens mitterrandiens Jean-Louis Bianco ou Dominique Bertinotti, ou les jeunes pousses Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, Delphine Batho ou Guillaume Garot.

Aubry's Speech

Martine Aubry's inaugural speech as candidate (see previous post) is one that must have been worked over quite a bit, yet it reads a bit like the primer on la langue de bois that I posted the other day. A few choice lines:

Il est temps, il est grand temps que cela change vraiment.Je veux rendre à la France sa force, sa sérénité, son unité.
Je veux redonner à chacun le goût de l'avenir et l'envie d'un destin en commun.
...
J’ai la conviction que face aux multiples défis de notre monde, une vision claire, une action cohérente et un langage de vérité permettront de récréer de la confiance, de redresser notre pays et de le rassembler dans la justice. La peur, le repli sur soi et le défaitisme : ce n'est pas la France!...Je vous le dis en m’appuyant sur ce que j’ai de plus cher, les valeurs transmises par ma famille : la morale, le sens de la justice et le goût des autres. Je puise ma force dans mes convictions de toujours, celles de la République et celles de la gauche. 


Aïe. Maybe it's not too late to hire Henri Guaino to write a speech full of references to Jaurès, Blum, etc.

Martine Launches

No surprise: Martine Aubry is in. She's running against neo-liberalism, high finance, markets, etc. Why am I not excited? In other news, GénérationDSK has renamed itself Génération4G.



Déclaration de candidature de Martine Auby à la... by LCP

French Banks to Roll Over Greek Debt

French banks have a plan for Greece: they will roll over loans to Greece coming due over the next several years. This is the proverbial "kicking the can down the road" response to insolvency. The markets aren't entirely buying it. Here is one possible version of the future: news in the future conditional, not a mode commonly used by the Times, but appropriate to this kind of story.