Sunday, July 8, 2012

A "Shock of Competitiveness"

What French businesses need to compete, the Cercle des Economistes seems to think, is a "shock of competitiveness":
L'ancien patron d'EADS Louis Gallois, classé à gauche, a fait l'unanimité en réclamant d'urgence un « choc de compétitivité », lequel devrait passer en France par une baisse massive des charges pesant sur les entreprises. « Il faut créer un choc de compétitivité sur les secteurs de l'économie française exposés à la concurrence étrangère. Il est impératif que le gouvernement transfère 30 à 50 milliards d'euros de fiscalité pour faire baisser les charges sociales de ces entreprises ».
"Il faut oublier les Etats. Ils en ont pour des années avant d'assainir leurs comptes et sont souvent dépourvus de vision à long terme." Yet it seems that the state is being called upon here to play an essential role by shifting the tax burden from firms to workers.

Parisot Foresees Wave of Bankruptcies

The head of the MEDEF (who has survived in her position for quite a long time) is painting a bleak picture of the state of French industry. There will be a wave of bankruptcies over the summer, particularly among small to medium firms servicing the auto industry, which has been in decline in France. Her proposal: competitiveness should be at the center of consultations among the social partners, and the burden of financing social protection schemes should be shifted from firms to the public via a "social VAT," a proposal already mooted under Sarkozy. It's very unlikely that Hollande will go for this.

New On-Line Journal

A new on-line journal entitled Contreligne has been launched. I am informed by the editor that it situates itself on the center left of the political spectrum and aims to be a generalist review of culture and politics along the lines of Commentaire and Esprit.