Wednesday, May 22, 2013

One Million Page Views

According to Google Analytics, this blog has now received over one million page views since its inception in May of 2007. StatCounter, the other statistical source I use, counts somewhere in the 800,000s, probably because it uses different criteria to determine what counts as a "unique" page view. In any case, the number of views is larger than I ever expected when I started this blog. Thank you all for reading, and please keep coming back.

Lagarde To Be Placed Under Investigation

The head of the IMF may have to receive combat pay in the future. It's a dangerous occupation. Christine Lagarde's predecessor ended up in jail (briefly), and now Le Monde reports that Mme Lagarde herself will soon be placed under official investigation in connection with the Tapie Affair. You may recall that M. Tapie was the beneficiary of a sweetheart deal in settlement of a lawsuit, a deal on which Mme Lagarde was required to sign off in her previous position as French minister of finance. The deal was probably not her idea, nor even to her liking, but would she be IMF chief today if she hadn't signed it? Probably not, given that it was backed by then president Nicolas Sarkozy, whose support was instrumental in getting Lagarde appointed to the IMF. You do what you have to do, but sometimes it comes back to haunt you. How good the evidence of wrongdoing against Lagarde  is remains to be seen, however. It may be a long road to a conviction, and the investigation hasn't even begun, so it would be foolish to lay odds.

Open Markets Help French Agriculture

According to Eric Adam, an advisor to the National Assembly:
En effet, si l’agriculture, est encore tenue à l’écart de la crise économique européenne, c’est grâce à son ouverture sur l’extérieur. Qu’il s’agisse des céréales, des produits laitiers et plus récemment de la viande bovine, tous doivent leur redressement au marché mondial. Pour mémoire, la moitié de la production française de blé est destinée à l’exportation. Du côté de la viande bovine, la consommation française est en baisse constante et les exportations ont progressé en 2011 de 9% et principalement vers les pays tiers. Enfin, l’industrie laitière exporte près de 30 % du lait collecté.
Selon France Agrimer, en 2011, les exportations de produits agroalimentaires ont enregistré une hausse de 15% par rapport à 2010. En comptabilisant les importations, l’excédent commercial de ce secteur est le deuxième plus important derrière celui de l’aéronautique et atteint un record historique de 11,6 milliards d’euros pour l’année 2012. Avec une part de marché mondiale de 6,5% dans l’agroalimentaire, la France se situe au même niveau que le Brésil et devant l’Allemagne.