An American observer comments on French politics.
"les cadres du parti républicain et les grands entrepreneurs qui composent le gros de son électorat"If this were true, the republican party would be rather rarely in office. Most "grands entrepreneurs" may vote Republican, it does not follow that its electorate is is mostly made up of them. Poor logic.Perhaps the Front National has centred on the keyword "protection". But the analysis in this article seems quite shallow to me.Fundamentally, the desire for protection derives from the difficulty in coping with rapid ongoing change, as revealed for instance by the relative decline in manufacturing, the increasing concentration of agricultural production and of retail, not to mention the overwhelming increase in electronics and information-processing technologies, where no French champion seems to exist. This has naturally been reinforced by the amplification of the economic crisis - massive unemployment has been a reality for 40 years - in France since the onset of the financial crisis in 2008-09.The problem of the socialist party in this sense is that it has abandoned its traditional resistance to change - prevalent until the 1970s-80s - and wants to embrace these contemporary changes without being able to express clearly how it will maintain the protective characteristics that distinguish a social market economy from a purely liberal market economy. The front national does not face this difficulty: it simply announces that it will protect from change (fat chance!). Well, that's my view.
Evidently I thought the article was more insightful than did Bernard. Nevertheless, it is a peculiarity of French politics today that the further left you are on the economic spectrum the closer you are to the FN’s economic manifesto and the further from the neoliberalism of the Hollande government. The interesting thing, as this article suggests to me, is that you can no longer say that Paul Krugman could have written the FN’s economic manifesto since he is a strong advocate of free trade. I also think that Bernard’s description of way in which the collapse of the left has deprived France of a restraint against the vices of unrestrained capitalism is apt. It is very strange that, as Bernard says, the PS cannot “express clearly how it will maintain the protective characteristics that distinguish a social market economy from a purely liberal market economy” even as the Front National announces program after program (stolen from the left’s playbook) purporting to do exactly that.
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