Thursday, November 20, 2008

Politics of Civilization Bis

It seems that Sarko's summit-that-is-not-a-summit, his little étrenne to himself and Tony Blair (co-host of the meeting), will be in a way the reincarnation of his seemingly forgotten "politics of civilization" idea, now recast to suit the crisis atmosphere of the moment. You will recall that, earlier this year, when optimism was still the watchword in Paris and growth was still being sought with the teeth, Sarko launched the idea of a politics of civilization that was supposed to reconcile matter and spirit, or, on a more mundane level, two of Sarko's not altogether compatible obsessions, GDP and religion. He was under assault at the time for failing to increase the purchasing power of the French, so he seized on the notion that cold numerical gauges such as GDP were no guide to either true happiness in this world or eternal bliss in the next. To help him in his reflections, he enlisted Nobel laureates Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen. We haven't heard much about the results of their reflections in the interim, but these two economists are on the guest list for the Sarko-Blair post-New Year's fest. Bush is not, presumably because, at the time of the meeting (scheduled for Jan. 8-9), he'll be busy packing his trunks in his last fortnight in the White House. In current circumstances, of course, it would be unseemly to tell us that we're really happier than our declining stock market indices (and soon-to-be declining GDP) tell us, so Stiglitz and Sen will no doubt be put to other purposes. But the point of this meeting remains somewhat obscure.

2 comments:

Leo said...

Sarko has clearly taken on Rouletabille's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Rouletabille) famous statement:

"Cette affaire est mystérieuse, feignons d'en être l'organisateur)

Unknown said...

Perfect! I like it.