Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Reminder

French politics hasn't exactly been riveting these past few weeks, so I want to remind readers that they can keep abreast of a variety of views of the evolving financial crisis in the US by referring to my shared page, which links to articles I've read on the subject and found interesting. Consider this value added, a sort of credit default swap on the principal subject of this blog. If French politics defaults, you can hedge against the loss by reading about the American debacle. Chances are you'll learn as much as Sarko learned from Tim Geithner in New York.

Sarko Mistakes UN for Vatican

President Sarkozy, speaking to the UN, delivered a homily that would have been more appropriate if pronounced at Saint John Lateran, of which he is honorary canon. He said that it was time to "make financial capitalism moral." He wants it to be régulier et régulé, predictable and regulated, instead of fou. Gone from his discourse are the homages to initiative, innovation, the spirit of risk and adventure, and the need to offer incentives to effort in the form of untrammeled, untaxed, and unredistributed rewards. After AIG, Lehman, and Bear, the crisis has claimed another casualty: Sarkozy the American is sounding more French every day. And who can blame him? The chase after the greenback has lost its allure, and the desire to se mettre au vert in a country where people work less, save more, and savor their 350 cheeses in a vinous fog of ungovernability seems more attractive by the minute.

Mosco Signs on with Delanoë

Pierre Moscovici has thrown in the towel. He is joining the Delanoë camp, though distinctly without enthusiasm: "That's not where renovation lies." But of course he couldn't go with Aubry, where those whom he considers traitors to his own cause (esp. J.-C. Cambadélis) went, and he wouldn't join Royal, in part because he doesn't want her to win and in part because he also feels betrayed by Collomb et al. of Ligne Claire. So Delanoë and Hollande are faute de mieux.

And now it's a question of counting up the votes. But the result will be anticlimactic. The pre-congress maneuvers have only highlighted the insurmountable fissures in the party. In a year or two, however, it will all be forgotten, and this period will look like ancient history, because the impending economic crisis will, I am fairly certain, change the contours of political debate not only in the United States but across Europe.

Schain on French Unions

Martin Schain rehearses the conventional wisdom on why weak French unions are nevertheless effective. Nothing new here for experts but a useful primer for those in need of an introduction.