Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Commodity Fetishism

The sale of a voodoo doll bearing the image of Nicolas Sarkozy has been found by a court to constitute neither an affront to human dignity nor a personal attack on Sarkozy. Sarkozy's complaint to the court in the name of protecting his rights to his own image was dismissed, and the doll can be sold.

This commodity fetish is probably less effective than a blog and certainly more expensive, so if the market were logical it would soon vanish from the shelves. But as everyone now knows, markets aren't logical.

Sarko as "Ideational Entrepreneur"

In the interesting edition of embedded below, Henry Farrell proposes thinking of Sarkozy as one of the few "ideational entrepreneurs" attempting to reshape thinking about the global economy in the current crisis (comment at around 16:30 of the video).

Brown Wants Global Bailout Fund

Gordon Brown has called for a global bailout fund, urged the Gulf states and China to contribute to the IMF, and highlighted the need for an EU fund to rescue floundering East European economies. Of course the Gulf states and China may take a hard look at this proposal, which is somewhat at odds with Sarkozy's first European and then French sovereign wealth fund, the purpose of which is to keep Gulf and Chinese capital out of Europe. The two European leaders' messages, taken together, seem to suggest that while outside capital is welcome, it should be donated free of strings and bring with it no control. Does anyone expect them to accept such terms?

ADDENDUM: Sarkozy has joined Brown in calling on the IMF to provide funds for Eastern Europe. Meanwhile, the IMF has made 25.1 million euros available to Hungary.