Sunday, November 2, 2008

Entente Cordiale

Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy may have their differences, but they seem to share the belief that a common front is the best way to prod Washington to accept a global approach to banking regulation.

Paris vaut bien une messe

Chronique d'un remaniement annoncé: François Fillon is said to be anticipating his departure from the prime ministership early next year and is thinking of shooting for mayor of Paris as a suitably "honorable" next post. The droite parisienne is a well-known pétaudière, and the Panafieu debacle did nothing to patch things up between such hereditary enemies as Lellouche and Goasguen. Fillon's unctuous manner probably won't effect that miracle either, but a foothold in Paris would be a substantial trump in Fillon's hand should he entertain grander ambitions. I suppose he is banking on Delanoë's departure should he become head of the PS.

Three Score and Ten

If you want to work until you're 70 in France, you now can. Your employer can no longer compel you to retire. Is this a blow for freedom of choice or a step toward raising the retirement age and yet another gash in the French social model? The outcry has been substantial. One doesn't want to minimize the anxiety, which is not all unreasonable. But there are differences among jobs, differences between employees, and different attitudes toward retirement. Life expectancies have changed. More flexible employment arrangements are not necessarily a bad thing. Extending the working life of older workers who want to work doesn't necessarily cut into employment of the young. There may be productivity gains from retaining experienced workers. The old can be used to train the young. Etc. etc. The arguments have all been rehearsed countless times, but perhaps it's worth trotting them out again as the heat rises yet again in this corner of the political agenda.

La Privatisation de la Poste N'Aura Pas Lieu

Henri Guaino (Guaino? Qu'est-ce qu'il fout là-dedans?) says that there will be no privatization of La Poste for the time being. Do we count this retreat as another consequence of the financial crisis or a victory for France's most famous postal worker, Olivier Besancenot, and the CGT, which collected 300,000 signatures in opposition to the project?