Monday, March 9, 2009

Buiter on Regulation

Willem Buiter reflects on what sorts of regulation are needed for the financial system.

"Measuring Diversity"

Yazid Sabeg, the new "diversity and equal opportunity commissar" (it sounds less sinister in French) is in favor of "measuring diversity" as long as it doesn't involve anyone's "origin" or "family name" but is rather based on "objective criteria" such as "membership in a community" or "the sentiment of belonging to a community" (le ressenti). Well, forgive me for being churlish here, since I approve of the collection of ethnic and racial statistics, which is where Sabeg is headed, but isn't this formulation patently contradictory? If anything is subjective rather than objective, it's "the sentiment of belonging to a community." And not to go all Sartrean or anything ("le Juif, c'est celui qui est juif pour l'Autre"), what counts here is how one is classified by others--prospective employers, teachers, bureaucrats, etc.--and not how one sees oneself. If my African patronymic prevents me from getting a job, it doesn't matter whether I think of myself as an apsotle of Negritude or un pur produit de l'école républicaine. That's why these data are needed: to determine where discrimination is closing off equal opportunity--which is after all the "commissar's" brief. So, by all means, let's gather the data, but let's be forthright about why we're doing it. And it's precisely to deal with what Sabeg says it isn't about at all, namely, the questions of "origin" and "family name."

Debout, les damnés de la terre

Jean Quatremer takes the threat of serious progress for the NPA in the European elections seriously enough to look at the party's program and sees himself back in 1917 with dollops of feminism and ecologism added to sweeten the anticapitalist sauce.

There will, however, be no "leftist front." A large majority of the NPA rejected the overtures of Mélenchon's French Linkspartei and of the PCF.


An excellent survey of what the econ blogs are saying about the state of Europe.