Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Guide to Globalized Finance

A thorough survey of the workings of the globalized financial system by two French economists, Anton Brender and Florence Pisani.

French Banking Regulation

President Sarkozy is apparently pressing French banks to take the lead in devising new regulations and bonus rules to prevent excessive risk-taking.


Well, it had to happen. With the Socialist Party in disintegration and Martine Aubry apparently unable to keep her mavericks in line, despite several overt cracks of the whip this summer, others were bound to see an opportunity. Vincent Peillon, whose courant is called "Espoir à gauche," may indeed see hope on the left, or he may merely sense opportunity, whether for himself or for Ségolène Royal, whom he supported in the leadership struggle, remains to be seen. In any case, he managed to pull together various elements of the Left Nebula, including the Greens, the ex-PCF leader Robert Hue, MoDem's Marielle de Sarnez (did I say Left Nebula?--Sarnez may be more nebulous than left), etc. And so here we are, in Marseille, trying to put together a sort of Programme Commun bis, and things have reached such a point of desperation that it may even work.

François Rebsamen sees a "historic moment" for the country. Cohn-Bendit, as is his habit, was a bit more down-to-earth: there has as yet been no meeting of the minds, much less unity, so a Programme Commun is still a bit far off. But what this meeting has done is to arm the anti-Aubry forces going into the PS Université d'Été later this month. Aubry doesn't want an open primary, but it's going to be hard to counter the momentum generated by Peillon's rassemblement and Delanoë's capitulation. Montebourg and Hamon are also calling for primaries. And in an open primary of the left, Royal will very likely do better than Aubry or Hollande. What Ségo has to fear, however, is DSK, who has just outpolled everyone to become the favorite presidential hopeful of the French. Another year at the IMF could allow DSK to return home in quasi-triumph, having done his bit to counter the economic crisis and now responding to the summons of the left-wing electorate. Having made Caesar general, Sarko may now have to fear the putsch.

ADDENDUM: The PCF is not happy about this latest development. Neither is the NPA. Polling indicates that most respondents favor a PS-Green alliance but not a PS-MoDem alliance. And here is a decidedly jaundiced view from Gérard Courtois.