Thursday, February 10, 2011

Face au peuple

President Sarkozy was upstaged today by Hosni Mubarak. The former had chosen to brave le peuple, or at any rate a handpicked selection of "representative" people. I intended to watch, but TF1 blocked Internet transmission to the US for some unfathomable reason. So I had to make do with a summary, and to judge by what I read of the highlights, I saved myself 2 1/2 hours of tedium. The big news seems to be that Sarko, after Cameron and Merkel, has declared "multiculturalism" a failure. Unfortunately, the only nostrum he has to offer in its place is that the "identity" of the host country should take precedence over the "identity" of the immigrant. Et alors? Was love ever won by fiat? We're likely to hear a lot more of this sort of thing as the campaign heats up. I'll try to contain myself.

Meanwhile, Mubarak also chose to brave son peuple, not quite so carefully handpicked. And the consequences will surely outlive the effect, if any, of Sarko's ill-conceived apologia pro vita sua.  France2 had no regular news tonight, at least not in the US. Its usual half hour on TV5Monde was given over entirely to the situation in Egypt. I fear that violent confrontation lies ahead, and it's anybody's guess which way the army will go.

Another comment re Sarkozy on the justice system here.\

Alain Juppé has kind words for the boss here.

Another Economist Intervenes

While we're on the subject of economists intervening in public debate, I recommend a look at this long but very interesting review of Philippe Askenazy's new book, Les décennies aveugles. Of particular interest is the discussion of Askenazy's critique of the failure of microeconomic interventions in the labor market.

Piketty/Hollande Debate on Taxes

Here is the Piketty/Hollande debate on taxes. Please excuse the annoying advertisements. It's fascinating to watch the difference between the discourse of the academic economist and that of the politician.

Hollande - Piketty et la révolution fiscale 1-2
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Hollande - Piketty et la révolution fiscale 2-2
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I'll let Bernard Girard explain why I'm not discussing la petite phrase d'Anne Sinclair.