Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Galbraith: Solidarity, not Growth

In a hard-hitting piece, James Galbraith argues that what Europe is needs is not more "growth"--a meaningless nostrum, he says--but more "solidarity."

If you still think DSK is news ...

.. you can read this extended ad (in the guise of a news article) for the new book on "Les Strauss-Kahn" by Le Monde journalists Raphaëlle Bacqué et Ariane Chemin. Personally, I've had it with DSK. Like BHL, he no longer interests me.

For a rather different take by a young African woman, try this.

Retirement Reform Redux

Retirement reform in France is a bit like the peace process in the Middle East. An endless saga, negotiations over the most minute details (will women who bear children get credit for one or two extra semesters of contributions? do "long careers" begin at 17 or 18?), and in the end, not much happens. So 110,000 additional people will be allowed to retire at age 60 if they choose, and it will cost the state an additional €3 billion to be covered by a hike in cotisations of "only" 0.5 points, according to Marisol Touraine.

This is the "managerial socialism" that Pierre Rosanvallon lamented in his conversation with François Hollande, to which I linked the other day. Little bits are changed around the edges to permit the left to differentiate itself from the right. The essential vision remains unchanged. The necessary overhaul of the whole retirement system is deferred if it is even so much as considered. The whole structure of remuneration and its effects on competitiveness are not discussed. Disillusionment with the mainstream parties increases. Friends to my left chide me: "But what did you expect?"

To be honest, this is what I did expect, but I reserve the right to be disappointed. Crises are supposed to concentrate the mind. Evidently things are not yet bad enough for any real thinking.