Monday, March 20, 2017

Some Versions of Utopia

There is a utopian strain in the programs of each of the five major presidential candidates. In advance of tonight's debate, I analyze them in my latest article for The American Prospect.


Anonymous said...

To call Macron's centrism utopian is odd. I can see why one might say that Mélenchon, Hamon and Le Pen are utopian, given the national debt (approaching 100% of GDP) and the constraints of the euro. But Macron?

"His utopia is, oxymoronically, the utopia of realism, the utopia that claims the only way to achieve a brighter tomorrow is to stop dreaming of what it might look like and get down to work. To set a distant destination is illusory. Road-building is the only reality."

There is no oxymoron. Realism or pragmatism is by definition the opposite of utopianism. In this election Macron and Fillon are the only candidates who seem to understand economics.

Anonymous said...

Utopias because presidential candidates present the future they want for their country and their fellow citizens. 'If all goes well, this is the world I want for you'.

Frankly, there's money. France is one if the richest countries in the world. There are lots of problems but I don't understand why the French are so down on their own country.
So, by definition, a rich country has money, what matters is how it divides it up.
For example, Francois Fillon 's plan will close rural schools, rural post offices, and rural hospitals. Are those savings worth it? Or are the expenses worth it? Depending on your answer you find Fillon's plan 'realistic ' or 'savage '.

In the end, people know the future president won't do everything he promises (and even bank on his/her not doing it all) so they vote for one measure and one general direction.

I thought the debate was interesting. MLP was much less good than I thought she'd be, and didn't try to sound conciliatory or less extreme than she really is. 'I'll stop all immigration, legal and illegal '. Her utopia of a world closed off rang loud and clear. I wonder if that appealed or repulsed.

Melenchon was good, funny, and often helped Hamon by outlining some of his ideas.

Macron was better than I thought he'd be, but in the last segment he started sounding wishy-washy.

Dillon was so discrete that I thought he hadn't spoken as much as the others. Was I the only one who laughed Hen he said 'to solve problems of transparency - IE., corruption - I'll appoint a committee that'll decide in what ways we should proceed ' ........
French people call that ' comite theodul ' :D

Harmony spoke to voters and tried to get through his main points. I liked how he framed his universal income idea : people, especially women tasked with elderly care or in part time jobs and farmers who make half minimum wage working day and night, all who accomplish hard work that is not recognized, deserve to have more to live on. So he reframed his idea in terms of rewarding hard work that is not recognized. It was a smart pitch, I don't know if it'll be heard.
(note that Melenchon said ' the idea is brilliant - but I don't like how others could use it. ' I found that interesting.)

Apparently it was watched by a LOT of people.