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How people can buy this Segomagogery is beyond my understanding. It's Mitterand revisited, the man that made France lose 20 years of evolution towards a better society.

Mitterrand did a lot to bring France to a better society. Not just on the social and cultural fronts, but also actually on the economic and industrial fronts. Nationalisations saved whole chunks of French industry which were basically bankrupt. The French State managed the terrible restructurings of the steel and coal industries. The increasingly destabilizing "competitive devaluation" policies of the earlier years were weaned off. Major steps forward were made towards a more unified Europe.

Even if you ignore the rest, just for the European bits, Mitterrand was a great President. The picture of Kohl and him in Verdun is enough.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 12th, 2007 at 03:06:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mitterand did two good things : Europe and the abolition of the death penalty. That's about all.

On the home front :

  • nothing was done about the coming pension catastrophy, despite the warnings of Rocard

  • unemployment and precarity sailed away, and Mitterand didn't care : "I've tried every mean"

  • nationalisations ? you're kidding. He had to give up 3 years after. Anyway it was a dead end.

  • all the modernisation that France needed, education, universities, research postponed for the future. 1994 I started to surf on the Internet in Sweden, every civil servant had a computer. In France it was a cool gimmick shown on fairs.

besides :

  • gave green light to the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior

  • supported a whole parallell secret family on tax payers money

  • illegally wiretaped journalists, politicians and known people

  • lied about his health and published faked health reports

  • didn't act in time regarding the Rwanda genocide despite all the signs

  • had two suicides during his presidency, one prime minister and the other one, a confident, suicided with two bullets (!) in his head (at the Elysée).

Do you know any other Presidents in the West with such a record in recent years except Nixon and Bush and probably Berlusconi ?

Every asshole has a good side. If Nixon hadn't been caught on Watergate, he'd probably ended as the great president that ended the Vietnam war and made the big opening towards China...

by oldfrog on Mon Feb 12th, 2007 at 09:16:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
nothing was done about the coming pension catastrophy, despite the warnings of Rocard

What pension catastrophe? That's just a lie pushed by the insurance industry to put their hands on the biggest loot of all. In every single country. We managed to get from 0% to 10% of GDP, we'll manage to get to 15% in a few decades as our populations get older. Incremental change will be enough.

unemployment and precarity sailed away, and Mitterand didn't care : "I've tried every mean"

When in doubt about how to criticize France, bring up unemployment. Yep, it's an issue. It was a choice by a generation, the babyoomer generation to protect itself and pull the ladder behind it. Once that choice was made, it was really hard to undo, and we're paying this - the young people are, anyway. But other countries made other categories bear the brunt in other ways. France has made the choice to let people stop work at an early age - older people work much less. Is that really such a bad thing?


nationalisations ? you're kidding. He had to give up 3 years after. Anyway it was a dead end.

all the modernisation that France needed, education, universities, research postponed for the future. 1994 I started to surf on the Internet in Sweden, every civil servant had a computer. In France it was a cool gimmick shown on fairs.

And we built nuclear energy, high speed trains and other bits of useful infrastructure which might alos oturn out to be usefum in the near future... And we had the minitel in the mid 80s, 10 years before anyone else had anything approahcing it for the services it provided. Different sorts of modernisation.

One model is not so absolutely superior to the other that you should treat the other so contemptuously.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 12th, 2007 at 10:30:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the Mitterand model is not a social-democratic model nor even a socialist one. It's a "I keep the power to myself-model at any price". Thereof the contempt.

  • pensions : the actual model isn't sustainable and unfair. Most of the best pensions go to the public service employees and the "special regimes" (motivated once upon a time) are today an insult to many French. Why should someone working as a secreterary at the RATP go at 55 with the best possible income ?. Sovietic model. The Pyramid age is a fact in the whole of Europe. Obviously it doesn't apply to France or is a capitalist conspiracy. Even Sego acknowledges the fact, the problem is that she has no solutions... yet...

  • A lot of European countries are revisiting their pension model. Most of them have a system similar to the French (that is to say not privately funded). In what way are they "tricked " by insurance companies ? Why is France an exception ?

  • unemployment wasn't "the choice of a generation", it was the result of the incapacity (or even the lack of will) to see ahead the fundamental changes coming. The Nordic countries never got to the level of the French unemployment with keeping decent welfare - through adapting - and nobody there consider himself worn out at 60, unless for some small categories into hard manual labour. The French must be the frailest population in Europe.  The "choice of a generation", go and tell that to the guys queuing at the ANPE... they'll punch you on the nose.

The Swedes and the Finns understood already in the late seventies that they weren't able to compete against the Japs, the Canadians and Australians regarding shipyards, pulp mills and mining. So they taught their blue collars to deal with electronics and computers with Eriksson and Nokia as tremendous successes. Women in for example the dying textile industry were reconverted towards services, specially services towards elderly (a thing France has "discovered" 2 years ago). They reconverted their construction workers into high-tech specialists that build the Saudi cities. So even if there were failures and a certain toll, no Swedes or Finns ended up without a roof and on the street 1995. Some didn't adapt and used welfare, but no need for l'Abbé Pierre.

- of course France didn't stand still during the Mitterand years, but many of the achievements you cite (nuclear, TGV etc.. were started before Mitterand).

This is not the fight between two models - a "socialist one" and a "liberal one". Both presidencies Mitterand AND Chirac have failed, mostly for the same reasons, the unwillingness to take the tough decisions that all paradigm shifts include. Same in Bush's America : rather keep my little cosy power than piss off some privileged groups at whatever level of the society you may find them.

This is what this election is about : repeating the mistakes until final catastrophy or find a new way. One thing is sure : neither Sarko or Sego are the right answer. They are going to keep the monarchic French system in place and appease it with postures and spraying of small measures, another words for band-aids. Then they will be "astonished" if Marine LePen/DeVilliers win the presidency 2012.

by oldfrog on Mon Feb 12th, 2007 at 04:48:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Swedes and the Finns understood already in the late seventies that they weren't able to compete against the Japs, the Canadians and Australians regarding shipyards, pulp mills and mining. So they taught their blue collars to deal with electronics and computers with Eriksson and Nokia as tremendous successes. Women in for example the dying textile industry were reconverted towards services, specially services towards elderly (a thing France has "discovered" 2 years ago). They reconverted their construction workers into high-tech specialists that build the Saudi cities.

Could France have done more along these lines, given the big differences between France and these "nordic" countries?  Was the problem just one of lack of imagination and/or will?

neither Sarko or Sego are the right answer. They are going to keep the monarchic French system in place and appease it with postures and spraying of small measures, another words for band-aids.

If you could "design" the perfect policy platform for a candidate in this presidential race, what would it look like?

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Mon Feb 12th, 2007 at 08:06:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I see you just put up a diary about François Bayrou's Europe speech.

While I like his vision and ambitions for a "union of Europe to change the world" and "to defend our model of society (...) our social values in particular", could you elaborate how his proposed policies would address the problems and concerns you have with Sarkozy's and Royal's "rhetoric" (I am doubtful you would agree to call them "proposals").

For example, according to the article you diaried:

Pointing out the amazing level of the French debt, he invited his supporters "to ask explanations from Nicolas Sarkozy and Ségolène Royal, who every evening in their speeches promise tens of billion euros additional expenditure".

So, what is Bayrou's position on French debt, and how to resolve the problem?

What does he propose to do about unemployment, pensions, and other issues that you have identified in other comment as urgent issues for France?

(I will post this comment over in your diary as well, where it may in fact be more relevant.)

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Mon Feb 12th, 2007 at 08:38:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]

the Mitterand model is not a social-democratic model nor even a socialist one. It's a "I keep the power to myself-model at any price". Thereof the contempt.

Your (not unreasonable) contempt for the man makes you ignore the economic policies that were pursued.

On the pensions front - of course there is a demographic evolution. Of course the system will need to adapt to it. All I am saying is that it can be done via fine tuning and tinkering over the years, as we've done over the past 40 years to adapt to new population distributions and needs. There will be a combination of slightly higher contributions by workers, slightly longer years of work, and slightly lower pensions, comapred to what have been, but as productivity keeps on increasing, we'll be able to oafford the system and not leave anybody behind.

One thing - on the public pensions thing. I'll let you argue this with my father, who has a simple argument. As a professor, he has had for his whole life a lower salary than his qualifications could have gotten him in the private sector. In return, he got a safe job and a safe pension. You may make a different choice, but it was a deal, a full package, and it is quite unfait to change one part of the package after the fact - and after one party to the deal has already given all it was supposed to.

As to employment/unemployment, the main difference between France and the Nordic countris is the employment rate of the seniors - much higher in Scandinavia. Unemployment has gone to pretty high leves in Finland (above 15%), Denmark (10%) and even Sweden (8%) as well.

You mention Ericsson and Nokia. But the reverse point is that having just one such company is enough to distort all statistics relative to the very small countries that host such a large company. Alcatel or Airbus is not enough, on its own, to have an impact on French macro-economic statistics. Ericsson and Nokia are.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Feb 13th, 2007 at 05:06:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Feb 13th, 2007 at 10:07:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Feb 13th, 2007 at 10:08:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]

  • gave green light to the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior
  • supported a whole parallell secret family on tax payers money
  • illegally wiretaped journalists, politicians and known people
  • lied about his health and published faked health reports
  • didn't act in time regarding the Rwanda genocide despite all the signs
  • had two suicides during his presidency, one prime minister and the other one, a confident, suicided with two bullets (!) in his head (at the Elysée).

Yes, the monarchic presidency is probably not the best feature of the French system, and Mitterrand sure adopted the ways he was criticising two decades earlier....

And indeed, I have a lot of admiration for the transparency, openness and simplicity of the Nordic governments - and that is certainly one feature that I'd like to see adopted here.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Feb 13th, 2007 at 04:51:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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