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Douce France - For Some

by afew Tue Oct 12th, 2010 at 06:13:10 AM EST

On a day of strikes and demonstrations against one of Sarkozy's thin-end-of-the-wedge "reforms", (there is no alternative but to reduce the social protection provided by national retirement pensions), Pierre Haski on Rue89 points to this year's freshly-published Crédit Suisse Annual Global Wealth Report. Which tells us that, in terms of "net worth individuals", France is doing very nicely, thank you. From the Crédit Suisse pdf:

Although it has just 1.1% of the world’s adults, France ranks fourth among nations in aggregate household wealth – behind China and just ahead of Germany. Europe as a whole accounts for 35% of the individuals in the global top 1%, but France itself contributes a quarter of the European contingent. This reflects not only high average assets in France, but also the somewhat greater inequality of wealth than is seen in most other EU countries.

"Better" still, France is Number Three in the world ranking of dollar millionaires (one out of eleven $millionaires in the world is French).

Sarko, of course, is known for his tax shield mechanism that protects high incomes from spoliation, and stands for getting rid of the feeble existing wealth tax (or keeping it feeble in any case).

But retirement pensions? You're dreaming.

On that "inequality" point, Haski quotes recent INSEE figures that show that 13% of the French population has less than €949 per capita per month income.

Cocorico : la France compte plus de millionnaires que les autres | Rue89Cock-a-doodle-doo: France has more millionaires than the others | Rue89
Cette double évolution fournit une toile de fond intéressante à la confrontation sociale qui s'annonce. Dans un pays qui compte un quart des millionnaires en dollars d'Europe, comment se fait-il que la perception d'une grande majorité des Français soit celle d'une menace de déclassement, d'une dégradation progressive de leur niveau de vie, d'entorses aux principes d'égalité qui fondent la République ?This double movement (in wealth and incomes) provides an interesting backdrop to the social confrontation that is to come. In a country that has one quarter of Europe's dollar millionaires, how come the perception of the great majority of French is of being under the threat of losing rank, of a progressive worsening of their standard of living, of twisting of the Republic's founding principles of equality?

Crédit Suisse points out that it's the considerable rise in property values since 2000 that explains the higher wealth estimation for France. (That and the euro.)

The French poor can always wave the flag and sing the Marseillaise...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Oct 12th, 2010 at 06:19:21 AM EST
Also, the real estate bubble has popped in the USA, UK, Spain, Ireland... but not in France (yet). There was a drop in 2009, but the powers that be managed to re-inflate it with tax breaks and zero interest loans. So it's "back to normal" and of course, This Time Is Different>.

Construction business is an important part of the French economy and, as noted by Crédit Suisse, of the French people wealth.

At least for the "ordinary" people: I'd be surprised if the top 1% had the bulk of their assets in real estate.

by Bernard on Tue Oct 12th, 2010 at 07:37:26 AM EST
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I'll be heading down to La Bastille (no pun intended) around 3p.m. to try and take some photos of the two 'corteges' arrivals, as usual placing my feeble body on the line so that those of you who can't attend can get an up close view of the event. This is the week where either the 'shit hits the fan' or Sarko wins this round.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Tue Oct 12th, 2010 at 06:27:44 AM EST
It's worldwide trend for some time now. Rich are getting richer and poor are getting poorer (and numerous)...It is a middle class now who are getting poor. It was not that visible because of all the loans and credit cards that were handed around easily. People did not (and still do not) realise that all they have is debt (not that real estate that is actually bank's property).
Real estate Babble did not burst here in Australia yet also but IMF just few days ago issued warning that it may easily happen soon.
When babble burst than truth is out that "emperor is naked"...Here we have dabble speed economy. Miners and banks are doing well everybody else struggles...
LEP I am waiting for your report...unfortunately I can tell you now Sarco is going to win.
Here in Australia pension age is 65 and they are going on 67 soon. They are even talking about 70. Incredible! Few days ago there was an accident in a factory and they say 75 old worker was hurt badly. 75...can you believe it? It is something that Australia should be ashamed of that 75 years old man has to work hard work in a factory (or any other for that matter).

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Oct 12th, 2010 at 09:28:09 AM EST
Today's "mobilisation" against the pensions reform has been an obvious success, both according to the media and according to reports I've heard about Toulouse and the surrounding towns.

Though the government goes on playing the usual silly game of having the police cite ridiculously low counts, they are admitting more people were out on the street than on previous days of action.

"Because the students joined in", says the Interior Ministry, while the government says that high-school and university students have no legitimacy to demonstrate in opposition to the reform, which is "being carried out for them".

The students, obviously, don't think so.

And now a new leg begins in this struggle. The unions alone were beginning to find it hard calling for strike action after strike action - people will go without a day or two's wages to protest, but more than that begins to bite into household income. The government was counting on the gradual abandon of strike action for that reason. Sarko's greatest fear (according to the Canard Enchaîné a few weeks ago, was that the students would join in.

And the government's hard line (which we've seen attempted again and again under the 5th Republic) just makes people more determined to push back.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Oct 12th, 2010 at 11:27:49 AM EST
I read that as "Sith Republic".
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 12th, 2010 at 11:39:05 AM EST
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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Oct 12th, 2010 at 11:55:12 AM EST
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while the government says that high-school and university students have no legitimacy to demonstrate in opposition to the reform, which is "being carried out for them".

Sarko seems to be working from an alternate thesaurus than the one I have. Or an alternative version of democracy. Because in the version of democracy I am used to, it's the people who tell politicians whether they have legitimacy or not, rather than the other way around...

Though I suspect that Messrs Sarkozy, Putin and Corruptioni might have a productive weekend with their respective constitutions, a pair of scissors and a can of superglue...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Oct 12th, 2010 at 12:54:14 PM EST
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This kind of presumption is in fact typical of conservative governments under the Sith Republic. Er, the Vth.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Oct 12th, 2010 at 01:05:57 PM EST
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Well William Pfaff wrote an article entitled A Sixth Republic for France? Perhaps Sarko's grotesque mimicry of Bonapartisme would make suggestions of a Sixth Republic more palatable. The current situation does highlight the limitations of lots of constitutions, including that of the USA.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Oct 12th, 2010 at 11:26:36 PM EST
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The danger being, of course, that the x would be dropped.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Oct 12th, 2010 at 11:32:13 PM EST
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My daughter tells me that the lycéens in her high school demonstrated in front of the school today. In the 16th...

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 12th, 2010 at 02:58:10 PM EST
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