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Can someone give me a short run-down on the philosophy of Dominique Strauss-Kahn? I always interpeted him as a socialist who eschewed dogma and was willing to use whatever policy tools seemed to work, i.e. principled, but free-thinking.

However, the English-language depiction of him is more as a French Clinton or Blair.

Your thoughts?

Also, in looking at the current American crisis, I've been thinking about the need for a national bank, one that would not replace the private sector, but would ensure the continuance of economic activity in times of economic duress (when credit is frozen by the private sector banks).

I know India has several goverment-run banks, and New Zealand has one. I suspect there are several in Asia, and I thought it was quite common in continental Europe as recently as the '90s (if not government-run, then a bank in which the goverment had a large ownership stake). Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Austria privatize its two national banks only a six or seven years ago? What is the landscape in Europe regarding national banks (not to be confused with central banks)?

Thanks...I would appreciate any comments you might have.

by glacierpeaks (glacierpeaks@comcast.net) on Mon Sep 22nd, 2008 at 04:48:45 AM EST
Well, many people reckon his convictions belong to Modem more than to PS (not that there is a HUGE gap between the two). So you could argue he is more of a French centrist than a socialist.

Which would make him a Communist in a latter-days-Blair / Clinton referential of course.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Sep 22nd, 2008 at 05:36:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Based on what I recall, different French ET residents could give 3-4 completely different opinions on DSK.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Sep 22nd, 2008 at 06:09:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In this case I mostly agree with Cyrille!

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 22nd, 2008 at 07:02:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(I guess what varies is not the descriptions of him, but rather the opinions of him...)

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Sep 22nd, 2008 at 07:52:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds fair to me too.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Sep 22nd, 2008 at 07:53:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd gladly discuss Cyrille's opinion, but first I would need to know what the Modem stands for on economic and social issues, apart from promoting François Bayrou... That doesn't mean I disagree.

Having met some of the Strauss-Kahn supporters a few days ago, I would say they still stand to the left of the Modem. It is however difficult to position people within the PS, because their statements and programmes follow internal tactical goals rather than political strategic positioning.


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Mon Sep 22nd, 2008 at 09:30:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is however difficult to position people within the PS, because their statements and programmes follow internal tactical goals rather than political strategic positioning.

So, what does the PS stand for on economic and social issues apart from promoting the various factional leaders?

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 22nd, 2008 at 09:36:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Touché!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Sep 22nd, 2008 at 10:16:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That was exactly my point...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Sep 22nd, 2008 at 12:41:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My point is that you ask for more substance from Modem's positions than you admit of the PS's positions.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 23rd, 2008 at 05:43:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You didn't understand what I meant. I am precisely enraged at the lack of substance of the PS position(s).

I blame the PS for devoting all its members' time and energy to internal infighting when they should spend them on political/economical/social/environmental theory, i.e. building viable alternative models and policies. This lack of substance is particularly worrying at a time when, thanks to the evident failure of the dominant model, there is a window of opportunity for alternative models.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Tue Sep 23rd, 2008 at 09:49:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I would say it's the party that takes sustainability most seriously. They are dead against a runaway debt (maybe sometime too much so -it does seem the right time for a major infrastructure program in many countries, and France may be one of them), and have the most believable environment program.
They are also the most clearly pro-European party around. Whether you count that as social and economic I don't know, but nowadays I don't have much belief in aiming such policies purely at the country level.
They stand for laicity in a big way, despite the excessive religiosity of their leader. At least he keeps it reasonably private.
They are in favour of a union equal in rights to marriage for homosexuals (not enough in my view. It should be called the same for everone. Call it spirograph if you want, but make it the same for all).
They are, in general, for long term solutions. Sustainability is quite the mantra there.

And they are dead against mixing the roles in the separation of powers as we see daily at the moment.

Now, it may just be tactical on the part of Bayrou (how would I know), but I am pretty sure most militants are sincere in those positions. And it's clearly more of a militants' party than a leaders' party -actually leaders may be an overstatement in its use of plural.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Sep 22nd, 2008 at 04:59:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Germany the most prominent public banks are the Sparkassen (I have my account at one), which are kind of a franchise from a Sparkassen-association.
They are owned by the communal level, public ownership is 100%. Connected are the Sparkassen, which are rather small banks (about every district has its own Sparkasse), with the Landesbanken, which are state owned banks, and whose major task is to provide services to the Sparkassen for which they are too small individually (e.g. building and loan association tasks), or providing financing for projects too big for Sparkassen.
Another thing Landesbanken do regularly is sinking lots of money in international bubbles(Asia crisis, current housing crisis in the US), but that isn't officially part of their job.

Then there is the Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederaufbau (KfW), which is a federal gov't owned bank, but is operating hardly for profit. They have special programs with low interest rates, e.g. for house insulation or solar energy on your roof. So its mostly a political purpose bank.

Then there are partly public banks, e.g. the Postbank, which is planned to be privatised completely and merged with the Deutsche Bank. Despite such privatisation, public institutions remain an important player in the banking industry.

The European Union's legislation has interfered with that in several ways. First, public banks are not allowed to get a tax payer funded guarantee on their debt, as this is seen as derailing of private competition. Second the statutes of the Sparkassen-assosation was required to be changed, so that private investors now can buy Sparkassen. But so far this hasn't happened.

Measured by balance sheet Sparkassen and Landesbanken have held 36% of the all banks balance-sheet sum together in 2002.

Another part of Germany's baking landscape are the cooperative banking institutions - Volks- und Raiffeisenbanken, which originally focused on very small credits (Raiffeisen said over a 100 years ago things similar to the ones Muhammad Yunus) and agricultural stuff.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers

by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Mon Sep 22nd, 2008 at 05:37:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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