Friday, March 31, 2006

France's Problems.

If the cover of the Economist is interesting, their inside articles are for the most part good, harsh and fair. I expected some sort of pro-Conservative French-bashing, but I must admit they have good some made some really good points even if I may differ on some things. Their view is merciless but it has the basic analysis right.
They notably exlain the current anger of the youth by the confusion entertained by the political leaders. There is undeniably more to it ut thay point with they point out, "the gap between the rhetoric (Capitalism is bad) and the reality (but consumption is good)" which may be the reason for this gigantic schizoid reaction (my terms). As they put it, the French condemn capitalism during office hours, but are quite happy to consume its products at the week-end.
This is, according to the Economist, the failure of the French political class over the past 20 years to tell it straight: to explain to the electorate what is at stake, why
France needs to adapt, and why change need not bring only discomfort. This failure has bred a political culture of reform by stealth, in which change is carried out with one hand and blamed on outside forces—usually globalisation, the European Union or America—while soothing words about protecting the French way are issued on the other. After a while, the credibility gap tears such a system apart.
They also sum up the French political landscape
quite well a choice between a form of socio-Gaullism embodied by President Chirac and an archaic socialism that fails to explain that wealth needs to be created before it can be shared.
Unfortunately, I do not share the Economist’s positive view of Nicolas Sarkozy as a new-generation leader capable of bridging the gap. It is true that they do stress the obsessive rivalry between he and Prime Minister Villepin over the succession which continues to sap
France's ability to get policy right.
In any case, this is a very interesting time in France, and you do feel the thrill of perilous times that could end up changing our lives for good and whether the rest of the world likes it or not, France's turmoil has implications beyond its own borders both in Europe and beyond.
After having rejected the European constitution last year, the French need to figure out what they really want, but that might not happen before the Presidential and Parliamentary elections next year, in which a new government may finally have some credibility for action.
(here's the entire article)


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