Commentaire sur Tabarly: Le Film October 5, 2009Posted by The Writers in Uncategorized.
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Commentaire que j’ai posté sur Amazon.fr concernant le DVD Tabarly
Et on peut lire:
1 internaute sur 1 a trouvé ce commentaire utile :
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Tabarly l’innovateur, 17 mars 2009
Par Viking (Suéde) – Voir tous mes commentaires
Le film sur Tabarly est un bon film, bonne musique de Thiersen. Ma critique principale est qu’ìl est trop en retrait du sujet pour les raisons suivantes.
1- Tabarly est un innovateur et son histoire se confond avec l’innovation nautique et la voile de competition moderne. Ce devrait être le fil conducteur du film et cela d’une maniére bien plus clair que Pierre Marcel l’á donné à voir. Par exemple, Tabarly montre que la course en elle-même (pour établir des records, ou pour battre un autre concurrent) n’est pas le moteur essentiel.
En revanche, il indique que la recherche de la performance, ce qui fonctionne et améliorer sa machine constitue le coeur de son interet.
2- Tabarly avait de quoi être surpris par la couverture mediatique de l’ORTF a l’époque de De Gaulle. A cette èpoque, en France en particulier, les medias ètaient largement de simples instruments ideologiques donnant des lecons plutot que des informations. Tabarly se defend dans le même film d’avoir aucun “message” a donné a la “population”.
3- Ceci rejoint l’incompetence notoire des journalistes francais, qui font de lui une star des media (le forcant a pavané sur les champs elysées contre son grés). Quand on parle a un innovateur, il est necessaire d’avoir pris connaisse au prealable du domaine technique dans lequel il a opéré des changements.
4- Le dialogue se fait pourtant entre Tabarly et les pros de la voile (puique il en a formé un paquet). On comprends son impact dans le milieu voile/plaisance surement en France, voir en Europe et peut être dans le monde.
Bien que Pierre Marcel a eu l’amabilité de n’être pas encombrant dans sa realisation, il a traité Tabarly de la même maniére. Et c’est dommage.
Referendum “populaire” pour “privatiser” la poste October 5, 2009Posted by The Writers in Uncategorized.
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L’express publie le torchon suivant:
Vauzelle: “La défense de la Poste devrait rassembler tous les républicains”
Par Tefy Andriamanana, publié le 05/10/2009 14:47 – mis à jour le 05/10/2009 22:11
Michel Vauzelle, président PS de la région PACA, a lancé une pétition pour une charte des services publics. Il réagit aux résultats de la “votation citoyenne” sur la réforme de la Poste.
Quelle est votre réaction suite aux résultats de la “votation citoyenne” sur la réforme de la Poste?
Cela montre qu’il y a une mobilisation citoyenne exceptionnelle. Nicolas Sarkozy disait que les grèves ne gênaient personne, que les manifestations n’avaient plus de succès. Mais sur un sujet central comme celui des services publics, les gens se déplacent en nombre.
Le Gouvernement dément pourtant toute privatisation de la Poste…
On ne peut pas croire le gouvernement sur le sujet. Pour GDF, le changement de statut d’entreprise publique à société anonyme s’est soldé par une privatisation.
Eric Woerth, ministre du Budget, a écarté tout référendum d’initiative populaire sur le sujet.
Avec ma pétition, je veux profiter de la nouvelle interprétation de l’article 11 de la Constitution sur le référendum d’initiative populaire pour que les citoyens votent sur le sujet. Mais le gouvernement n’a pas encore produit la loi organique permettant la réforme.
La “votation citoyenne” l’a montré, il y a un mouvement énorme. Nous allons exiger du Président de la République l’application de cette réforme. Il y a actuellement 300 000 signatures, pour être validée la pétition doit en compter 4,5 millions. Mais quand on a réussi à mobiliser 2 millions de personnes, on peut imaginer atteindre ce seuil.
Que peut faire l’opposition pour contrer la réforme?
Deux modèles de société s’opposent. Un modèle républicain fondé sur l’égalité grâce aux services publics: la santé, l’éducation, la Poste… Et un modèle ultra-libéral avec un Etat privatisé. Ce modèle, c’est celui de l’Amérique de Bush, d’avant Obama.
Nous ne sommes plus dans un débat droite/gauche, on est dans la défense du modèle républicain contre ceux qui défendent l’individualisme à tout prix, la compétition à tout prix. Un modèle qu’impose Nicolas Sarkozy. Ce combat devrait rassembler tous les républicains.
Vous comptez le MoDem dans les républicains ?
Non je parle du peuple, ce n’est plus une affaire d’état-majors, c’est pour ça que je soutiens un référendum. On dépasse le débat pour savoir si tel ou tel parti sera dans une majorité. Les républicains ne peuvent s’enfermer dans ces discussions.
Je publie un commentaire sur le Figaro qui est publié et semble censuré:
Le commentaire est le suivant:
Titre: Les ploucs confédérés organisent une maneouvre manipulatoire de grande ampleur
Je confirme l’analyse du lecteur papineo: a une mauvaise question, on obtient une mauvaise reponse. De quoi s’agit t’il?
D’abord, disons le directement, c’est une manipulation politique de l’institution poste prenant en otage une partie du public
pour proteger ses fins corporatistes. Quelles sont elles? C’est simple: donner le pouvoir a quelques idiots d’employer qui ils veulent, de faire payer l’etat pour cela, et de leur faire joindre un syndicat, ou un parti qui veut perpetuer ce petit cirque le plus
longtemps possible. Probleme, c’est que le monde change et que la France devrait en faire normalement partie.
Prenons example de la Suede ou je vis et de sa poste.
Posten AB est sous license de l’etat suedois. Ils ont 32 000 employees, et gere 20 millions de pieces de courier par jours.Ils ont
liberaliser leur services avant d’entrée dans l’EU (1995). L’Eu a fait pression sur les pays de l’EU pour moderniser leur services:
La France, dans sa grande betise, est la seule resistante, impermeable a l’intelligence (voir par example le pseudo- service “mon timbre a moi” ou on peut mettre sa photo sur un timbre, quelle connerie!: mais bon c’est de la singerie de service, donc en France, c’est du service.)
Bon revenons au gens serieux qui ne trompe pas leur publique: En 1992, la suede vote l’abolition du monopole d’etat de la distribution du courier (ce qui introduit de la competition, ce qui ne fait pas de mal). En 1994, la poste suedoise n’est plus une institution de status publique mais une entreprise independante detenue par l’état (ce qui fait que la mission de service publique de distribution du courier est normallement conservé.)
Je passe sur un ensemble de service moderne et efficace, des modeles d’affaires qu’ils mettent en place en Europe, de l’innovation technologique, produits hybrides papier/electronique etc, mais en gros la poste suedoise est constituée de 4 companies (1. distribution de lettre magazines, communication electroniques, services aux personnes et addresses pour les entreprises, banques, groupe financier et le secteur de l’edition. Revenue 2008: 17 milliars de couronnes suedoise et 2500 millions d’unité de transactions.
2. une companie qui operent dans 8 pays nordiques et europeens: logistique uniquement, pallette, colis et services expresses: 2008, 4 milliards de benefices.
3- Une companie qui fait de la logistique dans les pays du nord de l’Éurope: 2008 10 milliars de couronnes suedoises, 65.5 millions d’unités échangés. 4- Derniére innovation en date, Nordern Posten: une fusion Posten AB (Suede) et Danish Posten (Danmark): plus de volume et un redeploiement des unités que j’ai presenté ci-avant.
En gros, des gens efficaces qui se sortent les doigts du cul. En France, on a une grosse masse de ploucs qui ne savent rien sur rien et dont la seule analyse est la suivante:
je cite “2o minutes”: «Il n’y a pas eu de centralisation de la communication», assurent les organisateurs. «Le mouvement n’a pas été politique, ajoute Bernard Poisson de la CFTC Poste, ça a été le “système D” et c’est pour cela que ça a fonctionné».
Les mairies ont également joué un rôle primordial dans la mobilisation autour de la votation. Certaines ont accepté de mettre à disposition une urne devant ou dans leurs locaux. D’autres sont même allées jusqu’à afficher la date de la votation sur des panneaux lumineux en ville et à poster un appel sur leur site Internet. Comme dans cette vidéo de Bertrand Delanoë …”
Un syndicaliste et le maire de paris, et ce n’est pas de la politique politicienne? Ou bien nous sommes mentalement retardé, ou je me trompe. En tout etat de cause, tous ces “politiciens” passent trop de temps et energie a manipulé les masses (ils pensent qu’ils font de la politique) et les vrais politiciens suedois organisent leurs services et leur pays et ca marche tres bien. Et sans vomissements oratoires et pseudo-referendum populaire!
2007 Sarkozy President and the French New Government May 19, 2007Posted by The Writers in Politics.
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Any serious commentator of French politics should notice that Sarkozy presidency is operating a rather incredible change in the French political landscape. Although I am convinced that changes was needed from a long time (more than 30 years). And little serious reform in this direction has been done after George Pompidou’s work on industrial policies which partially regenerated France.
There is several important features to notice in Sarkozy presidency I want to review in this commentary. 2007 may well be an important date in the modern history of France. I don’t dissimulate that I expect to be the date where France catches up with its real positioning for its own people and for its place in the world as a great nation. There was, as this blog witness, an aggravation of issues in the French context, most middle-class visitors of France are not equipped to handle. It is not the aim of this comment to repeat the main line of the issues (but for an overview read Michel Gurfinkiel ‘Can France Be Saved’? in Commentary Magazine, May 2007).
One has nothing less to do than greeting Nicolas Sarkozy for having tackled with such intelligence and political flair all the themes that needed to be addressed in the campaign. In doing so, he has systematically demonstrated the inadequacy of the French socialists in today’s world but also put the French right wing movement on a radically different footing. I guess the socialists themselves have not understood the implication of what is going on as one sees the head of the socialist party holding on petty attacks. The other main point is that it has put common sense back into the picture of French political diagnosis and has reveal a modern president that is finally worth a modern state. Some of it is to the credit of the French voters but, we must realize, that most of it is due to Sarkozy and his team to have proposed a real program, a vision with content (a radical change since a long while).
The points that make Sarkozy campaign one of a kind in the French context:
1- He has dealt with a style that is not only in sharp contrast with his opponents but with all the tradition of political talk French politicians have always operated with, i.e. a sort of condescending view of how to explain things to the ‘people’.
2- The major move of the Sarkozy placement as a modern French statesman is the replacing of the right wing politics in a completely new framework that undercut both sclerosed right wind former view of their role and socialistic rhetoric of welfare, employment and care for the under-privileged citizen.
3- the campaign themes: une bouffée d’air frais
Sarkozy had dealt straightaway with what most politicians would have preferred not to deal with notably the immigration problem and policies, which have been left too long to the literary elaboration of Jean-Marie Le Pen and to the socialists moral entrepreneurs telling us, such as much of religious laissez-faire, that loving our follow immigrant is enough to deal with the issues of immigration which touches simply upon their economic integration, their well being in terms of education and possibilities to take advantage of the opportunities of a modern society, the dealing with long term unemployment, the housing matters and the avoidance of ghettoizing.
In fact, Sarkozy not only dealt with issue that the politicians have permitted since, for example Giscard D’Estaing 1978 laws on the familial gathering of immigrant and their family without ever understanding the implication of this welcomed rule on the impoverish stratum of the French population. The impoverished French natives did, not only having to deal with their losses of employment, but had to deal with a population that share the same problems without better solutions for it (rather than an increase of shared misery). Foreigners certainly suffer their share of struggle in this context. All in all, one needs to be very serious about those matters both for the native French population and the foreigners. Those matters do not disappear and develop along the life span of generation, that political scheduling do not cover easily.
Sarkozy´s political flair has been to deal once and for all with the aging Jean-Marie which, I hope, will make more for the clearing up of the issue of immigration than the manipulative techniques Mitterrand and some of his socialists followers have developed (see the campaign of 1983 ‘Touche pas à mon pote’ with its leader Harlem Désir who played the alternative voice of an assumed multicultural France.) But, as usual with the socialists, they do not identify the problem accurately, making a moral issue where people have lost the economic ground that help them to re-create a normal environment within a fast changing society.
4- Sarkozy also has dealt more efficiently on themes that should be socialists concern which is mainly ‘Work’. Here the blow to the socialists is certainly the most interesting since it is showing how socialism do not mean anything anymore. It has also place the UMP in the different configuration in the right wing movement since it is not dealing essentially with tradition and its protection but dealing with the ‘vivid force’ of the nation (a term that Chirac has managed to kill).
There was some humor in this campaign and Sarkozy mentioning great French socialists leaders such as Leon Blum and Jean Jaurés is obviously a blow to the socialists (he also mentioned the president Paul Doumer, a man from Cantal, in the Auvergne Region).
His main tactic is to tackle the shame of the 35 hours a week rule, which although difficult to replace directly will be complemented, in Sarkozy’s proposition, with a more flexible work laws allowing employers and employee alike not to pay tax on working hours done above the 35 hours limit.
Sarkozy has undermined the grounding of the socialists by dealing with matter most to people, their earnings and the sustainability of a certain standard of living, basically economy.
5- There is a legitimate concern for the accounting balance of the nation. Of course, this is not a fashionable topic in the public but it is central to the whole functioning of the nation. Interesting suggestion of splitting the ministry of economy into 2 or 3 parts leading to a more efficient dealing of budget and monetary matters will be a reform to follow up in the near future. Some interesting things are going to happen under the ministry of Economy, Finance and Employment with Jean Louis Borloo and Eric Woerth, minister of Budget and Public Administration.
6- The UMP has presented itself as a force of renewing of France. Socialists may have thought of themselves as genetically progressists’ people, but they have shown little sociological understanding of their country and even less so of economics. It is their weak point since the socialist theorist Proudhon must be their example in the matter. I mention French socialists have intellectually failed to grasp the sense in which socialism may have gone. They have scholarly failed to understand Karl Marx’s criticisms of Proudhon in this ‘The Misery of Philosophy’. They still hold to their catholic moral ethic view of economy today which shows how progressive they have remained over the years but also how little informed they are about intellectual progress in their understanding of economic matters.
The UMP has presented itself has the party to renew France and have made sure to play down the partisanship and have shown intelligence in their choice of government that reflect this line of work. I can only welcome warmly such a approach of reform that is counting on people that have been chosen having the conviction that reform is what need to be done under the lead of the prime minister Francois Fillon.
This wind of reform is greatly appreciated at the international level and firstly at the European level where France has to conquer back a leader role. I would salute and highly praise here the incredible exercise of Tony Blair, UK Prime Minister, has done welcoming Sarkozy and France future in a modern political configuration.
I would like to make some comments on the composition of the French government that demands notice:
There is a killing-off of the socialist’s rhetoric of renewing politics is bringing women to power. The government brings 7 women and 8 men which should sunk Ségolène Royale’s pretension to possess the philosophical stone of social overture.
There are some notable features of this government I want to point out and underline. For example, in direction of the French of North African origins, there is the naming of Rachida Dati at the Justice department. I would like to emphasis that Sarkosy shows that changes are real. We do not have the usual immigrant puppet in a under-secretariat dealing with things everybody knows will go nowhere. Instead, somebody of value is dealing with a department which matters are at the center of the morality of a modern democracy. In so many words, the new government make clear that immigrants are lead to play an important role in our democracy.
I am pleased to see madame Michèle Alliot-Marie back into the new government dealing with domestic policies. I am very supportive of the youngest member of the new government, Valérie Pécresse, 39 year old, who is dealing with an higher education and research. If the country has any pretension to foresee change and handle dynamically the social complexity of a modern nation, we need a renewal of the whole higher educational system. As such, she is a very important woman. I am also glad to see Alain Juppé to be back not only in the town of Bordeaux but also at the highest position where his decisiveness will be needed. To finish on the personal appreciation of those personality, I finish on Bernard Kouchner, which although emerging with the socialists during the 1980s, was a likable man. In fact, he was so because he is made obviously in a different mold than the personalities coming out the French socialist party apparatus.
6- Another point that confirm my optimism vis-a-vis Sarkozy reform of politics in France is not only his condemnation of the golden parachute for people such as Noel Forgeard the former CEO of EADS with 8.5 M Euro when he announced the laying out of 10 000 jobs! and handing over the future administrator a company in trouble. This is, one must notice, the personal friend of former president Chirac himself (donc tout va bien!) Sarkosy has to clear the mess up personally and as soon as possible. That is what he is doing: how much do you want to show that there are visible change under way (we could not fall lower than that anyway). On the serious side of the coin, EADS is an extremely important part of the European industry and we do not have the means to mess up with such a competitive and key domain of the industry. I guess Sarkozy is re-insuring both our German and British partners that they will be no petty dealing with industrial policies in the future with France.
A final point is that Nicolas Sarkozy brings the renewal of the French politics with this government on an honest recognition (which I have never witness before, see Sarkozy’s interview with US journalist [link to come]) that the mis-adaptation of French society is greatly due to the ill-adaptation of its political class to reform itself in view of realities. (This explains the discrepancy with the population who is not in the power to reform such profession).
I am positive that the French people will support the change engaged by this government by voting the majority for the MPs’ election to come in June this year (2007).
Bravo Francois Guinot – About l’Academie des Technologies April 18, 2007Posted by The Writers in Technology.
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In a recent paper called ‘La Culture du Doute’ in the Nouvel Economiste (no 1383), one learn the creation of an Academy of Technology.
First, let us approve Francois Guinot, its director, and the policy he is decided to apply.
One must recognise great qualities to this man as he is working on establishing a institution serving the dissemination of technological information within France. Of course, one may be sceptical when one knows technology, that institution alone cannot be a successful vector of diffusion.
Mr Guinot recognises the institutional limitations in the first place. In Michel Crozier words, he is working with an institution with a modern and therefore modest outlook.
To formulate the challenge Mr Guinot is facing in the French context, one has to understand that he is working at several institutional levels at once.
Mr Guinot challenges is double, he has to close down the gap with our institution and the role of technology, its recognition within the French society. In this sense, and to use Karl Popper, expression, he is working at a meta-level with this institution trying to make the French society passing from a closed society to an open society.
Mr Guinot has also a acute sense of this challenge vis-a-vis the intellectual establishment when he says that the French Academy of Technology will not be established on disciplines but will elaborate committees dedicated to produce input and reflections on the technological issues of the moment.
It seems that Mr Guinot is simply directing an institution made to function! An institution that is serving a purpose rather than serving its own justification for existing. He adds: ‘the risk of such institution is to be in complete discrepancy with the economical and social realities of the country.’ The paper continues saying there is a concern not to fall into the bermuda triangle of the State and knowledge Parisian Elite taking place between the V arrondissement of the state ministries, the Ve of the intellectuals and the Seine river and its ‘Pont des Arts’. Indeed, remaining within this imbred controlling circles of luminaries cannot fit the bill when it comes to deal with world-wide movement of innovation.
The other level of Mr Guinot action is given by the French institutional context. The president of this institution gives himself the objective to act at the regional level and contact the cities of the country. It seems common-sense is taken as the best council again when it comes to everyday life.
I will, to conclude, share another (certainly complementary) concern. Technology itself is dictating its own rules. In the actual rythm of innovation, technology is an embedded part of the existing context of global economical exchanges. Today’s technology are working on the model of open innovation, which time scale goes beyond the rythm of any political institution (which has to report to popular instances) making information about technology and its development, an absolute necessity. In technological time, 5 years is already medieval past. And to understand this, one does not only need the education of technologists (which we have and certainly need to restructure in regard of the large potential that a country like France can unleash) but we also need a change of culture, whereby one is able to deal in the social sciences and in the larger public with issues dealing with our times, bringing a more refine understanding of the change and its constitutive elements, its implications in the fabric of society.
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The Swedish Newspaper ‘Dagens Nyheter’ is overviewing some of current French trouble in view of accounting for the coming Election 2007.
The section is part of the sunday paper opening with a large picture of Ségolène Royale holding ‘un sourire radiant’.
I must say I particularly appreciate the Swedish way of covering the news since it always adopts the point of view of the man-of-the-street. Of course, it has the same flows visible in other journalistic accounts. In international matter, it basically repeats what one can read in a French newspaper. Obviously, part of their work is to translate French news for Swedish readership. And in this exercise, correspondents show very little creativity.
From a French point of view, the most interesting part is the clear perception Swedish journalist shows about French weaknesses. It demonstrates how much some of the shortcomings are visible to an outsider observer. Since, as Frenchmen, one can be brainwashed by the different ideological constituencies making up the political landscape, the Swedish point of view is refreshing since it starts from what one can commonly observe.
The Swedish poet and author Bodil Malmsten, who decided to live somewhere else than Sweden, established herself in ‘Bretagne’. She gives a personal reflection about the difference between the French and Swedish politicians. She notices that all three of the French contenders for the presidency (Bayrou, Sakho, and Ségo) have an urban character but also conspicuously lack humour. To the credit of French politicians, she notice they are much better trained in discourse, since the French culture offers training in rethorics.
Another article is dealing with Fredrika Stahl who, one learns, is a Jazz singer starting a band in Paris which is mainly composed of producer Jean-Fabien Ekodo (Cameroun), the pianist Hiro Morozumi (Japan), the drummer Simone Prattico (Italia) and the guitarist Öyvind Nypan (Norway). They seems to make the best of their set up and we wish them good work and success.
On the more bitter note, there is a report on the homeless in Paris and Augustin Legrand, who managed to take up the problem at a national level through the media, turned it into a campaign for social justice. Apart from the obvious moral matter concerning social problem, which anybody will agree should be resolved, one find the analysis of sociologist Raymond Boudon which offers another interpretation of the phenomenon. I found his final remarks interesting. He makes the point that, the raise of public figure such as Augustin Legrand is not the mark of a good functioning democracy as the media likes to portray it. On the contrary, it is the mark of a disfunctional one. Since the mass-media builds-up a pressure creating a crisis which, in turn, sways public opinion. Boudon says that French risk to get a political system governed by crises created by associations and media create an urgency in the selected social problems which is artificial. In his words, it is completely without democratic legitimacy which, I guess, it means that those problems have not been identified as as legitimate issues the relevant administration should take up. The reporter suggests to Boudon that decisions are always made politically anyhow. Boudon specifies what he means about the lack of democratic legitimacy: ‘yes [decisions are political]. but under the worst possible conditions, in the midst of crisis and under strong pressure from the media and public opinion. That means that you have not had time to reflect sufficiently about alternatives.’
Augustin Legrand has achieved a media momentum. France is full of those actors in public life who have a taste of the public opinions by working out issues in full support of the media (see the emergence of José Bové as the leader of the movement anti-globalisation). The inflaction of rethorics discredite most of people who wants to be considered seriously. Not in France, since it may bring you very far. And it is very far those rethoricians have set up to go. Augustin Legrand is setting up to carry on action in Darfour, extending the topic of social crisis and surfing the waves he has co-created with the media since they are part of the making of social problems on the public scene.
Another paper is about Ségo and her presidency. The journalist Ingrid Hedström’s point of view is rather superficial since spreading further the zeitgeist of our time, i.e. the feminist line of interpretation which seems to say that Ségo is in the line of great woman who have achieved change through out French history. Of course, she is against competitors who have different characters. But at the end of the day, we are in the realm of interpretation I dislike personally the most, i.e. ‘people’s personal features as proper analysis of French politics’. The basically wrong assumption is that one should know the supposed character of the politicians in order to be able to identificate which person one may be voting for. First, any politician is representative of the party they are working for. The only thing that may be personal is the ability of the person itself to be driven by issues it has experienced itself across its own experience.
I take the opportunity of this paper to get some of my own analysis of Ségo phenomenon out in public. And it reads like this:
The Ségo phenomenon is interesting since it is for me, the last trick (or should I say myth) French socialists have been able to deliver to the French population. Let us remember French socialists have failed to embrace the market and its implication for their own analysis of France and the transformation it is facing. In avoiding what Spain, Italy, Germany, UK and many other socialists parties have achieved, they have consequently been unable to design socialists policies that would propose interesting solution and eventual counter-balanced mechanisms to limit some of the effect of the market economy (as one should expect in a responsible democracy). As usual, they believe that capitalism is an ideology and as such, they propose an alternative ideology. The 35 hours week is one of those small-scale ideological techniques which is one of the most pityfull policy of a modern democracy. I suggest French socialists to think over that one: and if capitalism was not an ideology? But one of the basic form of social exchange between people, i.e. economic exchanges?
Where is Ségo in this framework? What is the relevance of the question I just put up that seems so basic to any modern economy and the presidency of Ségo? It seems I am laboring a field that is rather at the stage of harvesting. In fact, my analysis is that Ségo is putting another socialist mask, the feminist one, over the very issues that makes life hard for so many French citizen: a complete misunderstanding of economics and a dirigist view of how people get their revenues. As a result of this French culture of dirigism, people have a little understanding of economics and the part they (can) play in it. It all comes down to a re-inforcement of the view of administrative regulation, an State based over-head rendering the simple mechanisms of budget balance, a matter of social wealthfare reform. Good common sense understanding is always suspicious since in the administrative view of the economy, one is dealing with redistribution which, in the political area, translates into ‘the identification of the political clientele that will benefit from their good will’.
If you want to be serious about France problems, then it starts by mastering the public finances, since 1990s have seen the acceleration of the rationalisation of business and state administration in order to cope with the demand of globalisation. If you are French speaking, you may be interested in reading Francois Ecalle (2005) Maîtriser les finances publiques! Comment, Pourquoi?, Economica which is a level above than knowing if a woman is fit for French presidency. Since French statemen will strongly engage in this endeavour, one may be able to act on public policies and have economic margin to provide its own people will well targeted objectives supporting finally anybody to engage in the competitive race of science and technology, business, services and the management of its resources in the best possible way.
With Ségo, we are not there yet. Instead, we are wandering about her own personal path to the position in her private life and in the party, as through the French political landscape. One thing that I have to make clear to the foreign reader that read us, is the following. If you read me, you may superficially think that I am conservative since globalisation, the standardisation of our way of life (food) and the situation of woman in politics is rather one of the burning issue of the day. I do not deny this. What the reader may be aware about France, is the urgency to which those topic apply to this country. All other modern democracies have experienced different degrees of the issues I have mentioned before. They are in the position of searching for solutions to adapt their country to those matters, domain by domains. They are affected by those issues because they are open societies. They are not protected against change, since they are part of it. In France, the system is working to protect or reject any of those changes before they get applied in the first place. Contrary to the other nation, French population has been deprived of its benefit (as well as its problem). For example, when other democracy are working to act upon some pernicious effect of globalisation, French population has not started to feel neither the benefit or the default of it. For example, the economic rationalisation of the state has been achieved in the 1990 in Sweden. The LOLF (Villepin policy that goes in this direction) is starting to bring its effect (only 17 years later!) on the rationalisation of the economy of French administrative systems. Another case, the economic deregulation in transportation has a huge effect on the democratisation of transportation to popular masses. France main actors in this field, have searched to protect themselves with the usual tricks and alliances. In other countries dynamically related to the realities of our epoche, this is a closed topic.
Again, French socialists are backward in that they are the first victim of their own rethorics. They think they are forward looking and blind themselves with artifices, which portray them as progressist and foward looking. They simply (try to) built upon ruins of the XIX century social thinking. Socialists are still in the reactive mode of thinking, whereby XIX economy and industrialism has created great wealth as well as great human misery. By tradition (and now on paper only) they are on the side of great misery but all the modern version of it have escaped them (immigration, the pauperisation of the French population, the lack of small and medium business to take up the globalisation of markets and exchange [where by the way the experience of immigration is useful]).
France has, in its political structures, from the left to the right political spectrum, a built-in social consciousness. It is perhaps one of the honorable goal the French state has assigned to itself. And it deserved to be protected and finely tuned to the realities of today’s inequalities. Nevertheless, the socialists, with the political apparel view of political realities, are soaked into the top-down view of ‘policies applications’.
In other words, the reform in France has to do with the success that the prostestant ethic of work has achieved from the first religious reformation in Europe to the raise of modern capitalism and today competitive and technological society. The basic idea is that multiple communities are less controlable but also may be open to all sorts of influences and may offer a diversity of solutions and possibilities that no selected community from any top-down policy can achieve successfully (since always in a narrow spread of solutions). In France, politicians have to understand that they have to struggle with their own catholic based culture of monolitism, in the institutions, their outlook, their education and their application of subsequent policies and rules. The socialists, since they pride themselves assuming the break from religious matters, have long been blinded by their real power to extract themselves from the catholic outlook. I suggest they haven’t, as it shows in the constitution of ministries such as the French National Education which is a very peculiar kind of administration, with a very peculiar kind of outlook on education itself, which borrow more on Napolean view of training in a kind of republican ideology rather than real (liberal) education.
This is too tuff for the French socialist to digest. It is better to wander about if Ségo is a woman French trust. And if, by the very fact, she is a woman, she could bring with her a vision, (a female vision) that would finally break down some of the limitation that France is crippled with. French socialists have, by their training in ideology, always applied the rules of public treachery, by virtue of which, French radicals are running after the last fashion in politics in order to claim they are running it in the first place. Feminism is the radicalism of the day and Ségo is the incarnation of this superficial view of radicalism. In the above comment, I have indicated the kind of radicalism French people are looking forward to, basically real change, not change of image (In 2002 last election, when 17% of the French population vote for Jean-Marie LePen, it may show you that they are not joking about the radicality of change some electors may be expecting).
Dagens Nyheter is putting another paper about Fashion in Paris and the fashion business. They present Lars Nilsson who is a creator working for the Fashion industry indicating that, even has a raising star of the industry, he would never consider starting his business in Paris. At the reading of the paper, we understand that, since the Fashion industry is an industry, the rules are global (hé oui!). In this view, Paris or not, the rules of the business ends up beloging to the dynamism for creating enterprises and the possibilities to do so in the best possible ways. Again, France is showing the strength of its medieval like business structure whereby one can make clothes for cheap and of quality thanks to a network of shops (called ‘le sentier’ in Paris) but that is not enough since, distribution, capital flow, delocalising of the workforce as well as the market of clothing is both getting spread among more gentil customers (moving toward pret-a-porter rather than Haute couture) which are not European based anymore (asia and india are the growing economies).
For the party-goers, this paper is reminding that the Fashion shows and its related parties are in London and New York showing that Paris glory on that matter is gone (at least for now).
The paper is also reviewing a series of restaurant in Paris worth the visit. But I will be French and will keep it hermetically secret from you, dear readers, allowing me, myself and I only, to enjoy its culinaries beauties. Since, we are in the DN sunday section, the newpaper reviews mayonaise sauce, rustic french food, chocolate and wine.
Just a remark, since I have been making remarks on the structure of French economy, notice that those businesses are stable business based on the very conservative economic model of rarity of resources in order to limit concurrence. This model explains the systematic way in which a well-known part of French capitalism placed itself in the high luxury products business. The evolution of the product is never really based on the pace of technological integration and rythm that industrial products are based upon. In the same way, this capitalism is based on a conservative view of business economy through the very materials they are working with.
The final paper is about French woman obsession with being slim. I consider the anorexic view of woman body an issue of control that goes beyond the appearence. This is one aspects of social mal-adjustment of some women with their own society. It is possible that French’s woman may have a problem with their own place within it and the role they are able to play. I don’t know if Ségo will be able to remedy to this matter, even if, on the face of it, she claims she is the one to tackle that part of the problem. Beside Ségo institutional feminism, this is the demonstration, that women place in the French society is not so well affirmed. But some women have obviously embraces the rules of the game where they have no function at the point to apply it to themselves drastically. This is part of the psychologisation of the French social structure, and the personalisation of public matters. Beside the fact, that being a good sociologists, rather than paying for a shrink may be the solution, I suggest that personal well being is not only the result of disfunction of the society to absorb part of its population as real actors of its functioning. Personal well being reflects how they are actors of this disfunction themselves since they have decided to live those contradictions in themselves. I guess, if you are young and female in France, you may experience double ostracism attached to being young: (1) to get into some serious professional activities in order to develop and flourish and being a woman: (2) to be easily subjected to the machismo of some frustrated poor sods that act as their bosses.
The only hope may be to be a grand-mother in France. That a perspective to look forward to! This is the last DN paper dealing with an institution called ‘L’école des grands-parents Européens’. It is about our good old grannies who share their views about their grand kids and the conflict of generation. It is a forum for them to also voice some disagreement with their sense of being taking advantage of, when parents disengaged freely from their kids by counting on their grand parents to implicitly fill in the job description.
Well, again, here, we are dealing with the change of social structure, whereby the expectation of the definition of the catholic familly is desintegrating. Grand parents themselves have started to experience other horizons for themselves, which in turn are changing the very expectation of what a familly is about.
I don’t want to comment further on that topic, but, to people interested in that matter, I suggest them to investigate the difference between the French’s construction of the familly relying on very traditional mode of action to every stage of life in constrast to, for example, Swedish household where grands-parents are not, since a while now (more than 30 years) expected necessarily to support their grand-children when their parents are away. It is assumed in Sweden that grands-parents may have an adult life of their own. It implies parents full responsability for the organisation of their own life and the life of their children and perhaps, the organisation, by the state agencies, of structure to deal with different stages of life (dagis, but also policies for teenagers whereby each cities have a cultural budget to support the creation of music (rock) bands).
Review of TIME Magazine paper ‘The French Exodus’ April 15, 2007Posted by The Writers in Media.
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In a paper Peter Gumbel of the Time Magazine (5 April 2007) entitled ‘The French Exodus’, the journalist recalls the obvious, i.e. the lack of opportunities for the young French generation to start businesses, to get even managerial positions when you are under 40 and even, and that’s the scary part, getting a job!
Peter Gumbel succeeds to get an journalistic edge to his paper on a topic any French’s person born in the 1970s onward know too well. He jointly starts his paper by allowing a comparison between a second generation north african immigrant experience and a do-well Frenchman from one of the best school in Paris, leading to the noticing that, at the end of the day, being young in France is certainly an handicap, if not an insult.
There is a series of interesting remarks done by diverse expatried French people which just confirm the general attitudes people who want to have a career feel within the French context. I want to add several remarks prompted by the reading of this paper.
1- The journalist is right about noticing that part of this story is unfullfilled opportunities in France are also the lot of many other countries (which I guess is the history of immigration which partly creates what US is a nation is today). In other words, it is not new, but it seems to be new to the French nation and especially applying to what could have been the Elite of the country, i.e. a part of its well educated citizen.
2- The paper is interesting for what it tells and what it leaves out as well. Since second generation ‘magrebins’ as well as ‘well-to-do French citizen’ have difficulties to innovate and get at the point of starting to exploit their potential, what does it tell to the largest part of the population that live under those archaic rules of its ruling elite?
3- I have been prompted to this article by another French compatriote of mine, who told me in substance that he found himself in accordance to the line of this paper, i.e. the rejection of the youth in France when it comes to do anything. It brings me to the fact that an outright rejection of the Elite is certainly the most stupid thing to do since the question is not about having Elite but the shape that this French Elite takes.
4- It seems to me, since this young man expressing his angst about the approach of the youth within France, that the issue has never been presented within the political frame of an opposition between right and left as conceived by French political organisations. It touches the organisation of society itself and the possibilities of social change within the structures and organisation of the country. It is, in itself, a far more deep issue, since it touches what one is able to do, rather than the ideological issues of what one is thinking about the organisation of French society.
The challenge that France is facing is bigger than the Elite are prepared to handle. This shows in the immigration path taken by the young generation. Politicians had not understood that, beside the claim of democratic representativity, there is the issue of the relationship between the legal (the use of ‘decret’) and the nitty gritty local administration and management of those same ideals and organisational rules.
Ségolène Royale, for example, in a typical socialist way, does not understand this and believe that proposing, ‘a mot couvert’ a VIth Republic would be the solution. The legalistic approach is exactly the problem of French society. The possible change of constitution is not the solution since it is what politician and political scientists perceive through their frame of analysis. I would say, the problem is placed at the level of what lawyers would call ‘jurisprudence’, i.e. where, how best and with which people one is able to apply policies with the people concerned rather than on their behalf.
The issue touches deeply into the relationship between the decisionary power in Paris and the peripheral power that is taking up the issues and translate it at the local level. The best work on that issue is certainly Pierre Gremion analysis, in his 1976 book ‘Le Pouvoir Périphérique’. I suggests the reader to get into this analysis, if you are remotely interested in France. For the rest, journalistic accounts brings us reminder of the state of the situation, but no yet the analysis any well-informed citizen would welcome.
French Media: manipulation rather than information January 5, 2007Posted by The Writers in Media.
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French’s media specialists never understood information. It reflects their poor professional education and the general ethos of the profession. The historian Marc Bloch has already criticised the poverty of our media, not only because they serve vested interest (but who doesn’t), but simply because they are poorly informed. He made the comparison between the German Die Zeit of the time (in the 1940’s) and Le temps where the discrepancy in terms of quality was clear enough for all to see.
Today, because information is increasing in every domain of human activities, the gap between simplist ideology and information grows larger. For example, anyone will get better information about the world, Europe and France through the British magazine ‘the Economist’ than through any of their French counter-part. Journalists are unable to handle information properly but play information messing with readers’ minds since its objective, beside the rhetoric of national politics, deals in fact with the details of alliances of interests between parties of the civil society working its way toward priviledges acquired in each relevant political instances concentrated in Paris.
Each time you read a paper or switch on your TV, you are harrassed with a level of ignorance that is not in par with the international claim of culture French’s officials sponsorise blindly inside and outside its borders.
To give another perfect example of the poverty of French media, on wednesday 27 of december, I watched TF1 which broadcast the show called ‘combien ca coute?’. It is a trash program on economy designed for large audiences at 20.50 PM.
The appraoch of information on Ebay is rather … elusive. I quote from the website:
- 2 650 000 dollars : Le prix d’une île à vendre sur internet. Le montant des achats en ligne devrait être multiplié par quatre d’ici 2011 pour atteindre 38,8 milliards d’euros. Quel commerce peut se vanter d’avoir des stocks de 85 millions d’articles ? Et, surtout, plus de 200 millions de clients… Il s’agit naturellement de la plus grande boutique sur Internet, leader du marché : Ebay…
I watched it because a friend of mine, head of e-bay france, made an appearance. His intervention was framed in the worst way possible related to a problem that was not e-bay central concern. The journalist interest was to denounce unreliable selling practices on the web, notably the presence of online product that turn out not to be what it is announced and the difficulty for the consumer to protect itself against it.
Everybody expected the e-bay manager to say it is the current concern of the company he is working for. The manager said so, explaining they have a dedicated team of specialists looking for such drudgery. The impression for the audience is rather different, presenting internet business in general and on-line selling as an deeply unsecured and untrustworthy technology hidding crooks in unpalpable dark corners of earth. The journalist also presented the access to e-bay manager as the result of an search, a long painful inquiry, which I was confirmed, was not the case at all. The journalist called the French e-bay manager and asked him if he could see him for a report. The French e-bay manager accepted, on the spot. E-bay France only footage shows a reward session whereby the manager gives his employees a price for good productivity. The way the information was framed, the TV spectator could only understand that online businesses were cheating honest (and therefore naive) consumers and ironically rewarded themselves for doing un-ethical business.
In a context of systematic distorsion of information, the resulting mistreatment become (in the word of the great US sociologist Robert Park) real in its consequences. The issue with the treatment of information a la Francaise is in the word of Jean-Francois Revel, the reflection of the totalitarian temptation. In the totalitarian frame of mind, no human manifestation possesses an autonomous existence, their own reference values outside its relation to power. In other words, any activity is judged in relationship to a system of political authority (i.e. is where catholicism as a mode of thinking and French political centralism join together in a backward dream of top-down social order). It explains why people are unable to take responsability and like to subdue their own activities within a large framework either of political unionist synonym of political ‘laissez-faire’ in their work place or in their outlook in life (a sort of metaphysics).
The ludicrous president of a ridiculous nation? January 5, 2007Posted by The Writers in Politics.
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I had not intention to discuss president Chirac in particular as the man certainly deserve the recognition of his own career and personal achievements. I have been rather pushed to do so as the discrepancy of his claims and is action get larger over the years, revealing more clearly his outlook and intentions. Retrospectively, he is following more closely that one may think, the worst of Mitterand’s ‘political genius’, i.e. the ‘politics a la papa’, i.e. a relation administred-administrating in French’s affairs similar to the IIIrd republic haydays.
(Just a parenthesis, I let the reader appreciate De Gaulle’s naming of Mitterrand ‘une arsouille’ (ruffian in English) giving some perspective on the dumming down of French politics from the 1960’s onward.)
Chirac enjoys above all the idea that is a king rather than the administrator of France’ administrative infrastructure. For that manner, he has re-inforced, at least the time of his presidency, a very conservative structure of power. When I say conservative, I refer to French’s history which sadly brings us to medieval time for the economical framework, Napoleonian time for the ‘modern institutions’. In other words, the framework that brought France to defeat in 1939 in 6 weeks only and, which, today, generates useless but real tensions within the civil society.
What are those tensions?
1- the reinforcement of the cliquish view of economy, (i.e. power) made of arrangements and passe-droit. It concentrates a great deal of well-established relationship between the political powers and some main actors of the economic life (offering facilities that works systematically against the rules of markets).
2- The relationship to a remote country-side for show (see Chirac visits to the departement de la correze) searching to maintain the public version of a president close to his people. It is possible that Chirac believes it in part as it reinforces to his own eyes his position of power (since this part of the French’s population of mostly small farmers cannot oppose any forcefull alternative view of France and are rather glad to know Chirac in person). The salon de l’agriculture is the economic version of his advertisement of his concern for the country-side vested interest.
3- The use of his position as mayor of Paris to maintain international link with the French former African colonies. Although it is important, it is missing the fact that emerging countries such as India and China are far more important for anybody today.
Despite the perspective a Frenchman can take on any of the former points, it cannot do anything than confirms the backwardness of the framework within which national and international French politics deals with. It is similar to 1830’s French politics. Although few French’s politicians would like to work a little more within this framework, the western world around it, and by peaceful means (contrary to several German messages send in 1870, 1914-8 and 1939-45) re-iterate the impossibility of farmers’ political trick when dealing with a modern nation.
Of course, most of the French’s population is not living in this past. And the trick of French domination are obviously obsolete to all foreign observers a long time ago. They begin to be seen by the population touching too slowly the institutions that should be informed.
In any case, the French country side is not numerically important anymore as an electoral backyard of the French right wings, Africa is not central to the third world developments, and the old economic tricks and short-cuts will upset our partners since business is worldwide.
As somebody said somewhere, the French are good to shoot themselves in the foot.
With those three features, you are equipped to read contemporary French politics and its curiosities. I remind that those curiosities are partly enerving the French population in the first place, making France a place of gentle political anarchism.
Let us review some of those archaisms, which any foreign travelers notice and report either with ‘bienveillance’ or sarcasm. Chirac does the ‘baise main’ to Angela Merkel in the European summit. How stupid can the president be? This practice, reminiscent of medieval and chevalesque geste, is just plain grostesque in today’s behavior norms. Beside the inadequacy with the general today’s casual style, it is nothing less than patronizing to deal with woman in this way. Chirac has to come to term with the fact that ‘la haute bourgeoisie de chateau’ is respectable but does not set any standard in today’s realities.
Some French commentators have complained about the strong power given under the V republic constitution to the president and its eventual need of reform. I don’t think it is necessary something to reform since one understand the spirit in which De Gaulle gave those powers to the president. De Gaulle showed his understanding of the president position was organisational and strictly dedicated to the on-going changes he perceived France should get to term with. Chirac is a travesti of Gaullism. Chirac and Mitterand’s forms of power illustrate their mis-understanding of the function they are supose to fill-in. Their role as president is an administrator of a nation functions. They approach the position as the pinacle of the power system, a kingdom, with all its advantages and incovenients. For example, the king gives economic graces to a circle of foes, putting his thumb up or down on research, and pass on the mass-education. The advantage with UK or Nordic kingdom, is that those democracies have kept the kingdom for show. People can develop a modern version of metaphysics toward those icons, make their the idols they want. In this matter, the lies and the glitter is well-contained through popular newspapers, festival and other media. The real power, the administration of the country, is left to politicians getting along with the country matters, adapating its structures to faster and on-going changes, providing autonomous admninistration with transparent tools of evaluation and decision making, and leaving the overall decisions, the grand policies, long and short terms strategies as well as accidental issues matters of clean-cut political decisions.
Let us mention that the backwardness of French’s political structure and its supporting pilars is an annoyance that will be growing within the French population itself as it is already a topic of jokes in the Elites of all countries that count.
The only country which has a politic overhead attached to its language. In other words, French’s citizens are submitted with a overhead of ideology related to their daily life activities (since language is literaly social action).
Even Mr Antoine Seillieres, a well-respected conservative (with connection to the Vatican), has to deal with embarrassment in a European submit on the language ‘question’. Chirac assigned him to speak in French in front of a parterre of business men when obviously Antoine’s diagnosis was rather exact: English is the language of business (since French have only deat with ‘secret negociation’).
More seriously, the personal link between politics and business in France is so tied that the passe-droit given to the politicians to the business empede of the good functioning of business itself, impeding on our relation with our partners in the world and the success of our entreprises.
A list of examples is endless. To get an historical grasp of the issue, see the history of industrial mistakes made by French’s industrialists in Europe and US during the 1960’s until now, trying to sell their product to foreign population with patronizing methods (see Renault’s adventure in the US, Peugeot’s distribution of cars in Europe, and many others).
To cite the last in time, Mr Forgeard, the former president of EADS, is no playing by the rule of the company he is supposed to manage and administrate. Since he is also representing interest that the French state, he works with a schizophrenic frame of mind, a double standard of evaluation of affairs. It makes the CEO inept to deal with the kind of attention and dedication to problems (by nature complex) a consortium like EADS has to deal with. German partners and other nation involved are obliged to realise this double game and retract to their own interest as well, making the whole organisation non-manageable. If a private framework of activity become a mix-economy company because the French state is involved everywhere that way, the English’s business partners resign, the German’s business aggregates to each others.
In the last breath of organisational incompetency, lack of vision, organisational cowardness, the CEO is doing the last thing he is able to do: making money on the stack exchange with speculation on his own company shares. Sad but true French business man of another time. But Forgeard is a personal friend of Chirac. Another personal friend of his, is the former CEO of Renault, Louis Schweizer who is now representing a moral face of France in the minister of integration of the immigrants and its related issues. Chirac is dealing with some important business on the basis of personal links. Some French’s business men are the ‘courtisants a la cour du roi’. What makes France still floating is that others major economic players have since a long time learn to deal with their own business and stay away from those petty game.
Non-French and respectable Carlos Ghosn, actual CEO of Renault, is certainly the best example. He plays by the market of the automobile industry, its core activity. Also the former CEO of Peugeot, Jean-Martin Foltz, has honored French’s business by his professionalism. (Let us remember that in French context, everybody know that former CEO of peugeot, Jacques Calvet, was moaning about his agreement with the state on TV during the 1980’s and the pressures of international concurrence).
The French people are manipulated by the elite about the so-called right to privacy of the people that govern them. Their argument is flawed. In a western democarcy, since the head of the state (a prime minister in other political systems, like in Sweden or UK) is the main adminsitrator of the business of the country. As such, he is similar to most of his citizen, i.e. he/she fulfills a function that is accountable to other, namely the people. As such, those same people consider that their main administrator (the head of the state) can be judge on the same standard than they are judged in their job and in their private life. They can read for themselves what their main administrator is doing and compare with them what they consider faulty or acceptable. In France, the top-down power relationship is actively maintained such that one heard often of the attributed attached to the function that the president is very attached. People believe that it is showing higher morality than to preserve this right to the politicians where, in fact, in amodern democarcy, it is re-inforcing the law of silence around aspects of the life of politicians that make them closer to us, having realistic expectancies about what they can really achieve etc. This is a truth some French are do not equipped to understand since
they live in a country that is more morally backward than they are ready to admit.
Another backward features of France that make the coherence of the system to maintain itself so strongly making the role of even the most well-intentioned French citizen, a path to dead-end. How is this the case? In France, we have the organisation of the mayors of France that represents 36 000 communes. They represent the clientele of the political power in Paris who count on them to achieve their carreer in province. In the same time, the mayor of even the smallest villages used their position either to start a political carreer in Paris or to defend insignificant interest of their constituents.
Given the lack of representativity of those communes regarding the ration town/country side (issue that has been dealt a long time ago by any developped nation, for example, in 1848, UK redistribute the ratio of their representant according to the growth and the raise of industrial cities and the subsequent change of population balance (see the history of Manchester, the historical place of Western Industrial revolution as an example). This fact that already been denounced in 1942 by the great French historian Marc Bloch specialist of the medieval history of France and its terroirs. Since then, nothing has been done by our political elite. This means that backward polities are making noises at the national level where in fact they should be left as background noises. One of the most famous example, that any European politicians knows, is the agricultural policy of France that is certainly one of the most backward program known in the western developped countries. Chirac is catering toward this public since the beggining as he knows their power and is determined to conserve it, since it is relatively easy. He is visiting often, as reported largely by the media a department of France called ‘Correze’ which is known, neither by its industrial activities, nor its intellectual life but by the fact that is is one of the poorest department of France.
To maintain such incohrencies with the modern world, French politics (left or right) has always cultivated miserabilism, i.e. a form of paternalism toward the poorest helping them to perceive themselves still as some sort of Elite. The right wings tried to keep the farmer with them, even if now their number is closer to the rate of an industrial country.
One aspects of the backwardness of France comes from this kind of political acquaintance and state implication in the economy, whereby the values of those involved in the game is raised but the real content of the decision taken, the density of information to taken them, and their relative democratic values as a consequence (the posibility that those decision reflects the social complexity of several publics) is low. In this context, those practices renders the life of a large number of citizen very difficult. There is a large aversion in the public for politics for those reasons but people are unable to pin-point exactly what to change and how to change it since it is remote from them and they know it. This fact is also a handicap for a representative democracy.
Academic Backwardness of the Political Elite January 5, 2007Posted by The Writers in Culture.
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The backwardness has no limit and even respectable people display it. For example, in an information report done by the french foreign affair committee (no 2567) of the ‘Assemblee Nationale’ (the parliament), the document chaired by former prime minister of France, Edouard Balladur and presented by Axel Poniatowski is dealing with the relationship between Europe and the US.
They bring 7 proposals to improve the relation between the US and French relation. The first one sets up a framework of action that is so unbelievably backward I am obliged to quote it in length:
‘Proposal number 1 aims to set up a French foundation for transatlantic relations. There is no doubt that France needs professional capable of defending her position and dissiminating her message: the purpose of the proposed foundation is therefore to strengthen and extend the work od state-run bodies by launching three initiatives: firstly an invitation to American leaders and opinions-formers to increase their awareness of French opinion on a range of subjects (foreign policy, insitutional structures, public policies…) by spending several weeks in the country; secondly, defending France and promoting her image in the US by various means including public education campaigns; finally, the creation of French cultural centers in American Universities – a form of ‘intellectual diplomacy’.
There is no qualifying for this patronising attitude which shows a complete misunderstanding of international relationship, the real position of France and the dealing with the US. First, if the some French politicians wants to install French cultural center in the middle of a US campus, they should know that every best US campus possess a department of French studies. It generally employs one or several world specialists of France, which publications are made publically and largely available. They may even be able to teach French politicians about their own countries since the degree of academic specialisation has largely overtaken superficial information.
It is also amuzing to see that right wings politicians have comdemned the French communists for their autoritarian ideology but still carry on to try to convince, in the same authoritarian style (patronizing is more adequate) other people that there is a proper way to understand France. Those politicians seem naively to think that they represent the opinion, which of course is impossible. They decide and govern with an official line of thought (reminicent of the russian communist party congress).
The final point about the coldness of US- French relationship is that the US officials (due to their special configuration of the Bush’s administration at this moment in US history) don’t care to show the veneer of respect that former US official have nicely kept. The difference between French’s rightwings and US couterpart is that French’s spend their energies in rhetoric and other artefacts of power (similar to the kings, see French’s castles or rather Italian cities to see what I mean) to subdue its people, whereas the US right wings (today’s most nasty kind, not the good old Eisenhower) use rhetorics and using the reservoir of powerless people in the real deployment of armees to serve a set of more or less norrow vested interests.
La France, c’est disney world January 5, 2007Posted by The Writers in Culture.
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Since, conservatism is the one thing some elite are doing, we are seen by most of our contemporary as a curiosity.
The pretention of our local politicians to make a barrage to the influence of the exterior is turning into a joke. For example, this antiquity called ‘francophony’ is the best example as if a langauge is in need of defense by the state? As long as there is people, they will communicate in their language.
So, what is this overhead where french language is another political program? The disastrous effect of backward political francophonie is for all to see, as the recent Tv channel box available to the French (called TNT) provide more channels than
ever before. But although some are dedicted to american series, they are all overdubed making sure that nobody will ever have access to english as a spoken language, and proposing voice-over that in many time turn the actors into dummies (with irrealistic intonation in French). The problem is that, it is a long time since people go seen US movies in the cinema.
And the conservative newspapers (from left or right) plaster on their page the entrance record of some French films since as if it was a performance. Basically, French media have long dummed down their method for communicating and addressing the public.
Culture is dead since they are unable to address the concerns of the man-in-the-street. Also, many foreign countries (such as UK) have taking advantages of living in France permanently or seasonally. For example, 170 000 Brits live abroad either in Spain or Australian. There is around 150 000 in France. This is a modern version of romanticism whereby most of the people on the western countries spend their life in bureaucracies of some sort and and organise and project to live something else later thanks to some capital. The common point to all of those foreigners is that they make sure that the French do not deal with what matter the most, their money. They let them deal with their leisure. The issues they encounter since most of our administrations are backward, they read confirmation of their feelings in many more or less popular books published on the topic (see TO BE CONTINUED)
Although France dispise disney world, it is an amuzement park for adult, a place where backwardness is slightly annoying but most of the time ‘charmant’. Tourist amuzes themselves of those old fashion features of French’s life. Although Paris is a shopping center with a little touch of romantism making bored housewifes of the entire world spend their money: this is a low compensation for what French people could offer if the antic structure of France where adapted to the XXI century.
Many young americans I have meet asked me, puzzled, what was this orgie of food that was served to them during their stay in France and offered by their welcoming French bourgeois families? I understood their puzzle as it is a long time that there is other social untertainement in modern life than a 2 hours long meal especially since WWII, when things life has accelerated drastically (remember Adolf came to visit Paris and took the part of France that was economically interesting for the Reich in 6 weeks). Although I understand perfectly the socialising pattern of my people, there is no good reason to bring this mode of socialisation on the ultimate altar of savoir vivre, a moral version of what the others are unable to appraoch, that people (bourgois and lower class together) took as a sign of their own moral distinction which in fact reflects old fashion values which do not figure in the list of today’s priorities. In the developped countries, food is certainly considered more materialistically and, often less enjoyable as a result, to make you carried on your activities. But what counts is what you are doing. Because what you are doing is embodying the social values you being to the community in which you live.
The often wrong assumption that US people asked you what you do and what you earn is nothing to turn into derision. American asked you what you do and, I guess, asked you how much you earn when there is a case for comparison (which suggest that the people asked are in some kind of business where asking the salary is meaningful).
The despise of money is becoming ridiculus in Europe and in France in particular since a structural unemploment rate of 10 % of the population show the damage of such conservatism on a large mass of the population.