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Sarko 'gets it'

Or so it would seem, judging from an interview in Le Monde:

Q - "What is your first economic priority?"

Sarko - "The number one priority is to make working worthwhile. The French moral crisis has a name: it is the crisis of work. It is that which is a creator of employment..Work creates work. It is therefore necessary to reward work, to create business, to favour growth. And..these are the reforms that will give growth, not the budgetary economies....Why have we had, for fifteen years, a growth rate lower..than that of more liberalised economies? Because wages are too low, and are too heavily taxed. The [maximum working week of] 35 hours served as a pretext for wage restraint and increased the state's deficit...".

Q - "How are you going to give the French back their spending power?"

Sarko - "I propose a veritable economic revolution. One cannot be European and be satisfied with a state take of 45,3% of our gross domestic product (GDP), that is to say 4 percentage points higher than the European Union 15 average. It is vital that the French get something for their money".

Sounds promising, and not before time. However, the issue with French politicians is always that talk is cheap, and does Sarko have the nerve to take on the vested interests etc?


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Anonymous Anonymous said... 12:10 pm

Just as Mhatma Brown gets ready to take even more of the UK GDP  

Anonymous nick drew said... 12:18 pm

Hitch, yes, quite a monstrous prospect. Is the ridiculing of the Scot-in-the-loincloth/diaper to be a theme of your own shiny new organ? I may have some ideas.

Back OT, it is interesting how many French businessmen (and, it seems, politicians) do actually get it - unlike most German businessmen who, in my experience, genuinely don't.

A massive generalisation, of course, but I've done a lot of business with both French & German co's & that's what I've found.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 12:18 pm

Maybe that's what Sarko is counting on - if Broon raises the bar and further damages our economy, the Gauls will improve their relative position....  

Anonymous David Allen said... 12:32 pm

C _ "Maybe that's what Sarko is counting on - ..." Such depressing cynicism, C, but then you know the Gauls better than I do. Must admit my heart beat a little faster when I read Sarko's remarks in your original post. perhaps he needs to appeal to the French electorate's naked chauvinism: 'Let's throw off our shackles and teach these anglo-saxons/ slitty-eyes what economic dynamism is all about!'  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 12:32 pm

my expereince of working with French and Germans could not be more different to Mr Drew's.

German tend to be extremely polite and a little efficient. They struggle to make decisions and rely on an old fashioned sense of collective will AND deference to leadership.

The French on the other hand are mightilty impressed at their own competence, never without more work than they can handle; and yet seem to devote all thought to the role any action will take in office politics.

The latter I have always found to be very difficult to deal with as they are simply not good at ideas like "win-win."  

Anonymous nick drew said... 12:43 pm

CU, I agree with everything you say.

By 'get it', I meant grasp of what the Anglo-American model actually means. In particular, the German approach, which you describe well, seems to be born of an approach that fundamentally doesn't sit with laissez-faire, nor understand the logic & benefits thereof.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 12:54 pm

I suppose it would be mean to point out that there was a particular high level of order following by the Germans when the Milgram experiment was tried out there.

Meanwhile, remember how appalled the Germans were when Vodafone bought Mannesmann? In my workig life I've had to deal with media relations for sundry German companies, and the 'Rhineland model' does not sit well with the Anglo-American model.  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 1:23 pm

This thread brings to mind my favourite "Bushism"
"The French don't even have a word for entrepreneur"  

Blogger Croydonian said... 1:57 pm

Amusing, but an urban legend. Shirley Williams started that ball rolling, apparently.  

Anonymous verity said... 2:52 pm

I can hear Bush saying it in my mind's ear, though.

The French are over-obsessed with holidays and early retirement. That is all they think about. They don't think about making more money. They like to worm in to a solid job and hang onto it for the 25 minutes it takes to have earned a long retirement and large pension and that's that.

May, as a month in France, is unbearable. Three public holidays, and everyone taking their "bridge days" and the whole country grinds to a standstill. One whole month written off. Then August written off too, of course, for the sacred holiday month. And many of them manage to squeeze an extra week onto August one way or another.

Plus their two hours for lunch, when villages and towns become ghost towns, yet they still turn out the lights at five on the dot to go home.

So the big news in France is when enterprises are actually open for trade.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 3:00 pm

One of the many telling things about the French is the 8-8 convenience store chain. It shuts for two hours over lunch. Yes, really.  

Anonymous verity said... 3:31 pm

Probably sensible, though, Croydonian, as the streets are empty from noon until two. No customers floating around. There was a similar chain near me and it always closed two hours earlier than its name indicated at night.  

Anonymous Colin said... 10:48 pm

Good luck for Sarko since an influential individual made already more than 130 years ago an observation which lead to the evolution of ideas for establishing welfare states which are now causing the doom of European civilization:

"I have lived in France long enough to know that the faithfulness of most of the French to their government…is largely connected with the fact that most of the French receive a state pension." (Otto von Bismarck)

"My thought was to win the working classes or I should say, to bribe, to look at the state as a social institution which exists because of them and which wants to provide for their welfare." (Otto von Bismarck).

“My heart was filled with admiration of the patient genius which had added these social bulwarks to the many glories of the german race. . . . [I am setting out to] thrust a big slice of Bismarckianism over the whole underside of our industrial system.” [upon visiting the Bismarckian welfare state and central economic planning system] (Sir Winston Churchill)

“You must rank me and my colleagues as strong partisans of national compulsory insurance for all classes for all purposes from the cradle to the grave.” [1945] (Sir Winston Churchill)

“I am on the side of those who think that a greater collective sentiment should be introduced into the State and the municipalities. I should like to see the State undertaking new functions.” (Sir Winston Churchill)

“Our whole nation must be organized, must be socialized if you like the word.” (Sir Winston Churchill)

Link to the quotes

Conclusion, conservatives have always favored the welfare state with few exceptions (e.g Thatcher & Reagon).  

Anonymous verity said... 1:51 am

Interesting - Churchill had a great familial feeling for the British and probably thought that as a family we should all share. Even when we were an mono-cultural people - which actually, by and large, bar the interference of the socialist BBC and bossy socialist government, we still are (with some immigrants; it has always been thus in any society in the world) - this was not a good idea.

The only real Conservative leader we have known within our lifetimes is Margaret Thatcher.  

Anonymous verity said... 1:55 am

PS - if the Dems run Obama, trust me, the Reps are in for eight more years. Same with Hillary. Obama's as scarey as Hillary, but in a different way. The guy has absolutely no experience in government. And now he wants to be president? A little over-aspirational - as in messianic? Like someone on this side of the Atlantic?  

Anonymous Colin said... 8:02 pm

"as a family we should all share"

Good point ! And in the family, father decides who has to share what with whom.  

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