[OPE] The degenerate bourgeoisie (I): Mr Sarkozy's managerialism in France

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@tiscali.nl>
Date: Sat Oct 11 2008 - 20:47:53 EDT

Prof. Tabb writes in his article:

"In a recent issue of The Economist, which is a libertarian business publication, there is a drawing of French President Sarkozy reading Das [K]apital in gleeful approval in front of a crumbling New York Stock Exchange (October 4, 2008, p. 55). The suggestion was that Sarkozy, who had said American laissez faire ideology as practiced during the subprime business "was as simplistic as it was dangerous," is looking forward to the demise of the system. But of course Sarko is a big fan of America and capitalism." http://archives.econ.utah.edu/archives/ope-l/2008m10/msg00111.htm

I haven't seen this cartoon (I don't read the Economist anymore usually, since it has degenerated into glib, trendy, off-message gibberish which disinforms), but another possible interpretation is that Mr Sarkozy is caught between two disasters, the Wall Street crash, but also facing, on the other side of the pond, the growth of a '68 Marxist-inspired movement of discontented middleclass youth in France, whose most vocal representative is Olivier Besancecot of the LCR, which makes the old doctrine an intellectually respectable force again there. Marx was a German, and German bankers are conservatively critical of American financial styles. Also, when an historic event happens, a French philosopher will usually come along to turn it into a deep and meaningful "philosophy" which misses the real point entirely.

"Sarko" is kind of trying to do a Tony Blair, after Blair's time is already gone. The joke is, that Sarko has spent time on all the wrong issues with a false sense of priorities, and therefore he's now faced with many unexpected events. He is out of step both with America, and with Europe. It's like somebody who goes into a lot of trouble and care to organise a picnic in the middle of a road, without realising that when people are eating, there's going to be cars driving through there at great speed.

In my opinion, the social policies of the Sarkozy government are so clumsy, that they are alienating more and more of the serious, skilled professionals and workers who are really able to create progressive change in France. Even my sister who lives in France - she is by no means a socialist - complains about it. I put it to her recently when she was over here, "If Sarkozy is so keen on finding exemplars elsewhere, why doesn't he pick some good ones?". Her reply was, "We had good systems in France that worked, there were provisions for the youth, now they're stuffing them up in the name of progress - what is so wrong with it, if French workers do the same job in a shorter work-time, and with more holidays, than American workers? Isn't human health important?". Sarkozy's populist idea of fairness is to reward the wealthy with tax-cuts, and the workers if they work extra hours, while the immigrants have to "shape up, or ship out". He has no idea what good organization looks like. He just loves WalMart.

Effectively, the political beneficiaries of the directionless, fashion-following Sarkobourgeoisie are the far left and the far right, a rather unique political feat. Mr Sarkozy is not yet as unpopular in the ratings as his fellow financialist Mr Gordon Brown in Britain, I think the French are now just split roughly 50-50 about him - broadly, the one 50% is the middle-of-the-road centrists, the other 50% is the Left and the Right. It's of course one thing to have a pretty Italian model for a wife, and waft trendy pomo images around, but another to implement sound policies which really change things for the better.

The simple fact, that Mr Sarkozy looks overseas to another country for a model to emulate (in New Zealand, they used to call it the "Overseasia" disease), rather than look deeply into what actually motivates people his own country, I think expresses the whole French intellectual misere, and his lack of understanding of what is important in France - and the irony is that, just as Mr Sarkozy has latched onto America as his great philosophical exemplar, the American economy caves in under the weight of two decades of financial swindling and mismanagement. In other words, the idea is that Mr Sarkozy himself is the "cartoon". You don't build cultural strength by hanging out with your rich foreign mates and having everything brought to you by hired servants, but by doing something good where you happen live. If the solution to your problems is always "somewhere else", you are nowhere at all.

BTW the chief of the French military, General Jean-Louis Georgelin, agrees with British Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith and Yankee Admiral Mike Mullen, stating plainly that the war in Afghanistan cannot be won. "The British officer was saying that one cannot win this war militarily, that there is no military solution to the Afghan crisis and I totally share this feeling", Georgelin told French television channel Public Senat - "We're not going to win this war". NATO strategy was just "about reducing it to a manageable level of insurgency that's not a strategic threat, and can be managed by the Afghan army", Smith told the Sunday Times. Compare this to the ranting of John "ba-ba-ba bomb Iran" McCain, hardly a good model. If they can't even win in Afghanistan and Iraq, they haven't got a hope in hell in Iran. Sending more troops there, is just more target practice for the US army (an army is obviously only as good as its combat experience) but as soon as they put their gas pipelines in, the locals would blast them out again. That is the net result of brutal Anglo-American military imperialism. "Leaks from the new National Intelligence Estimate being prepared for the incoming US president suggest Washington believes the Karzai government is collapsing under the combined weight of corruption and attrition. The Taliban is tightening its noose around Kabul and, financed by record opium poppy output in its southern strongholds, can keep this conflict going almost indefinitely." http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7c7a1aa2-96f9-11dd-8cc4-000077b07658.html.


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