Saturday, 22 April 2017

Élection présidentielle 2017

France goes to the polls on Sunday to elect a new President. If you haven't been following this election, then you are missing something. It's a very crucial election and is much more fun for an outsider to follow than the US Presidential elections.

This blog largely tries to steer clear of political issues and focuses on the economic ones. So, although this blogger has strong views on the candidates and knows who he would vote for if he had a vote, he will avoid discussing that here. Instead, the focus is strictly on economic policies, which is of course, only one dimension of evaluating any candidate.

Who's the most dangerous of them all economically ? If the pat answer is Marine Le Pen, a more polished version of Trump, think again. Introducing Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the far left candidate who is currently surging in the polls . Nearly 20% of France want him as President .

Here are his economic policies, without comment

  • 90% tax rate for those earning more than Euro 400,000 a year
  • 273 billion Euros higher spending over 5 years
  • 16% rise in minimum wage to Euros 1326 a month (Rs 90,000 a month)
  • 35 hour work week.
  • Exit the Euro
  • Abolish the treaties prescribing a target of deficit to GDP . In other words, simply print money
  • Exit EU, a la Britain, if necessary
  • Join Alba the economic pact between Cuba and Venezuela. Honourable observers of this pact are Iran and Syria
  • Right to housing to become a constitutional right
  • Nationalise utility companies

There is more, but this is enough for the time being.

The system of French elections is such that that he is unlikely to get through even in the first round. But it should give a pause for thought that a full 20% of the French electorate is willing to subscribe to such lunacy.

The right to vote is a heavy responsibility. Concepts like protest vote, angry voter, etc are deadly pitfalls. You are supposed to consider the options carefully and vote according to what you think is best for your country. You can have differing views, but irresponsible exercise of the franchise is catastrophic.

If you are of the view that this is all fear mongering, capitalism has failed, and we should give such a philosophy a try (yes, I am talking to you , if you have felt the Bern), then all I will say is that this has been tried before and the example is there for all to see. Venezuela.

The loony left is even more dangerous than the rabid right.


Sandhya Sriram said...


This is getting crazier by the day.. feels like we will undo all the good that we created over the past 50 years..

just think about it.. the dutch dont want muslims, ausies dont want to give visas, and trump doesnt want steel.. and all of them are gaining public support one way or the other

Maybe it will correct to mid point.. hopefully..

Ramesh said...

Yes free trade and capitalism is on the retreat as the pendulum swings the other way. It will swing back for sure as we try and reach some equilibrium.

Anita Ravishankar said...

Loved your concluding line.. the strange paradox of our times is that exposure to more knowledge has made us less knowledgeable. Moderates are dwindling

Sriram Khé said...

Ahem, you are pretending that the post is about economic policies. It is completely, totally, out and out, a political post.

Intellectually, this is one of the biggest problems. Instead of the old "political economy," economists and business people seem to want to pretend that there is economics and business that is outside of politics. There isn't any.

To a large extent, the teenager in me who hated the Europeans for messing up the rest of the world with their colonies, well, I am glad that the French and the British and the Europeans are all tied up all over. The US will survive this orange president. But, if Marine LePen wins it all, not only France but the entire continent will be in shit streets. Greece, for instance, will go belly-up the next day. While we might distract ourselves with the crazy commie candidate sideshow, the nationalist fascist is what any political economic discussion ought to be focused on.

Ramesh said...

We are more "informed", but think less and that's the problem. Mere information is useless without critical thinking and then forming an opinion. Extremism comes because of instant opinion forming without thought and consideration. Alas.

Ramesh said...

Oh no; this is not a political post at all. In the broadest of sense, everything is political, but this one is purely economic. As I said, a voter's decision is a combination of several factors - economic, social, cultural, etc. I am only offering a critique of Mélenchon, which Hugo Chavez would have approved of.

I don't agree with the lady's economic policy, but its not lunacy. As for her other stands, well, .......

Rads said...

I almost thought the unexpected and the idiotic (Trump and Brexit) was becoming the new norm but for now thankfully the EU population seems to have more sense than the US n UK. Here's to waiting and watching and hoping there will be no WW3.

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