Thursday, March 02, 2006

Economic patriotism my b*tt

Read this excellent column in the Washington post: Ports Furor Is Just Protectionism, With a French Accent. Pretty accurate. Whish we had more column like this one in the French press. Of course, there's not much of a French press nowadays.

Excerpts from Steven Pearlstein's column:

And last weekend, de Villepin personally arranged the shotgun wedding of Gaz de France, the state-controlled gas supplier, and Suez, the French water and power supplier, to thwart a bid for Suez by Enel, a rich and attractive Italian suitor. So obvious was the patriotic intent that the boards of the two companies approved the deal on Saturday even before the price had been worked out.

Scare quotes around "patriotic" would have been in order.

But when viewed through the prism of French exceptionalism, what's good for the poule is not necessarily good for the coq. The view within both the French left and right now is that full European integration must await the development of "national champions" that can then carve up the rest of the world in ways that don't threaten workers at home or the cozy relationship between the political and economic elites.

He's missing the extent of this relationship: Suez has had close ties with the neogaullist establishment for years. What this operation amounts to, at the end of the day, is to give away a state-owned company to corporate cronies with absolutely no benefits to the taxpayer. Are we a great country, or what?

2 comments:

Sappholfaire said...

These days I am so ashamed of my country...

Le Plume said...

Yeah, I know the feeling. You get used to it. Sorta.