Defenders or destroyers of Europe?


In this blog I posted a few days ago how Europe's engine room of France and Germany was finally picking up the pace and that this was good news for Europe. Admittedly I may have been overly optimistic as I pointed to the positive effects of the French umemployment rate reaching the sub-10% mark as well as some sort of settlement in German politics.

This post will refer to a discourse of the French and European social and economic model mirrored as it has been undertaken by the Neweconomist on his blog. The posts in the London based macroeconomist's blog point to a bigger perspective which sets out to map the battle between Anglo-Saxon capitalism and Rhineland capitalism and how France vigorously tries to defend itself and notably Europe against the Anglo-Saxon vultures.

The signs that France are shielding itself have most notably been the Danone affair in which the French government acted ragingly on an alleged take-over bid from Pepsi-Cola claiming the right and need to defend the French national champions from foreign companies acting as locusts in their effort to destroy the French society - See article from Brookings institution here 

"The Prime Minister's idea (read; Villepin) is that France must defend its "national champions," as if in today's world the idea of a truly "French" company still actually made any sense."  - Who said dirigism ?

These kinds of rhetorics were also recently dominating the discourse of German firms and policy makers - See article from the Economist on German capitalism here  and here; (walled for non-subsribers).

Another example of French protectionism was also seen by the French government's reaction to Hewlett-Packard's worldwide restruturing which will cost 1.240 French jobs by 2008 - See article from LaTimes here.

"Then last month, Hewlett-Packard Co. announced plans to cut 1,240 jobs in France by 2008 as part of a worldwide restructuring. And the new government responded with a double-barreled blast of economic patriotism a la De Villepin."

So what can we make of all this? It is obvious that France is still trying to shield itself from globalization and most notably shielding itself from the kind of globalization being promoted by USA and the UK. I won't be bothered by finishing off this post with my own sparkling analysis when I have so much material on my hands.

"France is schizophrenic," said Nicholas Baverez, a noted commentator and the author of "France Is Falling," a book published in 2003. "It has on one hand a political and social system that is collapsing and that is completely detached from the reality of the modern world of the 21st century. On the other hand, there are individuals, public or private organizations, companies that are at the top global level. There is no positive cooperation between the two. Just a big gap that is growing." - Article from LaTimes.

Now, if you aren't satisfied with the level of information above I can point you to this article from Financial Times which discusses the European economic model in general and this PDF by Andre Sapir on which the article is based.

All this with "courtesy" from