Roubini Topic Archive: France
On March 2, 25 European Union members signed their long-discussed fiscal compact, the treaty committing them to balance their budgets in the future, paving the way for national ratification of the compact before January 2013. Most analysts expect the compact to be ratified in most countries. But a few signs of doubt have emerged over […]
French labor unions are preparing to block President Nicolas Sarkozy’s proposal to raise the French retirement age by two years.1 They plan open-ended strikes to shut down France’s transport and energy infrastructure, hoping to repeat their success in 1995 when street protests forced President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Alain Juppe to abandon their proposals to reform the public pension system and government finances more broadly. This time, however, the unions are certain to lose. In fact they could actually end up strengthening the reelection chances of President Sarkozy.
One of the few ways in which France remains exceptional in Europe is the continued economic lunacy of its main center-left Socialist party and utterly unrepresentative labor unions.1 The positions taken in the recent debate over increasing the French retirement age provide the latest example, and they raise serious questions about the feasibility of Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK) leaving the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and returning to France as a presidential candidate for the Socialist party in 2012.
by Simon Johnson, Peterson Institute for International Economics and Peter Boone, Effective Intervention
Op-ed in the Wall Street Journal
February 13, 2010
Plutus, the Greek god of wealth, did not have an easy life. As the myth goes, Plutus wanted to grant riches only to the “the just, the wise, the men of ordered life.” Zeus blinded him out of jealousy of mankind (and envy of the good), leaving Plutus to indiscriminately distribute his favors.
Modern-day Greece may be just and wise, but it certainly has not had an ordered life. As a result, the great opportunity and wealth bestowed by European integration has been largely squandered. And lower interest rates over the past decade—brought down to German levels through Greece being allowed, rather generously, into the eurozone—led to little more than further deficits and a dangerous buildup of government debt.