Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Economist: "Jean-Baptiste Colbert règne de nouveau à Paris"

Fancy Frenchy Chic?

Si The Economist le dit, japonais, chinois et coréens
pourraient aussi s'en inspirer. "Revenge?" "Non, just
a fact!"
European economies are better managed. Catch
a TGV hi-speed train, get medical and health service,
improve your demographics, enjoy " la joie de vivre".
This is "La revanche du modèle français" clame
l'hebdomadaire britannique The Economist
dans son
édition datée du 7 Mai. En attendant le prochain coup
de griffe de la perfide Albion, un regard sur ce
papier made in London:


"For years leaders in continental Europe have been told by the Americans, the British and even this newspaper that their economies are sclerotic, overregulated and too state-dominated, and that to prosper in true Anglo-Saxon style they need a dose of free-market reform. But the global economic meltdown has given them the satisfying triple whammy of exposing the risks in deregulation, giving the state a more important role and (best of all) laying low les Anglo-Saxons.

At the April G20 summit in London, France’s Nicolas Sarkozy and Germany’s Angela Merkel stood shoulder-to-shoulder to insist pointedly that this recession was not of their making. Ms Merkel has never been a particular fan of Wall Street. But the rhetorical lead has been grabbed by Mr Sarkozy. The man who once wanted to make Paris more like London now declares laissez-faire a broken system.

Jean-Baptiste Colbert once again reigns in Paris. Rather than challenge dirigisme, the British and Americans are busy following it: Gordon Brown is ushering in new financial rules and higher taxes, and Barack Obama is suggesting that America could copy some things from France, to the consternation of his more conservative countrymen. Indeed, a new European pecking order has emerged, with statist France on top, corporatist Germany in the middle and poor old liberal Britain" floored.

L'économie, performances des modèles étatiques

"The downturn has also confirmed that the continental model has some strengths. France has a comparatively efficient public sector, thanks in part to years of investment in better roads, more high-speed trains, nuclear energy and even the restoration of old cathedrals. Nor is it just a matter of pumping in ever more taxpayers’ cash. By any measure France’s health system delivers better value for money than America’s costlier one. Germany has not just looked after its public finances more prudently than others; its export-driven model has forced its companies to hold down costs, making them competitive not only in Europe but also globally."

La palme a Nicolas Sarkozy écrit The Economist

"... il a été en partie élu Président de la France en expliquant que le modèle français était moribond, et en vantant les louanges des modèles britannique et américain. C'est le même homme qui a pris la tête de croisade contre le laisser-faire capitaliste".

Demain, quels risques?

« Les points forts qui donnent plus de résistance à l'Europe continentale en temps de récession, pourraient se transformer en faiblesses dans le rebond. Car il y a un prix à payer pour plus de sécurité et plus de protection de l'emploi : moins de souplesse et d'innovation qui signifient, à plus long terme, moins de croissance. (…) Les Etats-Unis et la Grande-Bretagne pourraient sortir de la récession plus vite que la majeure partie de l'Europe continentale. »

Pragmatisme de rigueur

"Getting regulation right matters as much as freeing up markets; an efficient public sector may count as much as an efficient private one; public investment in transport, schools and health care, done well, can pay dividends. The pecking order may change, but pragmatism and efficiency will always count."

Click sur le titre pour accéder au papier de l'Economist de Londres.

Toujours dans des revues cet autre regard sur la crise économique et financière avec le Dr. Robert Madsen dans Foreign Affairs Mai Juin 2009. "Comparing Crises. Is the Current Economic Collapse Like Japan's in the 1990s?" []

"The extra capital generated in East Asia and the developing world was amplified by largely unregulated financial innovation and increases in leverage -- a pattern that recalls Japan's experience in the 1980s. The money poured into the most liberalized markets, including the real estate sectors in Australia, Spain, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Households in those countries then used the appreciation in the value of their homes to finance additional consumption, effectively absorbing the surplus liquidity and providing the demand necessary to propel global GDP growth.

In 2007-9, this ultimately unsustainable pattern started to unravel...

... What actually happened, however, was a more harmful resolution of the imbalances, one affecting exclusively the import side of the ledger. The adjustment started when trouble manifested in the U.S. subprime market, revealing that a range of financial institutions in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere had assumed dangerously large volumes of debt. Like their counterparts in Japan in the 1990s, these firms reacted by selling assets and calling in loans. As the value of market securities began to erode, other lenders saw their balance sheets deteriorate and decided that they, too, needed to raise cash. The resulting wave of asset sales has so far wiped out close to $15 trillion in U.S. wealth alone, which has caused consumers to expand their savings several fold..."

Robert MADSEN is a Senior Fellow at the MIT Center for International Studies.

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