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Monday, May 7, 2012

Painless adjustment in France? Good luck!

Quel plaisir! A pleasant new face as President of France and a charming wife next to him! Humanism will return to everyday life and life will again be very pleasant!

How can one avoid not getting caught up in such a new momentum? How could anyone not have been thrilled by Barack Obama's acceptence speech back in November 2008?

"He has raised such high expectations which he will never be able to fulfill", the critics said about Obama. And I criticized the critics for always killing the dream of a better world before it even has a chance to come true.

Sadly, the new President of France may be headed towards his own "Obama-experience". Here are some facts:

* the French public sector is like an overblown balloon ready to explode at the slightest puncture
* France today has 5,5 million public servants, 19% more than 10 years ago
* the state owns participations in more than 800 companies, mostly large ones
* France lives on debt-financed consumption to a larger degree than most EU-countries
* an overregulated labor market and 10% unemployment (25% among the young)
* an ever-growing number of people who are beneficiaries of state-protected sectors
* large sectors of the economy protected against EU market pressures (i. e. agriculture)
* an entrenched intellectual elite, left and right, still nurtures dreams of the Grande Nation
* a fixation on past glories which hinders recognition of present realities
* excessive centralization which hinders decentralized innovation
* last but not least: an enormous challenge with minorities/immigrants

Is anyone perhaps reminded of Greece?.

France, as opposed to Greece, has one big advantage going for itself and that is --- it is France, the second largest European country. But when the victory parties are over and when the new President wakes up to French realities, he will soon be in a position that no one should envy him for!

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