Saturday, January 18, 2014

Hollande's neoliberal economics in France

This is a good discussion (in Spanish) from TV Pública argentina Canal 7's Visión Siete on French President François Hollande's new embrace of more extreme neoliberal austerity policies, Francia los retos económicos de Hollande 18.01.2014:

The moderators refer a lot to Paul Krugman's column, Scandal in France New York Times 01/16/2014, that I referenced in an earlier post.

Hollande has been a serious disappointment since his election in 2012 for anyone who hoped he would pursue more expansive economic policies. He signed on to the Merkel/neoliberal approach practically from the moment he took office. But at least previously he had employed increased taxes as his main way of reducing the deficit, which is a major priority under the current Fiscal Suicide Compact treaty that imposes arbitrary and low deficit requirements.

In his latest turn, Hollande is proposing significant cuts in public spending at a time when the eurozone desperately needs expansionist policies. France, as Krugman points out, has been doing that badly compared to some other eurozone countries during this depression. But their unemployment has been running over 10% with youth unemployment around 25%. Those are really not good numbers. And even for France's national economy considered alone, it calls for more stimulative policies, not more austerity.

Along with stagnant economic conditions in France with a pessimistic outlook made even more pessimistic by Hollande's new austerity plans, the country is experiencing what looks like a resurgence of racism and nationalism, as expressed in particular for rising support for the far-right National Front party.

The Visión Siete report says that Hollande is justifying the proposed cuts as part of "structural reform," a nice neoliberal buzzword for Herbert Hoover/Heinrich Brüning economic policies.

They also refer to Hollande as part of a marked neoliberal trend in European Social Democracy, referring to Germany's Gerhard Schröder and Spain's José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero as other major examples.

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