consultants are sandburs



Monday, January 23, 2017

All I know now about the French election is LePen tugs Trump's coat sleeve; and The Economist tells me Benoit Hamon is who I'd vote for were I a French citizen.

This link. Economist opines:

Mr Hamon, who was briefly education minister in 2014, stirred up voters in recent weeks with promises of public largesse. He promotes the idea of a universal basic income of €750 ($803), to kick in by 2022. The idea is to compensate for the possibility of large-scale job losses to digital automation, though he is hazy on how the programme would be funded. He also wants to shorten the already constrained French working week from 35 to 32 hours. And he suggests levying a tax on robots. No other candidate had anything so eye-catching to offer.

It's the guaranteed annual income Hubert Humphrey and others considered in days long gone, and missed. Or am I incorrect on the parallelism?

The French have sane healthcare and sane retirement norms and sane working week hours, with less being more. (Quoting Mies van der Rohe is adding a German into the mix, but what he said often rings true, nationality aside.)

Were France to go Socialist, and Socialist of the leftist manners, it surely would bother the Germans, and that alone would make the EU more interesting now that we have one of the two oligarchs our nation's two parties offered us, and the more interesting of the two, since the Clintons had eight years to show us their brand.

While on brands: Is Trump branded merchandise selling well, or has a backlash set in? Ties, steaks and what next? Waterproof mattresses?

May the French have a joyous election. It will be soon upon them, and then it will be THEM having to live with the unhappiness of the result.

Been there. Done that.

As to how Hamon might fund a guaranteed income, the idea of taxing financial asset trading where positions are held for only milliseconds and where orders are placed and withdrawn in under a minute; or some other time frame, would make trading markets less jiggered; and it would work equally well in the US of A and/or the Republic of France. Even in Germany.

For raising Socialist campaigning cash, there are social network possibilities, perhaps a hash tag, Mamon4Hamon?

Yes pronunciations differ, but written, it looks to rhyme.

Here's wishing whatever happens, disaster is averted. At least one side of the Atlantic should be so blessed.

____________UPDATE___________
Adapting to the promise and worry of technology was something the town library's copies of Popular Science and Popular Mechanics focused on back in childhood days of the '50s. It was a promise of machines doing drudge work freeing people to realize their potential collectively and as individuals. The need to work would be undone by this, and humankind would blossom. It was not being rendered unnecessary and hence facing financial, health, and housing ruin because of job loss. It was a view of there being enough to entitle people to become more and better.

The French seem poised, possibly, to view sharing "the wealth" where that means shortening work weeks so that fewer jobs could involve more people each having something to do beyond impoverished leisure. There seems to be more skilled hand labor in aerospace than in mass manufacturing where robotics hits a crossover point when production volume is above some threshold. Military aircraft, satellites, they are hand built one-off things. Robotics should still be viewed as a promise rather than a threat an elite can use against a populace. Perhaps our nation missing that truth may not be permanant, and perhaps the French can lead the world into a potential promised land. Without a link, I recall seeing an MIT professor claiming the US could be price-competitive with China's cheaper labor, via automation/robotics. It sounded sensible, but then would the economic explanations of scaracity of resources and efficient allocation by the market become obsolete? It appears many have a vested interest in keeping capital a scarce resource vs being an abundant public good. Rigging the game is the term that comes to mind. Keep it scarce because "we" own it is, at its heart, evil thinking which should not hold the day.

Reading the brief thing The Economist published about France on the eve of an election resonated with the thinking that capital is artificially being kept scarce and in elite hands; the status "elite" being a self-definition rather than a commonly held view. It's time for a change, although there is a literature that the worse depression in the world's history grew from overcapacity, and that those embracing the view are set to avoid it. Regulated capitalism, where capital does not become scarce because "brakes" are being applied and jobs are being made in the "braking" sector might now exist. Presuming it is a problem situation, which maintains capital scarcity, what then is the way out to a better more humane world than the one people suffer under today? Yes, every family with two automobiles and multiple refrigerators and nearby supermarkets is a cut above moving uncertainly to the frontier in mid to late nineteenth century United States history, Conestoga wagons being a technology of choice then, but it is not any more an ultimate than having computers and smart phones that tell government agents where we are when we move about, and automobiles equally equipped might not be everyone's idea of the best Brave New World.

May Mr. Hamon be a pioneer testing the possibilities, if successful in being elected for leading a major advanced nation into its best future. Others seem intellectually less equipped to view vast potentials for the people of France and of the world.

"Make France Great Again" might be a better slogan for the French, since at times in their far longer history than the US has, they truly once were great. The US was economically stronger after the Second World War because it was a marginal participant in the end of the fighting, but it also profiteered greatly by supply-at-a-cost opportunity. That was chance, not greatness. We never were great as a nation. Indeed, without actual and real historical help from France, whatever the motivation the French then had, we well might still be singing "God Save the Queen."

End of rant. Knowing little of European politics or economics, the topic will not be reinvestigated here, where informed commentary is better, and is best done by those knowing more facts than are easily available to the US public, even with the Internet making research easier to attempt to gain understandings, but with the trap being that oversimplifications and misstatements abound to the point of media-manufacturing of uncertainties where none should exist.

___________FURTHER UPDATE____________
This RT YouTube item. Is mainstream media corporate constipation a French phenom too?

Feature this: Search google.com in the US and get scant EU returned items. Search google.fr, and those unfortunates in the US, myself included, who can only handle the English language are out of luck. Yes, page translators exist, and some sites have English language page availability as well as native language posting, but often site content is "adjusted" to audience too. And it would be a major surprise if media in Europe were not owned by major corporate interests wanting to tell news the way most amenable to major corporate interests.

It would wind up a conspiracy theorist to think over those Google and media ownership situations, and while on that subject, I think the hacking was done by Teddy Bear and Smokey Bear; and if the DNC boss honcho had been Goldilocks with due attention to her porridge [a/k/a political spoils], and not DWS intent only on derailing the Bernie juggernaut, then the hacking would have failed.

But, the US intelligence community will not tell you the truth and presents instead its lurid Cozy Bear and golden showers and if I need name a Goldilocks for getting the porridge that's just right, it is Elizabeth Warren, sans Goldman Sachs taint, sans Foundation.

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