On Sunday, France held a second round of presidential elections. Most observers believe that the centrist Emmanuel macron will win the white nationalist marine Le Pen (enough to elevate the facts, calling it populism; it is time to call a spade a spade). I’m sure the rules of the New York Times let me be clear that I very much hope for a victory of common sense. Victory for Le Pen would be a disaster for Europe and for the world.
However, I think it would be fair to ask a few questions about what’s going on. First, how did we come to this? Secondly, would defeat Le Pen is only a temporary respite from the ongoing European crisis?
A bit of history. Like everyone else on this side of the Atlantic, I often looked to France through the glasses trump. But it is important to understand that in spite of large differences in underlying economic and social trends between French and American policies, there are similarities.
For starters, in France, a rather successful economy, although it only writes bad press. Basically, do the ideologues, who insisted that a generous social-oriented state have to face catastrophic consequences. Believe it or not, but the adult Frenchman in the active working age (25 to 54 years) are much more likely to get a well-paid job than his American counterpart.
The French are also no less productive. Yes, in General, on a per person basis they produce about a quarter less than we are. But this is due mainly to the fact that they have longer vacations, and retire before they come out. Obviously, there is nothing wrong.
Although in France, as in other countries, gradually decreasing the number of jobs in manufacturing, there was nothing like the “Chinese shock”, which in the early 2000-ies has drastically brought down employment in manufacturing in the United States.
That is, the economy in France is not that great, but at the same time not horrible. But it is something else. In France there is a powerful system of social protection of the population, which the American progressivity can only dream of. This is guaranteed high quality health care for all, generous benefits for care of newborn children, the system of kindergartens for everyone and much more.
And last one, but not by value. Because of these differences in policy, and perhaps for other reasons, in France there is nothing like the social collapse that has affected most of white America. Yes, France has serious social problems. And who doesn’t? But there is no hint of a surge in “death of despair”, which we observed among the white working class of the United States, and about which they write, Anne Keyes (Anne Case) and Angus Deaton (Angus Deaton).
In short, a happy utopia in France will not be called, however, it is almost by any measure, provides its citizens a decent life. So why do so many people who are willing to vote for the racist and extremist (again, enough to resort to euphemisms)?
Of course, the reasons are many, first and foremost is the concern of society about Muslim immigrants. But it is already clear that the votes for Le Pen is a vote of protest against the arrogant and detached from reality the officials who run the European Union. Unfortunately, in the views of these voters there is an element of truth.
Those of us who watched the European institutions have struggled with the debt crisis that began in Greece and then spread to many countries of Europe, was shocked by the widespread callousness and arrogance.
Although Brussels and Berlin again and again was mistaken in its economic calculations (policies of belt-tightening was a real economic disaster, as warned critics), they continued to act like he knew the answers to all the questions, if human suffering is essentially necessary punishment for past sins.
In political terms, the officials all got away with it, because a small country it is easy to intimidate because they are afraid of losing European funding, and they can’t resist the exorbitant demands. But the European elite will be making a terrible mistake if you believe that you can behave the same way and with the big players.
In the negotiations that are currently under way between the EU and Britain, there are already signs of impending doom.
It is a pity that the British voted for Pexit, because for him Europe would become weaker and poorer country. But European officials with his behavior becoming more and more like an abandoned wife, which is set out in the divorce process, to Rob the husband for the money. It’s just crazy. Whether we like it or not, Europe will have to somehow get along with Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, and the intimidation of London, as it was done before with Athens, will give nothing, because the United Kingdom is a large, rich and proud country.
But back to the French elections. We must frighten the possibility of the victory of Le Pen. However, we should be concerned that in case of victory of Macron Brussels and Berlin considers Brakcet anomaly, believe that the European voters can be intimidated and forced to do whatever it considers necessary high European authorities.
Therefore, it is necessary to tell directly: even if Sunday the worst will be avoided, all will receive the European elite, this is a limited time chance to correct their behavior.