Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sarkozy (France) offers op-ed on G-20 Summit


Well, when I took French I in ninth grade, I learned that “k” and “w” were not part of the Latin alphabet. So I always thought that the name of the president of France, Nicholas Sarkozy, was a bit of a puzzlement. Sarkozy has been critical of the excessive reward to "capitalists" in all these bailouts and has hinted he could walk out of the G-20 meetings if he doesn't keep his privilege of being listened to.

Sarkozy has an important op-ed on p A21 of the April 1, 2009 Washington Post, “Priority I: World Growth: The Practical Steps the G-20 Summit Must Take”, link here. He seeks a “better regulated” form of democratic capitalism with “morality and solidarity.” That reminds me of an old Mother Jones article (May/June 2004) where he pits “hyperindividualism” against “solidarity” (link). I have to think of “democratic capitalism” as something that nurtures individual talent, and it doesn’t seem to matter if it’s in Britain, Canada, the United States, Australia, Germany, or Sarkozy’s France. It really doesn’t matter if it tolerates some moderate “socialism” – especially nationalized health care and some nationalize utilities and public transportation. Actor Dev Patel got to be a superstar at 17 growing up as a minority kid in Britain, playing a whiz-kid with super-determination in India – which in practice has much farther to go in the direction of Sarkozy’s paradigm. (By the way, it seems that many, even most teen actors – such as Gregory Smith -- come from Canada.) And China, for all its capitalist success (and limited resistance to the current downturn) is still an authoritarian Confucian (not quite fascist but ex-communist) state. And “democratic capitalism”, neocons write, is what the Islamic world refuses to try.

I’ll cut and paste Sarkozy’s “four points”, as if a high school kid needed to know them for a government test today: “enhanced coordination and cooperation; the rejection of protectionist measures; the strengthening of regulatory systems in financial markets; and a new global governance.” Sarkozy says we are making progress on the first two.

Barack Obama plays the role of Comforter in Chief.

Everyone writes about the protests outside, as if we expected a repeat of Seattle in November of 1999 (the movie "Battle in Seattle" is reviewed on my movies blog September 2008).

In fact, the major networks showed the vandalism against the Royal Bank of Scotland (which got a huge bailout from the British government the same day that President Obama was inaugurated) and signs screaming "Abolish Money", which sounds like a scenario for the nearest extraterrestrial civilization (as if we needed a blog on UFOs).

The Big PowWow happens Thursday. And "Summit" here does not mean "Summit Entertainment."

But what we need to think about may be more than a contract between countries. It may be revised "social contracts" among people. Back to "Mother Jones," please/

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