Think Or Sink

Economy is the management of the house (oikos in Greek), ecology is the study, or logic, of the house. They are closely related. We are presently engaged in the sixth large mass extinction event since animal life appeared on Earth. It is, potentially the most dangerous, because hypoxia (so far undocumented in previous mass extinctions, but likely) threatens (my trademark worry).

Yet, this extinction event is driven by the behavior of Homo Sapiens, thus, it could be prevented (as long as the extinction does not develop too much inertia). Thus we should use more logic to manage the house.

Worst Extinction Coming? Lest We Intervene Creatively

Worst Extinction Coming? Lest We Intervene Creatively

Horizontally: million of years before present. Both the P-T (Permian-Trias) and K-T (Cretaceous-Tertiary) extinctions coincide with Earth core eruptions (according to me, they acidified the seas). Vertically: percentage of fossilized marine genera that went extinct.

Thus the nature of economic policy, not just economic performance, is in question. Here is Krugman in Cheese-eating Job Creators

People are pretty down on European economic performance these days, with good reason. But mainly what we’re looking at is bad macroeconomic policy…That’s a very different story from the old version of Eurotrashing, which focused on Eurosclerosis — persistent low employment allegedly caused by excessive welfare states.

John Schmitt and Dean Baker began pointing out a long time ago that this story was out of date. If you looked at Europe in general and France in particular, you saw that yes, people retired earlier than in America, and also that fewer young people worked — in part because they didn’t have to work their way through college…

Well, I hadn’t looked at this data for a while; and where we are now is quite stunning:

France & USA EMPLOYMENT Rate [NOT Unemployment U2]

France & USA EMPLOYMENT Rate [NOT Unemployment U2]

Many of the French would be indignant about that graph, as they are focused on the Unemployment Rate known as U2 (which is above 10% in France).

And Krugman to conclude: “Since the late 1990s we have completely traded places: prime-age French adults are now much more likely than their US counterparts to have jobs.

Strange how amid the incessant bad-mouthing of French performance this fact never gets mentioned.”

Krugman knows well that this is not strange. Wall Street centered plutocracy has control of American propaganda, and admitting any sort of French superiority in economics would be equivalent to anathema.Financiers hate France most, as she is full of counterexamples to the plutocratic paradigm, so they use the biggest, ugliest lies against her.

Employing people of prime employment age is a deliberate policy of the state in France. Early (and sufficient!) retirement is part of it. So is free university education (as Krugman hints at above).

And yet, comparing an enormous country-continent such as the USA and a European country, is always fraught. European countries are automatically small, and crowded. Most have long exhausted natural resources.

Besides, God is American (just listen to Barack Obama if you doubt it). So, when American companies (Chevron, etc.) tried fracking in Poland, it did not work, as God had not blessed Poland (or not been blessed by Obama, whatever). The geology was uncooperative.

Or maybe Poland cannot be as thoroughly destructed as Texas (largest state of the USA), Wyoming (very large, and less populated USA state), or the Dakotas (what’s that?).

Much of the wealth of the USA comes from recently conquering a gigantic, wealthy continent, after having disposed of the preceding occupants (thus acquiring title and attending riches).

In a way, the USA is an ode to the exploitative paradigm: We Came, We Saw, We Destroyed, We Thrive.

No wonder well paid economists and other propagandists from the world’s richest universities prefer to change conversation, and explain to use why slavery is so superior to economy, the French way. (Americans get two weeks vacations; the French, who invented mandatory paid vacations in 1936, get 5; a reform all of Europe has copied. )

All this sudden American wealth was not because of a mysterious American genius in matters economic, but for the one found at the end of a saber. Proof? The USA was mostly created by Europeans. What those Europeans could do in the New World, they could never have done in the Old One.

Parts of Europe are still suffering from Roman ecological devastation.

The European Union (four million square kilometers) is less than half the area of the USA (ten million square kilometers). Europe (even without Putin’s Grosse Reich) has twice the population of the USA.

France exploited coal for 73,000 years, but, surprise, surprise, has run out of it. France had insignificant gas, now exhausted, and only a few barrels of oil.

This general paucity of resources forces Europeans to exchange high added value products (aerospace, cars, machine tools) against the natural resources they need (even Spain is selling trains to Saudi Arabia).

In other words, Europeans have to be more brainy, but for countries such as Norway (oil, gas) or Britain (oil, gas, Russian money).

In a sense the archetype  European country is wealthy Switzerland. First source of Swiss income? Pharmaceuticals.  Where does the better Swiss economic management come from? Direct democracy.

The strategies used in France and Germany are slightly different, with more emphasis on university education in France (which is free) and thus more of a scientific axis, and more on apprenticeship in Germany (thus a more active high tech Mittelstand). They are both trying to adopt the other’s advantage (Germany is doing a huge teaching-scientific effort, and has just adopted a French like minimum wage… while France is talking about how great Germany is).

The advantage of the Silicon Valley seems, and is, incontrovertible. Yet, it has to a great extent to do with the size of the market of the USA, & the discrete fact that the most important actor in the economy is the state. Silicon Valley was basically founded by the defense establishment of the USA (the basic tech was often invented in… France. But the smaller French market, and the lack of an empire of awe and conspiracies, put the French at a disadvantage.)

In any case, the better French success with employment (especially its quality, that the graph above does not exhibit) demonstrates, to some extent, the superiority of governmentalism.


Not to say that government policies in France are, and have been perfect (France has a new Prime Minister, the young, Catalan-Swiss-French Emanuel Wals). Far from it. They are actually often laughable, while gritting one’s teeth. To quit laughing, though, one has to just consider the USA, where, in spite of obvious natural riches, much of the plundering by the higher ups negatively impact economic performance.

The social inequality in San Francisco is on a par with Rwanda (that makes more sense than it looks, as both depends upon Coltan, plundered in Congo).

We are going to need lots of correct governmentalism, if we are going to be spared a sixth, and most terrible, mass extinction.

Speaking of extinction, in apparently unrelated news, the thirty billion dollar woman, Helene Pastor, just died from her wounds from an (unknown commando) attack. Flags have been lowered all over the Principality of Monaco. When people die, the pain of the state is apparently proportional to wealth.

There are warning flags fluttering in the air.

Patrice Aymé

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14 Responses to “Think Or Sink”

  1. Dominique Deux Says:

    First of all sorry for being scant on your page these days. Elections to the European Parliament are close, and I’ve been busy ranting (what else can I do) against bloggers who posture as being on the left, but really are doing everything they can, including calling for abstention or fail-sure votes and lying through their teeth, to ensure that the next CO of the European Commission (now the calamitous Barroso, Peace Criminal) is a faithful heir to said Barroso, rather than the substantially better Martin Schulz.

    Today’s subject is closely related to my current interest. While it is not surprising that France’s good economic points are not trumpeted in US media, and in French media which long for France to ape America’s worst aspects, it is scandalous that the so-called left – and especially the one supposed to be in power – is not even aware of analyses such as Krugman’s, let alone using them in presenting its badly battered case.

    The so-called “decliniste” clique (whose motto is “France is a failure, Socialist France a disaster”) hogs all the media, and threatens not only the Socialist’s hold on power (that’s part of the political game, after all) but ALSO public confidence, thus very effectively eroding France’s economic performance. The word treason comes to mind.

    I wonder how Krugmanesque analyses could be brought into the French arena. Even the Ardesina-Alagna-Reinhart Rogoff ruckus got extremely limited publicity, and therefore traction, here; mainstream “economists” are still firmly (and shrilly) wed to the skewed austerian ideology those worthies pushed, and Barroso’s Commission is diktating with brute force.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Yes Dominique, we have been missing you. I have been toiling away without your contributions, thus unaware of some of my errors…

      Including smart comments about my suggestion that selling the Mistral ships to Putin is no big deal, considering how much the USSR USA collaborates with Putin on strategic goods.

      I do agree with you about Martin Schultz: he is by far the best, moreover, in my book, he is French. Culturally and linguistically French. I am all for voting. I was contemplating Schultz with our PM Manuel Wals in Barcelona. Manuel the PM who masters perfectly four languages.

      In a striking contrast, Jean Claude Junkers, last I checked, was a patented plutocratic and plutophile assassin. His Luxembourg Secret Service (SS) was put to good satanic usage. Now he claims banking secrecy is over (and it’s not!)

      In any case, not voting is grotesque. And being anti-European is like being against mother Earth…

      Yes France is not doing as badly as the overwhelming Pluto propaganda has it. Yet, the persuasion that France does so badly, which is a big lie, then allows to turn around, and impose worldwide anti-French, thus anti-civilization solutions. In all sorts of ways, from being anti-nuclear, because it’s anti-French, or being for against anything that makes sense, on the ground it’s anti-French.

      Krugman, frankly… An American told me last week that Krugman tried very hard to be me, but he did not make it…

      On the positive side, Obama/me strategy against Putin has momentarily worked. But moments are all that counts as gaining time weakens Putin’s madness: Russia’s economy is in free fall. But austerity is still on, and the talk of cutting French defense spending is madness (French military is reduced to buying USA drones, 12 Reapers… So far unarmed: although I’m against drones the way Obama used them at some point, I think they are best against the like of Boko Haram).


      • Dominique Deux Says:

        Well Patrice, re the Mistral sale, I cannot say I like selling hi-tech weaponry to Putin. Coaxing a thug back to civilized life is not done by selling him thuggery tools.

        Yet the contract has been signed, and we are not at war with Russia. Asking France to swallow the large cost – in jobs, income and penalties – of contract breaking by itself is too much reminiscent of the Assad bomb run debacle.

        Moreover, even if Obama offered to buy the ships and reimburse any incurred penalties, the long-term blow to France’s credibility as a weapons provider would be very costly. And I think that is something Russia knows – it likes to harp on it – but the US weapons industry also knows it. It has always done its best to quash its European, and especially French, competition, not on product quality but by political arm-twisting and other devious means. Do not for an instant think that it would refrain from pointing out France’s unreliability in the future, even if it stemmed from an act of vassality towards the US.

        Of course there is the issue of the ethics of selling arms at all. Coming from the largest arms dealer on Earth, that is rich. But more to the point, as long as European hi-tech industries have a divided and underfunded home market, while European countries rightly want to have other options than buying US hardware with all sorts of strings attached, the European arms industry will have no choice but to try and export.

        There always will be time to block the delivery of the ships if there is no other choice and everybody agrees to share the cost. But we won’t be again the “dindon de la farce”.


        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          As I did not explicitly said in “Mistral Blows Hard”, but I should add it:

          The Mistral sale, if reduced to two ships, is of the order of a couple billion dollars or so.
          The business of the USA with the Russian military-industrial complex is much greater than that.

          Of course one could say that France brings high tech to the Russians, whereas the USA GETS high tech FROM Russia. But, doing so, the USA supports mightily the Russian military-industrial complex. The other way is something else entirely.

          In the Falklands war, the French told the Brits how to defeat the French made Exocets sea skimming missiles and other French weapons… And even trained the Brits. Conclusion: big defeat of the Argentines… Except for the Sheffield, at the bottom of the ocean it rests.


        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          My argument is to gain time with Putin, while arming Ukraine with Putin-defeating weapons.


  2. Paul Handover Says:

    The noise of those fluttering warning flags is making it difficult for people to think clearly right around the world!


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      If Pastor had been worth just 20 Euros, instead of 20 billion Euros, the flag would still flutter proudly.


      • Dominique Deux Says:

        If Pastor had been the first casualty of a new wave of “revolutionary justice”, her murder would have been claimed.

        It looks more like a domestic plutocratic squabble.


        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Well, agreed. Yet, “revolutionary justice” would be well advised to act rather than talk. Something related: as opprobrium avalanches in the direction of splurging plutocrats, even henchmen may lose respect for them. In other words, the global mood of overwhelming spite for plutocrats may induce those on the verge, to pull the trigger… When they feel that open season on plutocrats is rather socially acceptable.

          Related to this, the interesting fate of Louis XVI. Although he could be/should be, viewed as a revolutionary, as some in his family warned him, by unleashing anti-plutocratic violence, he lost his head. Moods have a life of their own.

          Now mood number one to acquire ought to be that of killing the plutocratic phenomenon, whatever it takes. More than a century ago, the anarchist murder wave did lead to reforms that changed civilization positively. And if Bismarck inaugurated health care, it was because the power of violent revolution had struck him, very deeply.


  3. Wind Surfer Says:

    Wind Surfer
    I am stunned by the chart. I thought French economic problems were due to early age of retirement. But French working-age populations (25-54) do have more jobs than the US counterparts. Yet, French ranking in the Michael Porter’s Social Progress Index is worse than US rank. France is the country of mystery.


    • tom, boston Says:

      Or maybe the mystery lies in Michael Porter’s “Social Progress Index.”


      • Dominique Deux Says:

        All those multifactor indices are too much open to figure cooking and rely on input data which are mostly not mutually comparable. They could be useful in determining wide categories, but would these categories add anything to common knowledge?

        I’m sure N. Korean textbooks include many such lists… with different results.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Progress in the USA, means progression of Pluto.

      France is the country Wall Street hates most, because she is full of counterexamples to the plutocratic paradigm, so it makes sure of the biggest lies against her.


  4. Patrice Ayme Says:

    [Sent to Learning From Dogs, July 7, 2014.]

    It has been obvious for a century that we are in a Sixth Extinction. And the term has been mentioned for at least a few decades. In the 1960s, some were accusing climate natural change. Then it became obvious man did it.
    has a graph of the extinctions (except for the last one we are presently enjoying).
    shows what’s the problem: COAL.

    It’s negative to be too positive. And it’s positive to enjoy a negative situation. Playing with the universe some do all too much. Seriousness is positive.

    The Gods, indeed, are not the only Dogs worth having. (That’s called the poetical mode of thought, most useful for philosophy.)


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