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Whatever his personal failings, François Hollande seems emblematic of the decline of social democracy which lost its primary raison d'être when the Soviet Union died and western elites no longer needed to fear a socialist revolution. Social democracy was the price they were prepared to pay to stave off that terrible vista.  Ever since then global capital has been flexing its muscles, playing off one government against another and threatening recalcitrant unions with divestment to another market.

Indeed we don't have countries any more, we have markets. Most global corporations don't break down their numbers by country any more, we are all part of the EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) region. Profits are reported where taxes are the lowest, production is located where labour costs are lowest, and products are sold where they can command the highest prices.

And the thing is, nation states not big enough to dominate a market on their own haven't yet devised a strategy to combat this. Nationalism is the inchoate response, but it merely compounds the problem.  The EU is the best solution we have, and even it has failed miserably.  For all his incompetence, Hollande has delayed this process almost as well as any: France is still a functioning social democracy.  As the UK is about to find out if it votes for Brexit, the alternative is even worse.

There is only one long term global solution, and that is for global political institutions to wrest control from global corporations, and that isn't even on any political agenda yet.  For the foreseeable future we will live on democratic islands in a rising corporate sea.  France, for now, is still one of the hold-outs. A returning Sarkozy wouldn't make that any better.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jun 19th, 2016 at 01:46:23 PM EST

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