Does Macron have any new ideas to save the moment?

My opening line for Bloomberg:

The sorry truth is that both progressives and neoliberals still don’t get it, and that seems true in France most of all.

Part of the argument:

In response, people want something beyond more income redistribution (what the left is offering) or more globalization (what the pre-populist right used to offer). People want ideas and inspiration, and when no good new ideas are put forward, the current default seems to be nationalist ideas, including of the less tolerant variety.

Macron doesn’t have any new ideas or vision, however much you might like the old ideas he has embraced. And so, however promising it might have seemed at first, his tenure has accelerated the collapse of the traditional European liberal order. For some time, his approval ratings in France have been lower than those of U.S. President Donald Trump.

And here is the least central paragraph:

The one intellectual group that really gets what is going on right now are the much-maligned libertarians. For decades they have been told that they are too analytical, that they lack empathy, that they don’t have much to offer the public in the way of inspiration. For all the (mostly failed) attempts to pretend otherwise, that is mostly true — and libertarians have to hope that analytical perspectives become more ascendant.

Oh, and don’t forget this:

A quick comparison with 19th-century French culture, with its emphasis on progress, utopia and the rationalization of social systems, shows just how much the forward-looking perspective is lacking.



Well, what's the answer?!!! What leaders in the world today are doing it right?

I would have also liked to read more on what libertarians have learned to do to counter their perceived lack of empathy.

Trump appears to be doing pretty well even though it’s forbidden to say that around here

Well, not forbidden (you just said it), but disdained and ridiculed. But I agree that the stupid Trump is running rings around the opposition. He showed up Nancy and Chuck yesterday while he set up the battlefield with ‘I’m proud to shutdown the government for border security ‘.

I guess a 40-seat loss in the house isn't sufficient to diminish your confidence in the President's popularity. He will lose in a landslide in 2 years having accomplished little except a backlash against everything he cares about, so I don't know how you can call that doing pretty well.

Who said anything about popularity? After 2 1/2 years of the lying media trying desperately to slander him and poison his reputation, that's the best you have. Two new judges on the Supreme Court, more judges on the lower courts, tax reductions, booming economy, ditching the fraudulent climate "treaty". The list goes on.

Of course, I am not trying to convince you, because you are trapped in an anti-Trump fantasy from which there is no return.

Just as certainly as the Democrats' 63-seat loss in the House in 2010 portended the unpopular Obama's landslide loss in 2012.

THE answer to the West's leftist-imposed decline is very simple:


If we can end the invasion, and go some distance to restoring a private property based economic order, everything else becomes possible over time. If we keep importing Third World welfare parasites (cf. California), Democrat bloc voters (cf. ditto), and Muslim terrorists (cf. the entire West), there will be no answers to anything. I have fought the alien invasion for 40 years now - and they still keep coming ...

Anyone who fails to see that genetically alien immigration is merely invasion by non-military means is a moron.

Looking into the future - I don't see any more posts from Leon Haller. Some things just cannot be said, whatever their truthfulness.

This not so much about the leader "doing it right" as it is the leader sticking it to the people. The leaders of the world are elitists trying to increase their elitist power and punish the citizens. This is very risky. Shit happens and it typically starts very slow and then very fast and it is out of control. A revolution? A civil war? These are possible results of an increasingly left wing oppressive movement by the elitists. Global warming always was a scam to allow the elite to increase taxes and take more power for themselves. It is not the only scam harming the common man, global trade (as practiced) is being used to take more and more from the citizens. The people are pissed/woke and the shit is approaching the fan...

Immigration is a mechanism of elite class divide-and-conquer, too.

Libertarians learned to lose. They have gotten exceedingly good at it.

Trumps approval is around 40 and republicans got killed in house elections. He is categorically not doing well if your criteria is that a leader be popular.

@Hoosier Prime Minister of Netherlands Mark Rutte & Former PM of Australia Malcolm Turnball. google them.

Nah Turnball made the mistake of trying to butt heads with President Trump and ended up getting tossed out on his ass. Not smart.

Yep, just look at how that piece of shit Australian tried to tear down a great man in this transcript of their phone converstion:

Germany bit the bullet on supply-side reforms in 2004 and is crushing it.

In France, 25% of the workforce is employed by the government. In Germany, it's 13%.

GDP per capita 2004:

Germany $37,400
France $36,200

GDP per capita 2017:

Germany $45,200
France $38,600

Germany grew at 1.5% a year; France grew at 0.5% a year.

It's a huge difference and it grows larger over time. Not sure French can be like Germans, you don't hear much about Germans burning down Berlin demanding more free shit from the government, not for a long time.

The French protesters are not demanding "free stuff". They are protesting a tax increase, and, more generally, globalization. The former cause is confluent with libertarianism. The latter, not so much as libertarians tend to be foot-stomping in favor of free trade and fairly open borders.

They weren't after free stuff, but Macron is offering the rioters free stuff to stop rioting, so he is training them to demand free stuff. If not now, then next time.

They are rioting over cost of living/being poor which is a result of France's failed economic policies

France's GDP per capita in 2017 dollars is worse than that of 49 US states and only just above Mississippi's.

So the French are protesting that their GDP per capita isn't growing fast enough?

At bottom, yes. Nothing unusual about France here.

We tend not to think about what goes on inside China, but there are tons of labor disputes there all the time, and Chinese leaders understand the only way to keep these forces at bay is growth.

I hear people complaining all the time. They never seem to mention that the GDP per capita isn't growing fast enough.

An extra $5K per capita would cover a lot of gas taxes.

When gas prices in the US go up nobody talks about GDP. Aside from that, what's the connection between GDP and personal income? Other than a theoretical one. Skyrocketing salaries, bonuses and stock options for corporate executives don't make janitors and warehousemen happy to pay more for motor fuel.

"what's the connection between GDP and personal income?"

None chuck, there is none. You got me.

Economic prosperity is measured as via growth domestic product (GDP) per capita, the value of all goods and services produced by a country in one year divided by the country’s population.

That figure is, of course, an average. A country could have a very high GDP per capita and yet still have a substantial number of people living in poverty relative to a wealthy minority. The per capita value of goods and services produced doesn't tell us anything about the income of any one individual or group in a given population.

Yes it does unless the differences in post transfer inequality are large. The lower gini coefficients in France, Germany and Sweden likely mean the median income is still lower but not by as much as the GDP per capita would suggest. Also French, Germans and Swedes work far fewer hours compared to Americans.

u ask what libertarians have learned
to do to counter their perceived lack of empathy?
well we read about one fella who wrote a book with the best footnotes
in years and gave away the proceeds to another fella in ethiopia

you say u would have also like to read more on what libertarians have learned to do to counter their perceived lack of empathy.
thanks for asking!

in a world where fascists rebrand themselves as antifascists it helps
to point out that what is branded as empathy does not always meet the dictionary definition of empathy
when senator Pelosi says not to worry about collateral damage to those who don't share her political viewpoint that is closer to the definition of fascism or dementia than empathy

BBG: Finally you compared Trump to nazism in your column. Well done.
TC: Yes, I did.
BBG: Now it's time for you to put yourself in the feet of Macron and pretend you fight a hopeless battle, against meany uneducated populace. Pretend you are innocent of any of their problems.
TC: Yes, sirs, I am on it.

Yeah TC is just a fraud. The more he writes in Bloomberg the sillier he looks.

Yes, but it is cute how he regales us with his wisdom.

Isn't it such great fun to come here every day to read obsessively every word by this man we disdain so much?




The fundamental problem is that today's "leftists" are members and representatives of the elite who are acting under the delusion that they're members and representatives of the masses. At least past elites knew they were a separate class, rather than imagining themselves as outsiders speaking truth to power.

The sad thing is that you don't really mean "elites" here, you just mean anyone who lives in a suburb or city.

You know, those people who need to be gerrymandered out of a vote.

"People who vote for Democrats" is not a synonym for "leftist" or "elite". That's one of the conflations used by the elite minority to avoid having to deal with the fact that that they are an elite minority, though.

"suburb or city"

Plenty of suburbs vote GOP. It was the defection of suburban GOP voters in NJ/Philly area and Orange County [and elsewhere] that gave the Dems most of their recent victory.

Nobody hates suburbs.

As for cities:

When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe. Thomas Jefferson
Read more at:

Plenty of people, both Left and Right, bad mouth the suburbs.

I mean, if we're going to be completely honest about this, we should also talk about how the Senate map creates a kind of inverse justification. History gave us two senators for each state and big empty states. This *accidentally* impowers empty lands and low marginal productivity workers.

Is that Macron's problem, too?

I have no idea, is it?

I am not at all an expert on France and am only interested in this essay for the purported implications in the United States.

My casual observation is that France got into a bad position many years ago, being much more conventionally socialist and much less market-oriented than we are.

We are a market economy.

We tend to shout "socialist" at the sight of a shadow, which is part good and part bad. Good because we are certainly not veering towards a french-style economy, but bad because those shout sometimes hobble very basic improvements for things like public education or health.

Let's go back to this whole Senate thing. I think you're really on to something with this whole "the rules have been in place for 200+ years but I've recently decided they're unfair." Very convincing. Stick with that theme, please.

I don't have to rely on any argument about fair or unfair.

I can simply note the path dependency.

The two senators per state rule was made for a reason 200 years ago, to get agreement from parties that existed then, and then has a quite unintended consequence today.

If you're really take yourself out of your political position and view it as Warner Brothers martian with his big telescope, wouldn't it look odd?

Why do ranchers in Montana have more of a stake in the United States government then dry cleaners in Anaheim California?

Oh, oh, I think I know that one! It's because the United States, for whatever reason, wanted Montana in, rather than out!
It's a garden of forking path dependencies.

By the way, I hope you can see that as new states were admitted it was in the existing states interest to make them as large as possible, so as to dilute their stake in the Senate as little as possible.

I see your point. And the fact that the Democrats have only had a little over a century to adapt to this expansion does indeed make this frustrating.

And sorry about the speech-to-text and proofreading, or lack thereof.

I consider Tyler essay bad, but not in a particularly dangerous way, so I'm growing bored.

See ya later.

"we should also talk about how the Senate map creates a kind of inverse justification"

The recent Senate hatred is amazing.

Democrats had 60 senators a decade ago. The GOP has not had 60 since the 1920s.

Lose a few elections and now the Senate must be abolished!!

I think it's clear that's not what I said.

What am I identifying here is that the anti-democratic imbalance in the Senate has been jiu-jitsued into a justification for its outcome

Because the Senate represents a certain minority, that certain minority must be more American, add more authentic than those less represented.


Perhaps I'm naive but I thought that was still the point, giving voice to the minority to shout back at the mob. I always took that to be American regardless of who the minority is.

It is not in fact more representation reserved for the underclass.

It’s not about the “underclass.” The founding fathers weren’t crypto marxists.

The idea was to restrain majoritarian impulses that imperil freedom. It’s akin to the Bill of Rights. There’s a reason why it can’t be changed even WITH a constitutional amendment.

The senate is designed to provide a counter weight to large metropolitan population centers. It’s literally working as intended.

If you want to propose demolishing the senate and having a unicameral legislature with 2 year terms then advocate for it. We’ll need a new constitution.

If, like many on the left, you wish to have a parliament and party ticket voting irrespective of geography, then just advocate for that.

For now we can take you as seriously as Republicans took healthcare reform. I hear a lot of complaining, and then nothing offered.

What am I identifying here is that the anti-democratic imbalance in the Senate has been jiu-jitsued into a justification for its outcome

The justification for the Senate's distribution of votes was composed in 1788, before there were any outcomes.

I am saying it is jiu-jitsued now, in the way you guys look at it.

You think Bob from Ohio is more authentically American and deserves more representation then Maria from Santa Ana, right?

Do rural people deserve any representation at all?

In my state, there are "water planning" districts (read: mechanism for water hustlers to sell dams to the gullible and/or on the take). The result is, people whose families have farmed their rich bottomland for a hundred-fifty years, are completely at the mercy of urbanites, waiting for the axe to fall (the water is unneeded, it should go without saying). I know people who've been waiting for their home to be flooded, as per the "plan", for 30 years. The same holds true for roadbuilding schemes, like the canceled corridor project that was the great passion of our former governor, or his string-pullers, and would have required the eminent-domain seizure of more than a half-million acres of private land. How'd you like to move your cows from one section to another, across a 1200-foot wide corridor?

And of course, with exceptions - coal, fracking - the rural areas tend to be "takers" in our Byzantine school funding-equalizing scheme, which engenders resentment among urban/suburban voters, who never meant this to happen - they only wanted, initially, all those years ago, to make stop the sadmaking, stomach-churning news reports that school districts burgeoning due to the siphon from Mexico, found themselves making use of old desks and textbooks.

It is pretty easy to see who they'll come for first, when our system does change, which now seems much closer than I would have once imagined. The elite is probably regretting they taught us so much "civics" back in the day. There's a lot of waiting-for-people-to-die in the air.

Eventually, the urban majorities will see no reason to abide by the Constitution's counter-majoritarian provisions. Simultaneously, I don't see the flyovers consenting to rule by the coastals. This is probably what the 1850's felt like.

Yeah, probably. Exactly like that.

The political and economic imbalances are pretty astounding. As the Left is increasingly fond of pointing out, Los Angeles County alone is more populous than 40 of the states.

The political imbalances are far less severe than the 1850s. And the economic imbalances aren't geographic in nature (there are poor and rich people on the coasts and in the flyovers).

Your example of LA's urbanization is a third category, and no doubt today the US (and the whole world) is far more urbanized than the 1850s. Which actually is evidence against your claim (that 'this' is what the 1850's felt like), not for it.

Again, eventually there will be no reason for the urban majorities to go along with the Constitution's counter-majoritarian provisions--the cities are where all the money and people are. Simultaneously, I don't see the flyovers agreeing to be ruled by the coastals; the cultural and political values are incredibly different. As government centralizes, the differences become less tolerable.

I suppose in some far future if urbanization trends persist and the flyovers empty out even more, there would be pressure to change the Constitution. But I don't see how a mostly empty heartland would want to secede, their living standards would collapse. Things change and evolve, almost always gradually.

Also remember, many coastals are from the heartland, and plenty of flyovers are from the coasts. We're an unusually mobile country, the people mix and mingle. There won't be another civil war, sorry.

This is probably what the 1850's felt like.

Seriously? The Confederacy was a plausible nation. "The counties that voted for Clinton in 2016" isn't. Your postulated Civil War II ends in about four weeks, with the urban centers of the country cut off from water, food, and electricity until they agree to adhere to the Constitution, counter-majoritarian provisions intact.

Everyone on the left is fond of pointing out that red states receive more central government transfers than blue states. If you really believe that implies democrats are better net contributors than republicans, why not suggest voting weighed by net tax payments? Representation proportional to taxation! That's what 1776 was about!

There's an element of that. I would add that the left has plenty of emotionally charged pablum it spews on a regular basis that theoretically ought to provide the vision and inspiration TC mentions, but a lot of it rings pretty false to people who aren't already leftists. "Diversity is our greatest strength." "We're all in this together." "Billionaires are wrecking your life" or whatever it is Bernie Sanders is telling people these days. Etc.

I think this is right on. I remember a few years ago when the left wouldnt shut up about income inequality. All the time it was this constant drum beat of 'inequality will destroy everything, people will rise up and overthrow the existing order because they can only afford a Toyota when others can buy Porches' etc etc. I couldnt help but notice that no one outside the usual lefty circles seem to care.

Same thing today with the endless 'im a victim because im not a cis white male, everything is discrimination' that we hear all the damn time. No one outside the usual suspects seems to be that concerned with it.

The left only talks and listens to itself.

"The left only talks and listens to itself."

Actually you guys seems to hang on its every word.

You told him!!! LOLOLOLS

So, what would be the libertarian take on age of consent then?

If there's grass on the field, play ball!

I think I caught a virus just reading that...

Good column. Just one point: no one in France would call Macron "on the left", and certainly not himself (who has always, even when he was working for Hollande, said to journalists he was "not on the left"). His economic policy is the more right-wing France has seen in decades,
his law-and-order approach has had to overcome opposition of the "les républicains" (the new name of the party of Chirac, Sarkozi, etc.) majority in the (eventually powerless) senate, who criticized it as too harsh and dangerous for democracy. On immigration every one knows that he speaks honey ("migrants are welcome, they are our brothers") but he acts as Le Pen would do -- closed borders and massive expulsion of migrants.

Simply the fact is that there Is no left left in France -- the Socialist party is dead, and LFI (Melenchon's party, from 10 to 20% according to polls and election) supposedly left to the Socialists, has much in common with Le Pen's party (on economic policy and even on immigration). With a relatively strong and active "democratic socialist" left, the US is a kind of leftist exception in the western world.

With a relatively strong and active "democratic socialist" left, the US is a kind of leftist exception in the western world.

Who'd you have in mind, Bernie? The left in this country is all about status competition and identity politics. The bourgeois types in the media, in academe, and in electoral politics do not give a rip about impecunious wage earners except as conversational fodder. They're quite hostile to them, in fact, unless they are ready additions to the Democratic Party vote farm.

Yes, Bernie. I wouldn't call the identity politics crowd "left",
rather "far right". But Bernie made a campaign without much reference to identity politics, and got a certain success. I don't see any equivalent of Bernie in France, Italy, Germany, currently.

Of course not - Kretschmann is a Green politician, for example. Who just happens to be in charge of one of the most successful exporting regions in the world. And though the AfD made a notable showing in recent German elections, the real winners in terms of total gains of voters were the Greens.

I wouldn't call the identity politics crowd "left", rather "far right".

You're not communicating with anyone but your navel when you talk like that.

@joel, what do you mean by "eventually powerless senate"?

Sorry, this was unclear. Simply I meant that in the French legislative system, the lower house, the "National Assembly" has the power to pass bills even without the Senate. Specifically, the National Assembly
passes a bill and sends it to the Senate. If the Senate approves it as is, the bill is sent to the president who must sign it and thus makes it law.
If the Senate doesn't approve it, a mixed committee from both the senate and the assembly tries to find a compromise, but if it doesn't work, the assembly can revote its initial bill, and then the Senate's approval is no longer needed.

Bottom line: the French Senate can delay somewhat a bill (a few weeks), not block it. At the end of the day, it has no power.

Under Macron's presidency, Macron's party (LRM) has a large majority at the National Assembly (elected in the wake of its own election as president), but the traditional Right-Wing party (LR) has the majority at the Senate. Many important bills of Macron's government and party were opposed by the Senate, but the National Assembly each time overruled it and the bills passed and became laws.

Got it. Thanks a lot, that was interesting (so was your original comment).

I'm guessing that you meant "possibly powerless". "Eventually" doesn't mean "eventuellement" in English (c'est un faux-ami). I may be wrong, in which case I apologize; your English is excellent.

Thanks a lot. I wanted to use "eventually" in the sense of "in the end" but even when writing "eventually powerless" I sensed that there was something wrong.

With a relatively strong and active "democratic socialist" left, the US is a kind of leftist exception in the western world.

Who do you have in mind, Bernie? The left in this country is all about status games and identity politics. They don't give a rip about impecunious wage earners and are in fact quite hostile to them if they're not ready additions to the Democratic Party vote farm.

"With a relatively strong and active "democratic socialist" left, the US is a kind of leftist exception in the western world."

Other than immigration, the US 'left" would be just about the most conservative faction in any western European country.

The US "democratic socialist" is just a big government advocate. They don't actually want socialism, in fact, they have no idea what it means.

they have no idea what it means.

Bernie knows what he means. Occasional-Cortex knows nothing.

"Other than immigration, the US 'left" would be just about the most conservative faction in any western European country."

Hmm... You really think so? Let's say by magic you put the US Democratic Party in charge of your standard West European big state, as is.

Think you'd see any movement towards changing its status quo in the direction of more conservative policies? Put them in Germany up against the CDU and the Democrats would become the right and the CDU the left?

I don't think they're actually left of the European right only on migration! They're left of them on all social conservatism ("family friendly" policies), and they would be left of them on spending and tax, on increasing spending and expanding programs where the European right is at times capable of austerity and spending cuts.

Yes, the Democratic Party is restrained in its actual policies to be more right wing than most of the European left, on most economic matters. But this is constraint due to the sense of the American electorate and the successes of the American right, not a difference of internal constraint and preference.

The reason the Dems are more right wing than the Euro left is that the US is more right wing than Europe. If the Dems were a Euro party they would be the center right party there. The Dems and Reps reflect the electorate of the US, which is more naturally 'right wing' than Europe. The two societies have different fundamental visions, and their parties reflect that.

>The US "democratic socialist" is just a big government advocate.
Big government is a prerequisite for socialism.

> They don't actually want socialism, in fact, they have no idea what it means.
That is true of all socialists. Though I guess there could be exceptions that are advocating for it out of misanthropy..

@joel, what do you mean by "eventually powerless senate"?


Isn't Marine LePen left? I thought she was into redistribution of wealth, but she must be labelled right, because her message is unpalatable.

I thought her father's message was more honest, clear and to the point. I think one illustrated party add simply said: "Foreigners, bye-bye!" I never heard about him being socialist, but I might not have gotten the full message, not speaking French, and never having visited, not counting my forefathers visiting Normandy.

@Viking "Isn't Marine LePen left?" Yeah maybe.

His father's message was less ambiguous, as you say, but it was (1) openly anti-republican and (2) openly racist and antisemite. With (1), it placed itself in a French tradition of anti-republican movements, which have never represented a large part of the population since 1792, but has played an outsized's role in Fresh history because some of those movements were able to come to power, not by winning elections or making a coup or a counter-revolution) about when France was occupied by foreign armies (German ones especially) : see the "restauration" starting in 1814-1815 and the "Vichy regime" starting in 1940, plus a missed tentative in 1871.

If you listen as what Marine Le Pen says now, you could easily call her "left", indeed. But if you remember whom she's is the daughter of, and who is the founder of her party, you may be more hesitant about how to classify her politically.

'you may be more hesitant about how to classify her politically'

Come now, Americans know that the fascism is really leftist - so she gets to be a leftist fascist using the Goldberg scale of American political hilarity.

(As for what she really thinks - guess we will see if she ever achieves real power.)

IIRC, Marine Le Pen's niece is more of an old school Church-and-country conservative.

It would be agreeable if France had a proper Tory movement - constitutionalist, monarchist in sentiment, Catholic, decentralist, patriotic, ethnocentric; inclined to replace public agency as a delivery vehicle with vouchers, insurance, allowances, and tax rebates; and inclined to regard freedom-of-contract as the default setting in economic transactions (especially in the labor market). Not gonna happen. Ever.

What France (indeed, every European country) needs is a neo-fascist (or rightwing authoritarian) coup d'etat, whose purpose is not to declare war on other countries, but to forcibly remove all non-Europeans (starting with Muslim jihadis) from European soils. Repatriation is the ONLY path towards European racial and cultural survival. Anything less is merely a strategy of losing slowly.

'but to forcibly remove all non-Europeans '

Been there, done that - except the removal was permanent in the case of what the Germans did.

Permanent? Hardly. Europe is choking on waves of non-white alien invasion. There's even still some jews around. Hitler went a little to far, you don't need to murder most of them, just send them back where they came from.

"On immigration every one knows that he speaks honey ("migrants are welcome, they are our brothers") but he acts as Le Pen would do" You are completely unaware of what is going on in France and you should stop propagating nonsense on a subject about which you know nothing. Practically no illegal immigrant has been deported since Macron was elected and new ones continue flooding France by the tens of thousands.
On December 10 Macron went to Marrakech and warmly supported the migration pact signed there, enthusiastically declaring: « Les solutions qu'il [le pacte] propose vont exactement dans le sens, à la fois des valeurs de l'Europe, et des intérêts de l'Europe ».
The recent massacre in Strasbourg will change nothing: Macron is just repeating the pieties we have been hearing after each of the innumerable jihadist attacks in France.

Excellent piece! Any pro-tech, libertarian, pre-Evangelical Christian candidate would easily have my vote these days (probably on those grounds alone). You can't replace meaning in your life and hope for the future with fervent beliefs regarding trade or tax policy.

You want the #DeusVult section of the Alt-Right.

No thank you, too paleo. I meant more like a candidate that could revive Christian morality and doctrine for the 21st century as a global institution, #deusvult is just christian nationalism.

If you want Christianity you have to have a Christendom, just like Judaism does much better with a Zion.

Yeah, Judaism was on the ropes there for a couple millenia.

It was maintained by an absence of inter-marriage conjoined to physical segregation in select areas.

Little Zions, essentially.

Cowen: "Finally, the decline of organized religion, especially pronounced in Western Europe, has created a spiritual vacuum and a crisis of meaning." Did Cowen and Ross Douthat collaborate on their columns today? Is prayer the solution to global warming (and terror, migration, and security issues)? Or do libertarians have a secular solution? If they do, what is it?

They are right. The decline of religion is severe and has accelerated in France in the last decade for catholicism and judaism. Islam is afloat only because of subsaharian African immigration. Frequentation in Lourdes is down 35% in 10 years. So if even very sick people at the edge of death don't believe in God anymore, who will?

It's not sub-Saharans bringing Islam to France, it's Saharans and super-Saharans.

The Gilets Jaunes want "ideas and inspiration"?

Even themselves don't know what they want

"emphasis on....utopia" were in this mess because of those ideas.

If libertarians understood what was going on they would call for a ban on immigration, deportation of all migrants/illegal aliens and support whatever is the strongest form of nationalism at the moment. They would accept some trade barriers in exchange for deregulation of the domestic economy.

Agreed--"Libertarianism In One Country" would be an oasis of freedom, dynamism, and even the regeneration of our traditional culture.

"France now runs some chance of becoming the next Italy, complete with fiscal irresponsibility and it is hard to see the nation as having the political strength or domestic consensus to hold the European Union together."

Eurogeddon is back =)

"A quick comparison with 19th-century French culture, with its emphasis on progress, utopia and the rationalization of social systems, shows just how much the forward-looking perspective is lacking."

Last time they had a real crisis, they ended up with 90% of electricity coming from nuclear power. The 70's slogan during the oil crisis "on n'a pas de pétrole mais on a des idées" is insufferable chauvinistic but it points to some underrated capabilities.

These days environmentalism looks like a hindrance. But environmentalism has another face overlooked by popular culture which is making more with less, enhancing productivity. This is alive and well in France.

Also, don't underestimate France is one of the few countries with a cultural production and exports that is comparable to the US.

People want ideas and inspiration, and when no good new ideas are put forward, the current default seems to be nationalist ideas, including of the less tolerant variety.

Yes, and the most obnoxious new idea is taxing gasoline in a futile effort to alleviate an imaginary climate crisis. Ordinary citizens rightly see this as an elite attempt to buy self-esteem with the sans culottes' money. Why doesn't the US media actually interview some of the protestors and find out what their beef is?

Pro tip: if you want a growing and productive economy believe in science every day of the week, and not just Tuesdays and Thursdays.

So science is an article of faith? Or did you mean believe in the scientific method?

I counted on you to know I was talking about the scientific method.

And you might even think over how often climate change was attacked by other routes. Including the famous "but baby, it's cold outside."

Did you? Because believing in "science" in earlier times meant denying the earth was round. Believing in science in current times has led to some truly wrong climate catastrophe predictions.

You just tripped yourself up there.

The scientific method does not and has never relied on "lock in" to one belief. That is antithetical.

And of course with a hard problem, like a changing global climate, successive approximations will have to be made.

That id certainly not reason to throw up hands and say .. what was that word from Watership Down .. "hrair."

What's the base line of the planet's climate? What's the temperature at any given point on any given day supposed to be? If the climate has changed and activity is needed to return it to some particular level, what is that level? About 8000 years ago much of the midwestern US was covered by ice over a mile thick. Is that the correct climate? Somewhat further back in time most of the earth was covered with water, that probably ain't the time. Just what is the correct climate?

What it was in 1955. Everyone knows that.

Climate whinging is boring, but to return to "science seven days a week," I give you .. Incoming GOP congressman says vaccines may cause autism, contradicting CDC.

But then that's just precedent. As you may recall Trump himself ran on a slightly more subtle line that it might be the schedule of injections, rather than the vaccines themselves that cause the autism. Google it if you care.

If you want a growing and productive economy believe in science every day of the week, and not just Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Well let's not go overboard on this whole #IEffingLoveScience thing. We'll have to start telling ourselves that wind and solar have the same efficiencies as hydrocarbons, that human intelligence has a hereditary component that increases with age, and that there's no such thing as a female Mind being mistakenly deposited in a male Body.

*do not have the same - darn.

Is this the kind of advice or thinking that made Peter Thiel go all-in for Trump 2020 in November of 2018?


For what it's worth I, a proud American, accept no "contagion" from a declining Europe. I refuse this shady argument for "decline" as justification for MAGA.

We are the leading economy, the bastion of science, the beacon of freedom in the world.

We only need keep doing what we do best.

(And we should not need the IDW to tell us to stand up straight, and have some confidence.)

The “We” you refer to is not what you think it is.

I am happy to explain my version of "we."

It is a nation of ideas and ideals, in which the children of immigrants can create companies like Apple or Google, and first generation immigrants can lead them.

See also Elon Musk, below.

No such thing as a nation of ideas. Everybody's ideas are different. It can be a pretty strong marriage of convenience, but it's not a nation. That's why our democracy finds itself in the tiring, endless loop of every election becoming an existential fight.

Every time someone says "no nation of ideas," an angel cries.

Yeah, A-G's Hobbesian vision of the world is pretty dark. I prefer optimism, partly because it matches reality better.

"I prefer optimism, partly because it matches reality better." I just burst out laughing! Optimism these days is only for idiots. The West could have arisen from the ashes of WW2 and marched into a much better future, one based on the rule of law, private property, and the avoidance of war (at least, intra-European). Instead, the liberal morons opted for welfare states and "diversity" invasions - including by our mortal civilizational enemies, the Muslims. Now, only neo-fascism will save us.

A pure nation of ideas and ideals needs everyone who follows the ideas to be in the nation and everyone outside the nation not to.

Otherwise, you may get some people deciding that if Singapore, for example, of the PRC follows their ideals and ideas better than their own nation well, this is where their loyalty lies. And then no nation that can functional effectively in international relations in pursuit of its national interest.

Of course this doesn't matter in the case of most common folks, who simply go along with nations (military service, paying taxes) out of natural human emotions of care for their immediate family and friends either way.

But for the highly principle driven weirdos at the top of the social tree, and who govern its policies of defense, it probably matters. As the USA shall discover.

There's also the question of whether more effective nations follow consistent sets of ideas and principles. Should it be optimal to zigzag between US and Scandinavian approaches to capitalism for instance, in a totally unprincipled way (say its a better balance between dynamism and avoiding collapse from populist "wreckers"), well, building a creedal nation around the US approach to capitalism to try and capture all those clever immigrants might end up being a really, really bad strategy for having an effective and long lived state.

And a further other question of whether countries that do not follow this model like you poaching their talent - and if they're strong enough to have a problem with it, they may try and do disruptive things about this. The PRC, for instance, seems to view itself as the sovereign government of all Han Chinese individuals, wherever they live, and that may be a problem for states that make a claim that any Han Chinese that believe their ideals are really one of their citizens (as the claims come into conflict).

Those being just the immediate difficulties that spring to mind. Proposition nations, are not an undifficult proposition.

Strangely enough, I just mentioned "my lack of fear of China" in the newer "Wednesday assorted links."

For very related reasons!

The proposition nation implies that everybody in the world who holds the proposition is one of your nationals. That's why American ideologues think it's fabulous for the military to be fighting for Freedom Fries in the Middle East but it's LITERALLY HITLER to station them on the border, which is really the only appropriate place for a military.

But a proposition nation is what we've got, my fellow American. The US since 1776 (and even before) has always been an amalgam of people and cultures, with that amalgam growing more diverse over time (and beneficially so). Sure in the beginning one culture was more dominant than now, but the proposition hasn't changed. And the past is past, you can no more expect the US to be a homogenous nation than you can expect the 'Native' Americans to take it back.

Sure. And Alexander Hamilton was America's First Black President.

What is the American proposition?

You didn't strike me as someone unfamiliar with the Declaration of Independence or Preamble to the Constitution, but that's where you should start.

Lin-Manuel Miranda is not black, by the way, and your snark didn't counter any of my assertions.

There is no longer any consensus on what those documents mean. The Preamble doesn't actually contain any statement of political philosophy beyond the "blessings of Liberty," which is a disembodied concept. What you should be at liberty to do varies widely among individuals.

The Declaration is definitely dated. A modern can read it and think, they started a revolution and killed people over that? The Declaration's principle of secession was abolished as a part of American political philosophy in 1865.

It's sad that an intelligent person like you doesn't know what America stands for, and what makes us different than just about any other place. No country is perfect, but is there any country striving for perfection more earnestly than this one? There are other places with some advantages, but none overall better. Certainly none of the large ones.

Okay, I guess "striving for perfection" is what America stands for.

If America stops "striving for perfection more earnestly" than everybody else are you going to move to Japan or Germany? If Americans stop "striving for perfection," should they have their America-cards revoked? And if that's really the American proposition, what in the world leads you to think Central Americans will buy into it?

Quit playing dumb and wasting both of our time

I can get behind this:

" is a struggle for maintaining in the world, that form, and substance of government, whose leading object is, to elevate the condition of men -- to lift artificial weights from all shoulders -- to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all -- to afford all, an unfettered start, and a fair chance, in the race of life."

I could finish that by saying, "And that's why we have an Estate tax." Or universal basic income, or socialized medicine, affirmative action, lots of things. Of course, the Anglo-Celts Lincoln was addressing, whose grandparents were English colonists who could literally be shooting bears and Indians from their front doors, would consider such notions unthinkable.

The founding documents were very much a product of their times. Recall that among the pressing concerns of the Constitutional Convention was the need for "post roads" and that the government shouldn't quarter soldiers in peoples' homes. Also, you should be allowed to have as much firepower as the government.

As long as those men aren't native Americans in possession of property needed to build a railroad or provide a home for an immigrant.

It is sad tosse that Red China is praised and Brazil is slandered.

The libertarians don't have a prayer as they are totally impractical, such as advocating open borders for the US, when the US stifles new housing production and cannot build infrastructure. The prospects of more-crowded and aging housing and more-crowded and aging infrastructure are not really appealing.

Why do US cities more and more resemble not Tokyo but Mumbai?

But I assume others are also nettled by the "swiss-cheese libertarians."

Rent control is Satanic, but property zoning is an issue to TBD later.

The minimum wage is heresy, but the routine criminalization of push-cart or truck-vending is never a topic.

Free trade! Unilateral free trade! But what if China's comparative advantage is stolen IP? The state has no right to prevent the sale of stolen property? But libertarians usually go ballistic to the butt when property rights are discussed.

I assume public libertarians must answer to their sponsors, or are Republicans in drag. Either way, not very appealing.

You are an idiot, Libertarians talk about that shit so much im tired of hearing about it.

Most libertarians are pie in the sky ideologues. They cannot handle reality, especially of the messy, sociobiological kind.

Sorry, but what exactly is a “neo-liberal”!

A certain stripe of progressive uses that term to mean, "someone who talks a good game on social issues but favors slightly less state control of the economy."

Basically, third-way economics combined with ethnic and sexual identity politics. While previously a "liberal" party would have said American or European workers aren't paid enough, the new mantra is they're too expensive, so we either have to off-shore factories or in-shore cheaper labor. Hence, "neo-liberalism."

To talk a little bit more about this "relative decline" nonsense, consider Elon Musk. He was born in South Africa, went to college in Canada, but came to America to pursue his dreams .. because of course he did.

America is still the place to do that, the biggest opportunity economy on the face of the planet.

And if China ever had a shot at replacing us in that status they've certainly blown it,

American Entrepreneurs Who Flocked to China Are Heading Home, Disillusioned (wsj)

Citing Elon Musk is somehow a rebuttal of western nations being eyeball deep in debt with stagnating economies?

What a word conflation of ideas.

But certainly the country with Tesla is not the country with a stagnating economy, no.

Italy has been building Ferraris for 70 years. One superlative auto boutique does not a healthy economy make.

Musk/Tesla? Is there an example of booming economy with a company with a healthier financial situation? Debt fueled growth is an open question, not an answer.

I think it is fair to say that investment in the future is always lossy, and no system of venture investment goes 10 for 10.

In America, the left’s rejoinder is often simple: More income redistribution is necessary. This French backlash, as well as the rise of populist alt-right ideas in Germany and the Nordic countries, is making that remedy seem increasingly implausible.

I don't see any good reason to think the rise of 'right-wing' anti-immigrant parties is incompatible with redistribution. There's nothing to prevent a fusion of left-wing populist economics with nationalist, anti-immigrant sentiment (just as there was nothing preventing Trump from running on anti-immigrant nationalism combined with protectionist trade policy). Indeed, the National Front platform combines anti-immigration planks with proposals to increase welfare benefits, lower the retirement age to 60, preserve the 35-hour work week, and impose tariffs and requirements for the government to buy French products.

I am a militant propertarian and Constitutionalist. But I recognize that a) stopping the Third World imperialistic colonization is by far the most important issue, and b) that vast numbers of anti-immigration-invasionists are also left-oriented economically. I think Trump instinctively gets this, too; that is, he is pro-capitalism (as he should be), but also anti-invasion (ditto). He understands that he cannot also be anti-middle-class-welfarist and win, so he has focused on economic growth policies, while trying (and totally failing - but that's another issue) to at least stop ILLEGAL immigration (ending legal immigration is far more important).

At this point in the alien colonization, I would vote for a communist party (and definitely a fascist one) if that is what it would take to stop importing "diversity" into White nations, including the USA. Again, I am close to being a minarchist in pure philosophy - but a Minarchist in One Country (not a typical open borders libertarian globalist).

Honey, come back here this instant!

Wasn’t the France of the 19th century fairly tumultuous? I recall Bonapartitism in two flavors, military defeats in Russia and against Prussia, the revolt of 1848, and the Paris Commune off the top of my head. I am not disagreeing with the expressed ideas, but I don’t recall the 19th century in France as idyllic.

Plus the July Revolution in 1830 and the Dreyfus Affair.

France had a nominal republic until 1804, an Empire until 1815, two separate monarchies, a second republic, a second Empire, and a third republic.

That is 7 different government forms in 70 years.

That's right.

Just one minor point (bonus trivia, as Ray would say): nominally, even the empire 1804-1815 was a Republic. It is weird, but on the constitution of that period, France was described as a Republic whose chief was a hereditary emperor (and this emperor was even named in the constitution: Napoleon Bonaparte); there was also a senate, various counter-powers, regular elections with universal masculine suffrage, but of course, in practice, until he lost the war, Napoleon had 100% of all powers.

The one intellectual group that really gets what is going on right now are the much-maligned libertarians.


Perhaps in these dire days the French are most in need of recovering their native sense of humor.

A prompt from a sincere sympathizer:

(NB: the French do have Jean Richepin's "Constant Guignard" to consult in the original, ditto for the founding document of 'pataphysics.)

You can commend the French for a half-dozen different things. A command of humor isn't one of them. That Jerry Lewis had quite an audience in France should tell you something about the native competition.

Note that my examples were drawn from the glorious days of the Third Republic. Richepin's "Constant Guignard" is unrelenting noir hilarity seething with astute social commentary: subsequently, Alfred Jarry helped keep the hilarity alive both with his Ubu plays and with his disoccultation of Dr. Faustroll, et al.

The noir twist that the two Papin Sisters (from the last decade of the illustrious Third Republic) brought to public entertainment somehow lacked the vivid humor of earlier works (despite their dedication to Grand-Guignol aesthetics), and the French public's monomania with so-called "serious matters" over intervening decades helps explain the dire decadence you cite in part.

The problem with the left in the United States is that (apart from a few wonks like Harold Pollack), they have no interest in public policy. Take away the talking points, the status games, the crimes, the assaults on social categories outside the magic circle, and the defense of Bourbon privilege for the bourgeois among those in the circle, and you have nothing left. They have no principles, just improvisations.

Nationalism is not "an idea." It is when the Normals tell the Elites to go fark themselves, and actually start solving local problems instead of robbing everyone blind. It is simply a statement that the leftism you favor has failed. Naturally, you hate this.

And given that Trump's approval ratings exceed Obama's, it's no surprise that they exceed Macron's.

Gee, I wonder why you didn't write that "Macron's approval ratings are even lower than Obama's"? What a complete and total mystery.

This is a really odd moment to be the declaring the triumph of populism.

Basically it is busted, and 2020 looks to be a return to conventional politics. With a few more policy whitepapers, and a few less porn stars.

Basically it is busted,

I see you're of the fake-it-till-you-make it school.

lol, deeply ironic.

Do I need to remind you of the Trump-Tillerson who's-the-idiot slap fight?

It's irrelevant to the point you were trying to make.

lol, my point is that it's busted.

Following the Cohen news today?

Really? Cuz 104 years ago, nationalism paved the way for elites to fight each other using millions of proles.

Tsarist Russia, the Hapsburg Monarchy, and the Ottoman Empire were not examples of national states.

But Gavrilo Princip was a perfect example of nationalist idiocy. Wrong again, Art.

And still pretty sharp, compared to anyone who ever sung "The Internationale".

And not consequential until the Hapsburgs and Russia with their competing alliances and policy agendas elected to make him so. The Hapsburgs problems were derived in large measure from the reality that they were held together, if at all, by fealty. And that wasn't enough for wide swaths of their population, which is why the whole structure fell-apart like a cheap tent in the late fall of 1918.

Yes and when the A-H Empire fell apart it broke down into its national constituents, which supports Brian's point.

It doesn't support his point at all. The minority nationalities went their own way in 1918 with very little violence. The attempt by dynasts to maintain their holdings was more a generator of conflict than was nationalism.

Mercatus needs to hire smarter trolls.

Perhaps you'd like to apply for the position?

I thought World War I was an attempt by the Central Powers to keep the Austro-Hungarian Empire together and quash nationalist revolutions. World War II was motivated by German and Japanese imperial ambitions; the American and European nation-states allied to defeat the German and Japanese empires.

Also, Israeli nationalism is good. Any other nationalism is literally Hitler.

Oh, that explains the 3.5 million soldiers that died in France.


Actually Trump's are lower than Obama's. They are even lower than Reagan's, who at this point in his presidency had awful ratings, worse than Obama at the same point. Because it's the economy stupid, Obama and Reagan were dealing with very rough economies early in their tenure. Trump has a booming economy and worse ratings than any president ever. But keep on lying.

In detail, Trump's ratings tend to be Republican typical among Repubs and just very low among Democrats (like essentially 0 approval rating) and this has been the case since he was inaugurated.

Doesn't seem like an economic story, where Trump is more popular than he "should" be among Republicans, just that Democrat voters are more ultra partisan than has ever previously been the case.

Trump hasn't seen that much fluctuation in approval in absolute terms, because it's not like Democrats can go into negative figures. See -

Partisan times; HRC would probably have got Trump's Democrat numbers among Republicans if she'd got her electoral calculus right enough to get in.

Seems reasonable, but it's also because HRC and DJT are pretty much the most hated presidential nominees ever. Most of their voters were really just voting against the other one. A less toxic president than either of those two would probably have better ratings in this strong economy.

Maybe people should stop looking to government for ideas, vision and inspiration?

Add to that mix wage stagnation and the increasingly common view — held by 91 percent in France — that today’s children will not have better lives than their parents.

That is strange but maybe if France moves a lot more toward socialism their fears will come true. Of course do they really believe that or are they just saying that as a complaint? People love to complain.

In response, people want something beyond more income redistribution (what the left is offering) or more globalization (what the pre-populist right used to offer). People want ideas and inspiration, and when no good new ideas are put forward,

What makes you think people want new ideas?

the current default seems to be nationalist ideas, including of the less tolerant variety.

Is that because of the strange way that people defend ethnic diversity? That we are all exactly the same except successful groups are more privileged, so we just need to spend more and make everyone the same is every way? Hardly a celebration of diversity. Black USAers have contributed immensely to USA greatness by inventing most forms of popular music and by adding grace, by being to step in an emergency and power to sports. Why is that seldom mentioned.

Also people seem to have abandoned the idea that freedom has value in itself. That is value above making us richer.

BTW if the market price of petroleum caused and equal rise in fuel prices would the people have protested as much?

If not it is a good reason to keep government/politics out of commerce as much as possible.

Black USAers have contributed immensely to USA greatness by inventing most forms of popular music and by adding grace, by being to step in an emergency and power to sports. Why is that seldom mentioned.

1. 'Adding grace'???

2. 'by being able to step in an emergency'?

3. Why is that seldom mentioned. Oh yeah, spectator sports and popular music get no attention at all.

I'm waiting for an analysis of the characteristics of the yellow shirt persons arrested in demonstrations.

I suspect it is right wing sympathizers.

Recent article in Der Spiegel on the financing of the right wing nationalist group (Afd): financed by a right wing guy in Switzerland who makes his money trading gold.

Really you have both, far right and left, in the yellow shirt movement, and among those arrested. This is what makes this movement new and interesting from an intellectual point of view.

>Does Macron have any new ideas

Yeah, because clearly it would be insane to simply stop imposing crushing taxes on the peasants. That solution is out of the question.

So how can he keep the crushing taxation, and even raise it some, without the idiot Normals raising a fuss? It sounds like he can't use the weather cult as an excuse any more. Who has some NEW ideas???

The French - or at least many of the - probably want two incompatible things. (i) A high-spending welfare state. (ii) But one that doesn't tax them much.

In which case they are probably like many Americans.

Probably the apparat in France is much more competent than is usual in American government. But even a competent apparat can't square circles.

There is symmetry between Macron and Trump: Macron is an investment banker with no government experience who campaigned on the theme of helping the working class, but once in office he has been perceived as the representative of the wealthy, cutting taxes paid by the wealthy while increasing taxes (here, the gasoline tax) paid by the working class. And there is symmetry between Cowen's reaction to Trump and Cowen's reaction to Macron: Cowen's blog posts about Trump voiced few complaints about his policies, even when Trump added $2 trillion to the national debt to pay for an enormous tax cut for the wealthy, while Cowen's blog posts about Macron voiced few complaints about Macron, even when Macron approved the regressive increase in the gas tax that triggered the riots. but now that Macon has reversed course and suspended the gas tax increase and substituted several progressive measures to help the working class, Cowen has come out swinging against not only Macron but other progressives and liberals who would dare support measures to help the working class rather than more measures to help the wealthy.

More symmetry ahead? Perhaps the fear here at this blog is that, like Macon, Trump, seeing the writing on the wall, will reverse course too, and propose measures designed to help the working class.

Macron has "no political experience" in the sense that a man with 5 years of previous top level political experience and 4 years as a civil servant does? He was a civil servant for as long as he was an investment banker and in politics for longer.

Neither did he campaign particularly as a representative of the working class.

Shoddy stuff ray, shoddy stuff. At least make it sound plausibly true to someone who doesn't know much about the person you're describing.

The Gilets Jaunes have made their demands pretty clear. Cowen seems to be saying that Macron should ignore, deflect, and co-opt them and find a way to con the people by marketing "ideas and inspiration" that more or less continue the status quo.

"The one intellectual group that really gets what is going on right now are the much-maligned libertarians"

Ahhh......the long awaited libertarian moment?

Pull the other one mate, it's got bells on.

I'd like to believe that Libertarian ideas are on the verge of broader popularity. Unfortunately, I see no evidence that this is likely.

If anything the reverse is true. People who feel themselves under threat cling ever more tightly to the idea of a government savior.

"In response, people want something beyond more income redistribution
(what the left is offering) or more globalization (what the pre-populist
right used to offer)."

This is just silly.

People do not want something beyond more globalization. Across the political spectrum, the constituency for globalization is rapidly dwindling.

On the left income redistribution remains broadly popular. People do not want something beyond more income redistribution. If anything, it would be more accurate to say that they want more income redistribution without the other elements of the current left wing package. Yes to income redistribution. No to immigration, environmental taxes, regulation, etc.

"If anything, it would be more accurate to say that they want more income redistribution without the other elements of the current left wing package. Yes to income redistribution. No to immigration, environmental taxes, regulation, etc."

This is very well said, and I believe, a quite accurate description of the yellow shirts movement in particular.

You claim that the Gilets Jaunes say "No to immigration". I challenge you to find one quotation by them declaring that. Of course since this is patently false, Joël enthusiastically approves of this fantasy.

Well, it appears that saying Macron fits this description perfectly - 'too analytical, lacks empathy, don’t have much to offer the public in the way of inspiration' - is beyond the pale here.

Along with pointing out that the French protesters are often protesting against a perceived pro-business leader whose tax policies favor the rich.

A few comments on the article. First of all, it is rather inaccurate to say that Mr Macron is part of "the left". He has been elected on a centrist platform and his prime minister is formerly from "Les Republicains", the moderate right wing party.
His personal relationship with Sarkozy, former right wing president is much better than with Hollande, former socialist (in a french context, social democrat) president. Hollande bashed him during the crisis while Sarkozy came in to give him some advice. And in general, right wing politicans are not bashing Macron as hard as the left wing ones have been doing.
Applying an American view of the right wing /left wing thing just does not make any sense here, and libertarians barely exist in Europe as a movement.
However, the libertarian ideology, widely promoted by large company ploutocrats, has been widely promoted (especially in Silicon Valley) as an ideological tool to represent the democratically elected states as the ultimate evil, largely to protect those large companies from state/unions interference, which allowed their top management and large shareholder to book incredible profits being destroying both market competition (no anti-trust enforced in the US for the last few decades) and labour side negociation power ( no one can stop be from shipping your job to China, and you can not compete with them) and increase market share on other industries through their genius, yes, but also through the competitive advantage of large scale tax avoidance.
Extreme poverty rates have been reaching incredible highs in the US, the UK and even Germany. Angus Deaton wrote about it recently and by all accounts, the problem is here to stay.
That explains populism everywhere in this interconnected world, and probably also the rise of China as an alternative to the Continental European and American models.

Libertarians are the modern ideologues. They would sell their souls if the price is right. Certainly, they have many good ideas on free markets but most have their heads in the clouds. They are too cozy in academe.

- one should never read comments, they just ruin the image you might have of the readers of a website.
- Now I realize that despite honorable editorial efforts by famous scholars, 99,99% of Americans don't understand France and the French, just as 99,9% of the French have no idea of what America really represents and how American feel about it. We all stick to stainless stell clichés. The good news is, since what we believe is absolutely irrelevant, we might as well stick to them and keep posting comments.

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