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France's Soupcon Of Economic Austerity - Or Is It A Wall Of Poverty?

Politics / France Jan 17, 2013 - 04:18 PM GMT

By: Andrew_McKillop


France's present and coming economic disaster is relatively well hidden, at least to outsiders who look in the wrong places and read the French official statistics - which are as lively, imaginative and "true to facts" as anyplace else. Above all, France seems for a short while longer to have wriggled out and away from the savage austerity cures which have already steamrolled, and go on crushing the economy and society of Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland and other European countries.

For the country whose haute cuisine is world renowned, few persons ask exactly why the French did not also invent birdnest soup, but do eat snails, slug extract, worms, frogs, field mice, seaweed, nettles, dandelions, bats, swallows, robins, gudgeons, perch, tadpoles and an impressive long list of other not-too-expensive things. Just add the oil and garlic, and above all serve up this stuff to hungry persons who don't have the cash to buy real food. That was how cordon bleu cuisine started, and it had a strong political and economic connection.

France was heavily overpopulated by 1789; the final tax hit applied by landowners, the clergy and royalty was one tax too far. The people starved, then rose up and smashed the "liberal" edifice. In the Paris region, in the first 6 months following the fall of the Bastille, historians estimate about 25 000 persons including King Louis and his comfort lady Marie Antoinette, a benefactor of the so-called liberal economist Francois Quesnay were guillotined in public. The former rich and powerful, the greedy and the pleased with what greed can deliver, were guillotined, day-in and day-out. As for any public killing, the daily shows drew the public in droves.

Today's French story of mass poverty has the same, most basic possible indicator - How many persons can't afford to eat?

In 2012 Les Restaurants du Coeur, a network of emergency food cantines set up by French comedian and social activist Coluche in 1985 - he thought for 1 year only - served their one billionth meal to French poor. Les Restos du Coeur are now a basic institution in a constantly impoverishing country where food shortage is a daily fact of life, even if the Porsche Cayenne's swish by the soup kitchens with their smoked glass windows tight shut. Depending for about 50% of their food supplies and financing from public gifts and subscriptions, and also on the European Union's official food aid program - for Europe - Les Restos are such a basic part of New France that the country's present "socialist" government counts on this prop to the "liberal" edifice. Food for the poor helps the guaranteed-failure policies of the "socialist" leaders to scrape along and scrape by one more hour, one more day, while their friends the banksters, brokers and traders play their billion euro gambles on the French Bourse's roulette wheels and one armed bandits - using handouts from the public purse. Any day the Bourse is up, the economy is up: any French state owned TV and radio station will tell you that!

To be sure, the "liberal minded" European Commission has threatened to cut, or even abandon its internal European food aid program (called the PEAD) because hard-line "free market liberals" in the European parliament say that free or very cheap food, for the very poor, is a 'disincentive to find work'. Marie Antoinette, who said the Mob only needs "bread and circuses" would have approved at least until her head was sliced off in public, to the Mob's cheers!

Late 2012 playacting and wrangling in the European parliament was polarized on the subject of 2014-2020 funding of the PEAD, with a possible cut from 500 million euros, to 360 million euros per year.

In the first 3 months of 2012, European governments and the ECB handed out an estimated 260 billion euros to the banksters who had burned their greedy fingers on the casino finance system's roulette wheels. Public debate on the subject of billion-euro-handouts for the Ponzi finance fraudsters was almost zero: it went through with a liberal nod behind closed doors. That's 'liberal democracy' !

Reducing the PEAD budget will of course not address the needs of the most deprived, which for the Member States including France which have the most serious food poverty, are estimated to need  at least 675 million euros per year. This is basically due to Europe's totally massive unemployment and ever rising poverty. As of January 2013, using official European figures, at least 29 million adult persons are unemployed - and these numbers will increase. Europe's jobless millions ranks them the 7th-largest "country" in the 27-nation bloc, almost double the population of 8th-biggest Holland. Why these unemployed should increasingly need food aid is no surprise - at least to human beings, if not the corrupt elite of banksters, brokers, fraudsters, traders and their "liberal economist" intellectuals who fill the government-owned and system-friendly media with their hogwash and mindwarp.

One thing is certain and sure: the unemployed and the short of food do not buy cars, let alone houses. Europe's car industry is, month by month, sinking into a one-way black hole of decline, with the French car industry playing a major leading role in this decline and loss of employment. For year 2012, car sales in France fell by 14% on 2011, although this was impressively outdistanced by the crash of sales in Italy (20%). For the biggest victim countries of "liberal austerity" and mass unemployment, Portugal, Spain and Greece, the collapse of annual car sales since 2010 has reached anywhere up to 65%.

In the few months since Francois Hollande beat or "deposed" Nicolas Sarkozy - who is now mired in multiple criminal proceedings for fraud, bribery, corruption, false accounting, interference in the judiciary, tax evasion, ballot rigging, possible contract killings (and you name it) - French "socialists" have achieved a miracle. They are now even more hated than the "Sarko Gang" which needed 5 long years to get hated that much. Popularity ratings for Hollande place him as the most unliked president since the 5th Republic was founded on 13 May 1958. The PS or Parti Socialiste, which was run by Hollande for more than decade and counted the Great Man Dominque Strauss Kahn as its "leading thinker", at least when DSK was operating in a vertical position, was by its own admission "not ready for power". It was not prepared and organized to as rapidly ruin the economy, as the Sarko Gang. But it really tries! Its chief party spokeswoman puts it in classic newspeak: the party was unable to understand the depth and intensity of the economic and social crisis it found, when it gained power.

This of course means, staying with French PS newspeak, that austerity is the only solution - but will not be called austerity and will very selectively target lower icome persons, the 60% of the population designated "not middle class". The Born Losers that is.

Unemployment, as the PS officially says "must continue rising until 2014". Taxes of all kinds - from VAT and sales taxes on food, energy and clothing, to income and company taxes - must rise. Spending of almost all kinds on almost all things that could or might benefit the 60% Born Losers will decrease, excluding handouts for the palliest-chummiest, PS-friendly favourites, especially all major French banks and Carlos Ghosn of Renault and his pet projects, but not the 8 000 Renault workers he is dumping in the next 3 years. The story rolls on, but is exactly what we can expect from a kleptocratic and dysfunctional so-called government applying "liberal economic" Ponzi financing for a hollowed out, degutted economy: dead on the slab like an oven ready frog!

Austerity and poverty are not the same thing, as European history since 1945 has shown. The austerity applied in postwar non-Communist western Europe was above all egalitarian and social-minded. That was a long way back in time and today's Mutant Austerity is in fact increased mass poverty and increased social injustice - an incitement to street riot and rebellion. France is extremely well-placed to be the first major country to "crash" into social conflict because its founding 1st Republic, following the 1789 revolution, was in major part triggered by "liberal economic" notions and one-liners based on the rich getting richer while the poor not only had babies but got kicked in the butt.

The liberal-bourgeous Parti Socialiste of France is as incompetent and corrupt as any other "liberal democratic" party or power system in Europe - but is also mired in its own thick smoke and mirrors internal policy "socialist" playacting, and can only do worse than other "liberal democratic" criminals and their crony capitalist partners in Europe. Like any other degenerate ruling political party infected by late-18th century pre-revolutionary liberal economic ideology - called "laisser aller, laisser faire" - the final result is always the same, always sure and certain: only the timelines are unsure.

By Andrew McKillop


Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights

Co-author 'The Doomsday Machine', Palgrave Macmillan USA, 2012

Andrew McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.

© 2013 Copyright Andrew McKillop - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisor.

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