Sunday, July 11, 2010

Woes of the French Government

Here's the best English-language potboiler version of the scandal plaguing the Sarkozy presidency in France.  An equally important story are the ongoing existence of actual independent journalism - in this case, the web-based paper Mediapart - amidst the profession's clientalist servility to the powerful ones who grant it access (witness the anger of the Washington press core at the revelations of Gen. McCrystal's contempt for the civilian government that came from a relative outsider working for the Rolling Stone).

The other big story is of course the extent to which the Sarkozy government works mainly for the rich and connected.  Huge majorities are already upset enough by the absence of real economic accomplishments among contemporary governments -- Sarkozy's approval ratings have been below 50% for a year or two. They are even more infuriated by the prospect of the minister of finance, whose wife handles financial matters for Mme. Bettancourt, working to help the richest woman in France with a fortune of $17-20 billion reduce her tax burden. 

Governments look increasingly like court servants of the each country's elite, in a throwback to the medieval period. The passivity of the middle-classes in effect supports the forces that jeapordize these classes's survival.

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