“The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections. To break off that point is to avert the danger. The common system of representation perpetuates the danger. Unequal electorates afford no security to majorities. Equal electorates give none to minorities.” - Lord Acton
The recent French elections’ results are the confirmation that the underlying forces that are sweeping through Europe are still at work: rejection of the elites, a retreat into national frontiers, and the power of non-sense.
We can expect Mr Macron’s victory, although it is clear that the polarization of the debate and the widely differing political programs of the top 4 candidates have created bitter losers that cannot recognize themselves in the choice offered. Mr Macron generated so much resentment that many may chose not to vote for any of the candidates, potentially offering a (narrow) victory to Mrs Le Pen.
Mr Macron is perceived as a con-man, a fake socialist and a hidden neo-liberal. Mrs Le Pen is an ultra-nationalist with a leftist economic proposition. In any case, it seems that most French people won’t enjoy the next 5 years.
There has been a lot of talks about the demographics and ‘class’ of voters from both sides: it shows that winners and losers of the globalization are opposing themselves in a political fight that is far from over. The obvious observation is that neither candidate offers adequate answers to the issues: by retreating into its borders, France will further decrease its international position when it should instead find a way to align its strategic interests with neighboring countries, starting with Germany (who benefits from French overseas’ military operations as well as its economic weakness).
On the other hand, further economic reform and integration in the global economy through the weakening of national rights and subjecting one’s country to multinationals pressures is clearly not going to change France for the better. There are a lot of things to reform in France but Mr Macron’s stance on CETA indicates that he either doesn’t understand or care about basic economics and the impact on people’s lives.
On the other hand, the current geopolitical environment is uncertain and technological disruptions are impacting ‘normal’ people’s lives ever more. It is understandable that these people seek some stability with a candidate that seems to understand their fears. 15 years ago, Mr Le Pen was qualified for the second round of the presidential election. People were outraged and some 500,000 people showed up in Paris to demonstrate against him. This time, Mrs Le Pen isn’t expected to face the same amount of opposition, though like Brexit and Trump, the internet and the media are currently flooded with political points of views against her.
Even if economic growth seems to be picking up in Europe, it will be too late to hold the tide of resentment against the current political arrangements. It seems that the continent is slowly but inexorably moving toward a catastrophe. It seems that the bittersweet smell of the 1930’s is gradually chasing the unbridled hopes of the early 2000’s.
Second-Order Consequences of Self-Driving Vehicles – “However, it’s also useful, and perhaps more challenging, to think about second and third order consequences. Moving to electric means much more than replacing the gas tank with a battery, and moving to autonomy means much more than ending accidents.”
Is the Silicon Valley Dynasty Coming to an End? – “Silicon Valley is, in its own right, a dynasty. Instead of warriors or military heroes, it has nerds and people in half-zip sweaters. But it is becoming increasingly likely that the Valley might go down in history not only for its wealth, but also for creating more tone deaf people than any other ecosystem in the history of the world.“
The evidence is piling up — Silicon Valley is being destroyed – “This moment of stagnating innovation and productivity is happening because Silicon Valley has turned its back on its most important political friend: antitrust. Instead, it’s embraced what it should understand as the enemy of innovation: monopoly.”
Mexico’s Economy Is Being Plundered Dry – “In recent years, Mexico’s public debt has mushroomed in order to make up for lackluster growth, a weakening peso, much lower global oil prices, and the dwindling contribution to government coffers of the country’s erstwhile sugar daddy, Pemex. The state-owned oil giant has itself been systematically plundered dry by its burgeoning ranks of senior managers and administrators, the untouchable, unsackable leaders of the oil workers’ union, all closely aligned to PRI, and legions of Pemex contractors.“
Picture of the week: Animal expressions
About Carlito Riego
"Great perfection may appear imperfect, but its usefulness is inexhaustible. Great abundance may appear empty, but its usefulness cannot be exhausted. Great correctness may appear twisted, great skills appear crude, great eloquence appear awkward. Activity conquers cold; inactivity conquers heat. Clear serenity governs the world." - Lao Zi