COVID-19: The Transformation of Emmanuel Macron

Something odd has happened to French President Emmanuel Macron since the Coronavirus hit France, writes Joe Lauria.

Macron: Outlawing opposition. (President of Russia)

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

For the first three years of his presidency, Emmanuel Macron of France has been the very symbol of austerity and neoliberalism: in every way the bankers’ president. 

Coming from an investment bankers’ background at Rothschild & Co., and fully backed by the money-men, Macron captured the presidency in May 2017. He set out to complete the move towards the Anglo-Saxon model that French leaders had tried to hinder until Nicolas Sarkozy took the reins in May 2007.  

Sarkozy commenced with undoing the French social contract, partially revoking the inheritance tax, reducing taxes on the rich, deregulating business and beginning the attack on the 35-hour work week.

Macron was supposed to finish the job. Until he suspended his free-market “reforms” last month in the midst of the Coronavirus crisis, he was ruthlessly taking on labor unions and pensioners in a relentless drive to further “modernize” France in favor of bankers and corporate boardrooms, sparking massive street protests.

But something strange has happened since the Coronavirus hit France. An apparent humanity buried deep inside the French president has suddenly emerged—and let the bankers be damned.

In an interview on Thursday with the Financial Times, Macron talked about economics as a “moral science” and said European debt should be mutualized, meaning northern Europeans should be on the hook for southern debt—or face the wrath of right-wing populists.

He said the European Union was not just a market but was really about human beings. In other words, he was calling for state intervention in the economy, going against everything he has heretofore believed. “We are all embarking on the unthinkable,” he said.

We are at a moment of truth, which is to decide whether the European Union is a political project or just a market project,” he said. “I think it’s a political project . . . We need financial transfers and solidarity, if only so that Europe holds on.”

An Existential Event

The French president said he sees the crisis as “an existential event for humanity that will change the nature of globalization and the structure of international capitalism,” the newspaper reported. “In recent years [globalization] increased inequalities in developed countries,” he admitted. “And it was clear that this kind of globalisation was reaching the end of its cycle, it was undermining democracy.”

Macron told the FT:

“We are going to nationalise the wages and the P&L [the financial accounts] of almost all our businesses. That’s what we’re doing. All our economies, including the most [economically] liberal are doing that. It’s against all the dogmas, but that’s the way it is.

“I believe [the EU] is a political project. If it’s a political project, the human factor is the priority and there are notions of solidarity that come into play . . . the economy follows on from that, and let’s not forget that economics is a moral science.”

When ruling circles are in crisis as they are now, state intervention, even socialism becomes acceptable to them. In the face of this crisis, governments around the world are nationalizing industries and paying the wages of laid-off workers. But when the rulers’ crises are over they tend to return to repressive measures against the working classes who are always in crisis.

Like Macron, Sarkozy also underwent a transformation of sorts during the 2008 financial crisis, declaring that “laissez-faire capitalism is over” and condemning the “dictatorship of the market.” Asked if he had suddenly become a socialist, Sarkozy said, “Have I become socialist? Perhaps.” After the collapse was over, Sarkozy returned to the politics of austerity.

The question remains: is Macron’s transformation genuine? The answer will come when France emerges from this crisis.

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston GlobeSunday Times of London and numerous other newspapers.  He can be reached at joelauria@consortiumnews.com and followed on Twitter @unjoe .

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39 comments for “COVID-19: The Transformation of Emmanuel Macron

  1. Mary
    April 20, 2020 at 16:28

    I am reminded of the situation in Portland when representatives of Occupy were called to meet with the police chief. He kept trying to tell them to tell their people to blah, blah, blah, and they kept trying to tell him that it does not work that way. The concept of listening was incomprehensible to the person at the top. U.S. people appear so clueless to the rest of the world, as that is how U.S. people are portrayed. Nonetheless, when it becomes a matter of survival, U.S. people figure out how to MacGyver up. It is happening again. Despite the incredible planning that has gone into this lock-up thingy, now conclusively outed as having been planned at least ten years ago, replete with keywords we are seeing now, push U.S. people beyond a certain line, and they will start using boomerangs to take drones out of the sky. And yes, I do indeed know that boomerangs were not used first in the U.S. People with all colors of necks, and even squids, can watch somebody do something and mimic what was done.

  2. April 20, 2020 at 11:29

    Thank you Joe Lauria for your piece and your critical view on the supposed “political and ideological transformation” of Macron, labelled by former minister and former wife of former president Holland, Segolene Royal “representative of globalized business”.
    If Macron became suddenly “socialist” and “collectivist”, why not Marxist Leninist, there is no surprise, because the domination of the ruling class in Europe and in the USA is nowadays threatening by unprecedented crisis of the COVID-19 with millions of jobless and the restrictive measures of stay-at-home and the lockdown, obliging millions of workers to do anything, hampering the exploitation of the workforce by the capital, which is the essential factor to generate profit and allowing the accumulation of capital.
    When there is no workforce, that is no workers to produce daily and at large scale the surplus value, which is the driving force of capitaliste system. And when there is no daily production of the surplus value,there is no reproduction of capital which is the condition sine quo and thanks to which capitalist and politicians rule the society and dominate the working class.
    That is why, like in 2008 and today with the coronavirus, in order to “get back to normalcy” the subservient governments working essentially for capitalist interests, intervene in the economy and became suddenly and by some miracle “socialist” and “collectivist”, but such sudden about-turn does not fool us, because that is in fact socialism and collectivism for the rich and democracy inequality and pauperism for the rest.

  3. de But
    April 20, 2020 at 10:21

    Mr macron is cynical and cannot be believed. He is doing exactly the contrary of what he is preaching !
    In fact, he should have been a cleric : to those people, nobody can check the success of their predications !

    • April 20, 2020 at 20:53

      To support your comment, you should know he was raised in jesuit school in Amiens (where I was also born … )

  4. Drew Hunkins
    April 19, 2020 at 15:58

    It’s important to remember that Macron would not be advocating for a more socialist economic arrangement at this time if not for the massive rallies and public pressures that the French people have brought to bear against the establishment.

    Unfortunately here in the U.S. we have a relatively somnolent population that during the biggest econ crisis since the Great Depression we can’t get the elites in Washington to even consider moving forward on Med4All, UBI or a debt jubilee. All three measures that are desperately needed now more than ever.

  5. François H
    April 19, 2020 at 14:55

    Writing from France here, and realising once again that even though the internet has reduced distances, it is so hard to have a detailed view of what’s happening in a country you don’t live in, even if you follow its news daily. This is not a criticism of this superb site and the great work Joe Lauria has always produced.

    Three things to know about this apparent 180°
    – The Macron regime has instituted doublespeak as its official communication language since it was voted into office. They have proved again and again they are prepared to say absolutely anything to advance their agenda.
    (as to the why of another comment : in a very simplified version, no fraud but massive propagandising from the entirety of the mainstream media on the theme of “it’s him or the Nazis”; plus the French presidential election rules => Macron only managed to convince 12-13% of the electorate in the 1st round, but that was enough to go to the 2nd round against Marine Le Pen, the aforementioned “Nazi”).

    – The Macron regime is in deep deep trouble over its handling of the pandemic. Many many complaints have already been filed in the courts against all the members of this government in charge of the coronavirus response (the president has a judicial immunity in France for all acts done during his presidency).
    These complaints range from “involuntary homicide” and “lack of assistance to persons in danger” (a felony in France) to “sabotage” (for the lack of masks and tests) and a host of other felonies and crimes related to their response. The judicial is not really independent here, but the mass of cases is going to be overwhelming once the courts reopen. Even if only 1% of complaints are processed, they will start to feel the heat.

    – The number of gifts being prepared for the corporations and the security/surveillance sector is going to dwarf what any other sector will receive (health and social services, small businesses, unemployed…). The first hints that have been leaked are flabbergastingly surreal, we’re talking tens and hundreds of billions of euros on one side, barely one or two billion for the rest. This is the time to start very heavily b**s**ting everybody before the general public starts realising what’s in the works.

    I’m sure other reasons can be found for this “””new departure”””, but in France absolutely nobody is fooled.
    Thanks again for all your work.

    • Consortiumnews.com
      April 20, 2020 at 00:21

      If you read the piece carefully you will see that it says ruling circles tend to return to austerity after a crisis is over, and that in fact that is exactly what Sarkozy did after the 2008 financial crash, despite his rhetoric. The clear implication the piece makes is that Macron will also reverse himself back to his earlier positions once this crisis is over. But there is another motive for Macron to have changed his stance: electoral politics. He makes clear in the FT interview that he fears the nationalist right, including Le Pen, will be strengthened if neoliberal policies aren’t adjusted. The motive of surviving electorally is any politicians primary goal, even if it goes against the wishes of his backers.–Joe Lauria.

  6. mark stanley
    April 19, 2020 at 13:04

    Liked the video. The smashing-of-windows technique seems to be a standard procedure accompanying protests worldwide. 10? years ago peace protesters in Seattle were preceded my thugs running through smashing and fleeing. I got that second hand from a friend living downtown on the second floor who observed it, and came to the conclusion: They were obviously hired, but by whom?
    It would be interesting for a reporter to track the phenomenon from protest to protest.
    In Seattle that day, (as they are now in France) the protesters were, of course deemed violent by mainstream media.

  7. Voice from Europe
    April 19, 2020 at 12:43

    Macron is realising that France is part of the weak, southern European countries. His policies have hit a roadblock in the form of gilets jaunes, massive strikes and protests in all sectors, poor results on the municipal first round elections and blunder upon blunders concerning the covid-19 crisis.
    So his survival tactic switched to begging for maximum solidarity between the rich northern European countries and broke southern European countries.
    I don’t think his government and presidency will survive till the end of the year.
    I can for a fact prove his prime minister E.Philippe deliberately lied to the people on 2 April on national tv.
    Joe, if interested contact me ? And don’t trust O.Berruyer of les-crises anymore….

    • Consortiumnews.com
      April 20, 2020 at 00:23

      Why should one not trust Olivier Berruyer of les-crises?

    • James Whitney
      April 20, 2020 at 09:28

      “And don’t trust O.Berruyer of les-crises anymore….”

      I am a regular reader of Les Crises, and make comments on its articles from time to time, generally well received. The best thing about this site is the comments on it’s generally well chosen articles. Many of the commenters are regulars, they seem to spend hours each day, and they often make very useful observations. I have learned many things from these comments.

      I do agree that Olivier Berruyer occasionally seems to be stuck in some strange views.

      Regarding Joe Lauria’s comment “He makes clear in the FT interview that he fears the nationalist right, including Le Pen, will be strengthened if neoliberal policies aren’t adjusted.” :

      Macron often implies that he is the only one who is capable of defending against Le Pen and her group. But the opposition he really fears is La France insoumise, very active both in the Assemblé nationale with the excellent alternatives that it constantly suggests, and also locally all over France. I think this movement will become better known outside of France in the coming period of time. Of course La France insoumise is totally opposed to Le Pen’s group.

    • Voice from Europe
      April 21, 2020 at 02:57

      By the way….my advice for Macron would be to listen more and better to Brigitte. His testosterone pumped up ego surrounded by yes saying cabinet and counsellors and assemblée and some European groupies in Brussels will lead to his demise and he will take the EU down with him.
      These are serious times for democracy and freedom in Europe.

  8. Babyl-on
    April 19, 2020 at 12:17

    Macron speaks for the Rothschilds and their elite friends. Macron has been a Rothschild apparatchik for his entire carrier. What he believes and what he does is what the Rothschild demand.

    Of course the Rothschild name carries a lot of baggage and I am using it for that reason. Of course there were than, as now, other bankers and financiers who were on the scene.

    The historical record is clear about France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and ALL the core democracies were empires before during and well after their “democratic revolutions” in fact all of these countries still have colonial holdings.

    The record is clear, elite financiers like the Rothschild family loaned money to and helped financially both sides of just about every conflict in Europe or the Americas, they have always felt that the winner was for them irrelevant.

    Sure, there may be some interim “socialism” and then, as you say, back to brutal imperial domination.

    But you can be sure that anything Macron says is approved by the Rothschild dynasty. You don’t get that high in the Rothschild organization without demonstrating every day your loyalty to them.

    Remember in all this there are no good guys and no bad guys there are only winners and losers. Morality does not ever come into play.

    What I say about all this is – no ashes – no Phoenix.

  9. mark stanley
    April 19, 2020 at 11:42

    Joe. A side note: Perhaps you or others can clarify. In the third paragraph you mentioned the inheritance tax seemingly as a positive? I am confused, because any inheritance tax from any government applied to a citizen is outright theft in my book. As an Oenologist, I am aware of how difficult it is for wine estate owners in France when Papa dies. Most estates are family owned, and many are forced to sell because they cannot pay the tax. Often then big money and foreign interests purchase the estates as investments.
    I watched a really good movie in French recently about a trio of young inheritors in Bourgogne/Burgundy struggling with this (cannot recall the title sorry).
    This is a personal issue for me in the US, as I’ve worked really hard for my little 5 acre fully-owned paradise in the country, and I want my son to get it. Government has no morale right to my property.

    • druid
      April 20, 2020 at 13:32

      There should be a high number as limit. For example, the Gates’, Bezos’., etc. and they should not be allowed to shelter.

  10. JB
    April 19, 2020 at 10:17

    I find this piece informative and interesting in its serious consideration of the possibility of a Macron change, or turn-about. Apart from words, where are the relevant actions that may indicate a change at all. And besides, Macron can not change anything by himself, there has to be agreement among the ruling class that he stands for. As the representative of the rich class he has been unresponsive, to put it kindly, to the requests of the Yellow Vests. I see in the more progressive media an open hope and desire that the pandemic will give birth to a better system than casino capitalism, a better society and a better world. I am also for an end to capitalism, the freedom of all peoples to chose a better economic and socio-political system, a cooperative world where all of us together manage the planet’s resources fairly, with full respect of the interests of those on whose soil they happen to be. A world in which we use our accumulated knowledge and technical capabilities to care for our beautiful planet, for each living being and every single human that is born and lives. But, I am afraid that the desire for change “after Corona” is just wishful thinking. The forces for progressive change are weak and disconnected, the ruling class is strong and protected by a massive apparatus of lethal force, ever increasing secrecy and ever expanding surveillance of everyone and everything fortified by all pervasive lies and corporate media propaganda that has paralysed the basic function of the human brain of millions. And the people, habitually referred to insultingly as the “ordinary” man (because the ruling class are extraordinary!) are poor, trained for and channeled in huge numbers to menial, meaningless, low paid jobs, if educated at all, afraid, confused, manipulated, or satisfied and grateful to God for what they have, and unprepared to support any change. No one has, for example, said or written, even in this pandemic, that the day after, the first order of things is for doctors, teachers and scientists to best paid because they perform the most important and most valuable social functions that there are. On the contrary, the slogan is – we’re all in this together. No we are not. It’s the rich and the rest, as always. They can isolate in their mansions, buy protective gear, buy health care, they don’t have to go to the hospital, the hospital will come to them, they won’t lose their job, maybe just a few million of their immeasurable on-paper fortunes, no one will kick them out of their many homes, nor “help” them with offering more debt, i.e.debt bondage. So what change (?), when even something so blatantly obvious is not picked apart under the guise – we are fighting the invisible enemy together. The progressive change, I fear is just a dream, but a turn for the even worse is more than likely.

    • druid
      April 20, 2020 at 13:33

      capitalism that is highly regulated. For example, Glass-Stiegel and MORE!

  11. Norah
    April 18, 2020 at 18:42

    The thing that struck me with Macron from day one onwards was that he has always seemed to be totally out-of-touch with the reality of the situation on the ground. It’s bad enough that he was a Rothschild bankster for 12 years, which I suppose is his qualification for being out of touch. Why did they vote him in ? Could that election have been fraudulent ? Les gilets jaunes were on the streets pretty damn quick after his election and I don’t think they would have voted for LePen, his main rival. One thing is for certain, this guy who married his school-teacher has not a clue how to handle the French working class. As others have said, a hyena or a leopard cannot change his spots, once a globalist place-man always a globalist place-man, like so many before him, Sarkozy, Cameron,the Traitor Blair, the list is endless.

  12. April 18, 2020 at 18:12

    If Macron wants to do something of true value, he should offer Julian Assange a safe place to stay. That would make a difference. A real difference in the world today.

    Otherwise, it is all just more Kabuki theater and substanceless elitist hypocritical hyperbole.

    I await the time when Julian Assange is freed from Belmarsh and the travesty of justice it all has been. If anyone should be hung up it is the heartless magistrate.

    I’m all for anybody being re-born, but I’m dubious.

    • April 19, 2020 at 06:12

      Julian Assange?

      I’ve seen this suggestion for France before, but it just makes no sense .

      How would Assange get out of the captivity trap he is caught in?

      There is no way.

      And, even if he were free, as on bail, a country like France that took him in would earn the American government’s eternal hatred.

      As we know from trump’s illegal sanctions machinery, there are a lot of ways for America to hurt someone badly.

    • Sam F
      April 19, 2020 at 20:23

      I’ll suggest that some other nation demand extradition of Mr. Assange from UK and then free him.
      No doubt other nations are annoyed by Wikileaks revelations, or could whomp up some charges.
      That might be based upon deception, or just maneuvering with pressure on UK and a good excuse.
      Some nation gets UK in a small military trap or official embarrassment, or offers a prisoner swap.
      Or UK could realize that it is reviled in the US for serving US secret agencies that deceive the people.
      Or the PM or Queen might change course, perhaps if Mr. Assange tested positive for the virus.
      At least to the extent of agreeing to a secret deal to extradite him to some nation with secret leverage.

      Other factors that might change the picture:
      Trump seeks liberal favor for election, or is annoyed by DOJ et al, and ends any extradition demands.
      Ecuador or Australia sees political turmoil worsened by the epidemic, and demands Mr. Assange back.

  13. JOHN CHUCKMAN
    April 18, 2020 at 15:53

    I agree with the author’s sense of the superficial drift of things, but I also agree with the first comment, and we have the example of Sarkozy.

    Macron perhaps has some talent as a political chameleon.

    But his efforts during the les gilets jaunes were absolutely ruthless with many seriously hurt and a good number killed. Worthy of a bloody little despot.

    I don’t think someone who can carry on like that has suddenly found humanity in a flash of light.

    And there’s all his other ugly stuff, from troops in Africa to help against Syria and support for the cutthroats running Saudi Arabia and Israel.

    He’s playing to the crowd for the time being.

  14. Mark Edward Hendricks
    April 18, 2020 at 14:57

    Of course, it’s easy enough for Macron to appear saintly now that the yellow shirts are off the streets. Ultimately, the actual wealth transfer resulting from this corporate-media-driven hysteria will certainly be more of it concentrated in the hands of the corporate overlords.

    • rosemerry
      April 20, 2020 at 17:15

      Macron has already been in talks with Black Rock about privatising pensions- could not go much morally lower than that.

      It is interesting that the FT has such articles, and also one from Arundhati Roy, very outspoken about India’s economic situation, COVID-19 and Modi.

  15. Mark Thomason
    April 18, 2020 at 14:40

    The American press has always tried to deny that Macron is just Sarkozy-continued, even maginfied.

    It also denies that Banker Biden is as much the bankers’ man as Macron was.

    Will we see Biden change (at age 77?) because of coronavirus?

    Will our press ever mention the truth of banker-rule?

    • Norah
      April 19, 2020 at 04:21

      No, our MSM will never ever mention banker-rule because our press is controlled / owned by our banksters. The Press, the TV etc is not there to inform, it is there to mis-inform. Biden is just another clone of Merkel, Guaido, Cameron, Sarkozy, Trudeau, Rajoy (Spain), Stoltenberg (Norway), Lofven (Sweden ), and all the rest who are the representatives of the ” International Bankers ” and their class. It will never change.

  16. April 18, 2020 at 14:14

    Good post. I certainly love this site. Stick with it!

  17. Dennis Rice
    April 18, 2020 at 13:14

    “As a person who lives in France and has the same citizenship as Macron (and Trump too), I am very sceptic about any important change in Macron’s views.”

    Being American, I can not speak about France, except to say that Americans too, are protesting, with some success, but not yet enough, against working longer years, for better health care (which now seems a possibility), better public education (the back bone of America), and are damned sick and tired of the DNC, the RNC, and corporate heads, politicians willing to kiss the ass of Wall Street in order to get, or remain, elected.

    As yet, we have seen no high up politicians with COVID19, but if we do, we can bet there will be a new politician promoting health care for all.

    The article does not mention global warming, but if it gets too warm for the poor man, it will be too warm for the rich and powerful man too. The rich man and the powerful ought to think about that, because his time to change that is limited for all of us and himself and his family.

  18. April 18, 2020 at 12:52

    I have spent a good part of my career (three books) warning about the dangers of unfettered globalization, neo-liberalism, and the so-called free market yet controlled by a few big players. As Polanyi remarked long ago, a world market without a global institution controlling it will bring disasters. It was also obvious that the whole programme of neo-liberalism was designed to transfer wealth from the bottom to the top; outsourcing would have re-industrialized China; income distribution would worsen; and the state will be buried under a repayable debt load. These were motivated by the conviction that that the purpose of economics was human welfare rather than capital accumulation for the few, but unfortunately these warnings were simply brushed aside. Let us hope that after covid-19, some sane voices will be raised to demand that economics be reformed.

  19. Slavic Christian Society
    April 18, 2020 at 11:59

    GOD BLESS AMERICA

    God bless America, land that I love
    Stand beside her and guide her
    Through the night with the light from above
    ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????
    Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One,
    have mercy on us and on the whole world.
    Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One,
    have mercy on us and on the whole world.
    Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One,
    have mercy on us and on the whole world.

    • Voice from Europe
      April 21, 2020 at 05:19

      Sorry to say it but from Jupiter to God is not real progress.

  20. michael
    April 18, 2020 at 10:42

    Macron pretense may keep him from being hung from a lamp-post or guillotined during the crisis, but he is a Neoliberal austerity addict through and through. Don’t remember him helping Italy when they needed help the most (China came through for Italy).
    France’s COVID-19 cases seem mostly nursing home cases lately, and northern Europe seems to think theses cases shouldn’t be counted (of course these are the main vulnerable people in all countries). 147,000 official “confirmed (by PCR)” cases, 18,681 deaths (an abysmal 12.7% “Official” fatality rate). Of course since testing is confined to sick patients, the REAL fatality rate is much lower.
    When only sick and hospitalized patients are tested for flu in the US, the fatality rate for flu is about 8%, about 80-fold higher than the expected rate.
    In Singapore, where there is much more (PCR) testing of exposed as well as sick, the number of cases is now 5992 with 11 deaths (“official” fatality rate of 0.18%; reasonable with early, good care and including non-hospitalized patients). The vast majority of cases are Bangladeshi and Indian foreign workers living in close quarter dormitories. Over 1% have tested positive by PCR, many asymptomatic. It’s unlikely that the number previously infected as determined by antigen/ antibody testing would be 50-fold higher as in the recent Santa Clara County, California study, but a 5- to 10- fold increase would not be surprising in this foreign worker population. That would mean the REAL fatality rate is 0.02- 0.04% for COVID-19 (the NY Times claims seasonal flu’s fatality rate is 0.1%, two to five times as high.) Of course this is a population of healthy young men; only risk factors are smoking, and hypertension in isolated cases, receiving excellent care (unlike the US where care and testing is subpar and delayed). This will be a great population (over 300,000 foreign workers living in dormitories) to test for herd immunity, due to close quarters and high incidence of PCR positive results (>1%). It is critical that the West starting learning the lessons China and Singapore and other Asian countries have already learned.

  21. April 18, 2020 at 10:25

    Just imagine what a government who has THE PEOPLE as its only policy could do in this god forsaken world…

  22. pasha
    April 18, 2020 at 10:04

    He’s a politician, of course it’s not permanent! He just does and says what he needs to in the moment, to keep his job and the rioters under control. When the panic fades, the same old neolib-neocon will emerge and things will proceed as before.
    How can you tell when a politician’s lying? You can see his lips move.
    (Corbyn isn’t a politician. He’s a socialist and a humanitarian.)

  23. Sam F
    April 18, 2020 at 09:06

    Globalization has led to “increased inequalities” and corrupt, unstable economies in developed countries, emphasizing scams (marketing, propaganda, bribes, graft), extortion (MIC, medical services), and luxury production that collapses in self-made crises. They have ever less of value to the rest of the world to trade for offshore production.

    Globalization of production requires globalization of consumption and benefits to balance progress and benefits across borders, which balances production costs and prices. The West could implement import taxes to balance prices and fund producer nations’ health care etc. until prices balance due to increased consumption there. That would require a democracy.

    But unregulated competitive markets have also destroyed democracy in several ways. Allowing gold to control mass media and elections has allowed those who rise in the unregulated market economy by lying, cheating, and stealing, to control the tools and institutions of democracy. They do not have a concept of progress for humanity and do not care about domestic or foreign populations at all. So unbalanced offshoring suits them just fine.

  24. James Whitney
    April 18, 2020 at 08:40

    As a person who lives in France and has the same citizenship as Macron (and Trump too), I am very sceptic about any important change in Macron’s views.

    There is a factory Luxfer in the town of Gerzat in Auvernge which makes top quality oxygen bottles necessary for urgent medical care, the best quality anywhere. Its foreign owners shut it down, because it wasn’t making enough profits for good dividents. The several hundred expert workers want to resume production of these critically important bottles. Macron’s government has refused to requisition (nationalize) this enterprise. What does that mean?

    Same story at St.-Genis-Laval near Lyon, where the factory Famar which produced Nivaquine, a medical compnent of drugs used in the fight aganinst Covid-19 has been pruduced until its owner, the investment fund KKR abandoned production. The factory is now doing nothing while the jucidial authorities decide it’s future, apparently looking for a new owner. Of course Macron could requisition (nationalize) it and resume production immediately.

    Ditto for the pruduction of masks: there are companies that make excellent masks that have been abandoned, while there is no sign that Macron’s government is interested in requisitioning them to produce badly needed masks. There is a monstrous shortage of masks,

    This hurts very badly: essential health workers don’t have nearly enough, and the general public (including me and my family) none.

    • Deniz
      April 18, 2020 at 12:01

      A leopard can’t change its spots.

    • Madeline Cruz
      April 18, 2020 at 15:52

      I was getting a bit excited as I read the article but then you gave me a wake up call with this information that you provided. That’s why it’s so important that we don’t automatically support soothing without knowing all the facts. His words sound good but what matters is not what he says but what he is doing. Lucky for you that as bad as Macron is you don’t have to be here USA dealing with Trump’s nonsense and stupidity. Let’s know that maybe Macron does have a heart somewhere in there and will do the right thing. Stay safe as we all deal with this pandemic.

    • michael cmillian
      April 20, 2020 at 07:31

      Macron will not change; this is just a blip in the transfer of wealth from the bottom 80% to the top 1%. I am surprised that Macron has such authority during a pandemic.

      In the US we have petit dictators (Governors) from each state that control the Public Health and decisions of “their” states, a competing uncooperative (with a few exceptions) infrastructure that ensures a Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV; also individual by states) bureaucracy where it amazing everyone doesn’t die under the (mostly) mini Mussolinis in charge. Trump the Idiot of course politicizes and antagonizes the Governors, but his role, and that of the CDC and woefully inadequate Fauci (surely the NIAID had some true respiratory/pulmonary virology experts who could have taken on the 79 year old’s job?) is only advisory. Unlike Macron he cannot directly restart the economy, only make recommendations.

      And of course the media refuses to bring real experts in for their views (Dr. Jay Bhattacharya is both a clinician and economist and has done the best work I’ve seen so far in the US, to understand the virus– a long way to go.) Instead they pump up incompetent politicians (Andrew Cuomo, for example who has done a horrendous job, but might replace Biden as nominee?) and ignore the approaches of most governors who, with their Public Health people, have done a great job, California and Washington State in particular. The approaches and the policies need be debated, not acrimoniously nor politically, but as to how we can both protect the most vulnerable (not just from COVID-19!) and get the economy going again.

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