France

What can we do to change the minds of decision makers and people in general to actually do something about preparing for the forthcoming economic/energy crises (the ones after this one!)?

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clv101
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France

Post by clv101 »

This post makes a lot of sense:
I don't say much about living here in France, not least because Britain is doing so badly right now. Suffice to say that over here there are no queues, no shortages, no obvious problems and no obvious stress. The Covid situation seems relaxed here with few restrictions, and the hospitals aren't under pressure.

Gas prices went up 12% but are now capped for the winter. It is not allowed in France to turn off supplies of gas or electric, or to evict tenants, in the winter. In short, nothing much to report!

But President Macron has always talked about resilience in France, and so this announcement of a new €30 billion of investment in future key technologies and localised manufacturing of critical products, on top of the €100 billion EU investment in Green technologies and transitioning to a low carbon economy (from what is already a low carbon economy to most people!) all boost France's future economy and it's resilience.
This approach isn't new. France has 80 days worth of gas storage, for example, compared to Britain's 5 days. France produces all it's own electricity; 70% nuclear, 15% hydro, and 8% wind and solar, and sells a surplus to Britain and Germany.

France produces a net surplus of food in almost every category, and exports or trades the surplus, helped by the fact that it has 2.5 times as much land as Britain per head of population.

With 30% forest and much of it under management, it produces most of it's own timber for construction, manufacturing and fuel.
It spends almost double what Britain spends on it's healthcare and more than double on old people's and social care.
France produces it's own warships, planes, cars, trucks and buses, it's own steel and concrete and chemicals.

And the French Gov't has always held onto a stake in it's key industries - it never sold off all it's assets as Thatcher did in Britain in the 1980's. Which is why French companies, including govt owned ones, now run transport, water, electricity, waste management and many other major service companies in Britain!

Underlying all this are three fundamental differences in approach that are, I think, instructive:
- The first is that in France, business is there to provide for the wellbeing of their people, rather than in Britain where people are just considered to be a resource for businesses to make more privatised profits (As a friend says, not 'citizens' but 'consumers' or 'workers'.)

- Secondly, the huge difference between Tory Austerity and sink-or-swim policies, and France's social support policies.
I don't understand the Tory Victorian addiction to Austerity, which guts an economy of investment at the most critical time. It has NEVER worked, it is economically illiterate and has destroyed the social fabric of Britain. And yet Sunak is doing it all over again! It isn't 'creative destruction', it is just destruction. But France (and most EU countries) support businesses and people through hard times, then tax them a little more through good times. The result is stability, job security and resilience, as has been proven by the almost zero impact of the pandemic and the fast recovery to EU growth.

-Thirdly, the French seem to take the long view. They seem happy to invest for 10 or 20 years in the future, even taking a broader view of the benefits, such as resilience, stability and security, beyond the financial profits. They like stability and security rather than the quick buck.

For the last 30 years, much of this stuff hasn't mattered much. Both countries were doing OK, with similar GDP and economic figures. As someone who has lived in both countries, it was mostly hard to tell the differences.

But not now, not in a crisis. It turns out that Britain was blagging it, running up the credit cards, not servicing the car, pawning the furniture, starving the kids, dropping off the grandparents outside the Work House! With nothing left to sell, and no-one who wants to employ Britain for anything anymore, there is nowhere to go but down. Covid and Brexit have now dealt a serious blow to Britain, and the cracks are showing everyone that it is just a hollow shell of it's former self.

Confidence is everything and, as Boris trashes any idea of honesty, diplomacy and international cooperation, and as the traders line up to dump the £ down the toilet, and as key industries grind to a halt for a lack of energy, Britain looks more and more like a loser.
But I think France looks increasingly like a winner. If you can leave any remaining loyalty and patriotism aside for a moment, what do you think?
In response to: https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ma ... 021-10-12/

From: https://www.facebook.com/thewanderingdon/
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Re: France

Post by Potemkin Villager »

They're not playing the game!
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Mark
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Re: France

Post by Mark »

All makes sense to me too, although we also produce warships, planes, cars, steel, concrete, chemicals etc,...., well for the moment, anyway.
I guess the problem lies in that many of the companies here aren't British owned.

I don't know France, but did a mini 'road trip' around Nouvelle Aquitaine just before COVID. The thing that surprised me most was how 'dead' a lot of the towns felt, particularly at night, even the bigger ones were lacking in any hustle and bustle. I was left wondering how most of them earned a living. The other impressions I got about that area were that it was old fashioned, family orientated, orderly and very clean. These were only impressions though - you only really get to know a country if you live there and speak the language.
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Re: France

Post by clv101 »

I worked for a French company for a decade, charted engineer, had a French manager for a while and travelled to France many more times than I can remember... I know their culture pretty well, especially science/engineering. France gets a lot of things right, more than we do. It saddens me that my French, even after several years of adult lessons is still very poor. Never had a French colleague whose English wasn't better than my French.
Stumuz2
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Re: France

Post by Stumuz2 »

clv101 wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 10:50 pm Never had a French colleague whose English wasn't better than my French.
Were you not a bit proud that they 'HAD' to speak English, but you did not 'HAVE' to speak French? Or Spanish, Greek, or any other language come to that. Were you not a tiny bit chuffed that English is the Lingua franca of the world?

My youngest daughter is a chemistry teacher in France (Picardy) and will receive a pro rata French state pension. All her colleagues congratulate her on being part of the 'system' , best system in the world they think. She is told that she will have to 'fight' by taking to the streets to save it.

She informed us last month that she's coming home as she has a new job.........as a train driver. Could have blown me down with a feather.
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Re: France

Post by BritDownUnder »

A very interesting post.

While strictly not economic the poster did not talk about 'les banlieues' and the fact that one third of French children aged under 12 are already Muslims with that percentage growing every year. Whatever you might think about multiculturalism that and what is happening in their suburbs matters a lot.

I quite agree with what the poster says. France has always put France first and with a ring-side seat in the various incarnations of the European Union and a net recipient of the largest share of EU funding over the years.

I have worked for a company with a large French operation, a lot of which is being shut at the moment. While the management ethos of the French component of the company (Alstom) and their obsession with shifting blame and lack of interest in completing projects at a profit I found that once you got to know them, the French workers were very reasonable people and far better than Germans who were really just plain nasty.

French contribution to science particularly Mathematics and early Chemistry is notable. Their engineers seemed very capable to me but one of them did say that very few of the Alstom projects achieved a profit.

France has advantages over the UK in geography/agriculture, France First and consistent government policy and founding membership of European institutions. I would not be wanting to live in France in the future though. It won't end well.
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Stumuz2
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Re: France

Post by Stumuz2 »

Also, do we think that this could have happened in the UK?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vélodrome_d%27Hiver

I have asked people in Picardy about it. The replies ranged from, it never happened, to, you cannot trust jewish recollections.
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Mark
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Re: France

Post by Mark »

Stumuz2 wrote: Fri Oct 15, 2021 9:36 am Were you not a bit proud that they 'HAD' to speak English, but you did not 'HAVE' to speak French? Or Spanish, Greek, or any other language come to that. Were you not a tiny bit chuffed that English is the Lingua franca of the world?
I studied 5yrs of German & 3yrs of French at school.
As I've not really used either since, I've probably lost 90% of it now, so you could say it was a waste of time.
I still think language learning is important though - but I think most schools don't teach the correct ones for the modern world...
We should be teaching Chinese and Spanish as the 2 main options, but probably don't have the teaching resources to do it...

Agree, we gain a lot by English being the lingua franca of the world, particularly in business.
However, we also lose respect sometimes, as it makes some Brits (& Yanks/Aussies) act in arrogant/ignorant/lazy ways in some situations
I'm sure you'd agree Stumuz, nobody likes an arrogant/ignorant smart@rse :D
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Re: France

Post by Stumuz2 »

English is my second language, and I'm extremely proud that the rest of the world has to speak it. Wherever i've gone in the world English is always spoken.
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Re: France

Post by Stumuz2 »

Except Caernarfon,
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Mark
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Re: France

Post by Mark »

Stumuz2 wrote: Fri Oct 15, 2021 9:42 am Also, do we think that this could have happened in the UK?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vélodrome_d%27Hiver

I have asked people in Picardy about it. The replies ranged from, it never happened, to, you cannot trust jewish recollections.
I think that events like that could happen in any country, given the right conditions....
Yet again, you pick and choose your historical references in an attempt to portray us as somehow 'superior' in this country.

OK, I can't think of a racial massacre on these shores since the 1640s in Ireland, but we've had other sorts (eg Peterloo).
We've also perpetrated genocide on other shores in the name of the British Empire..., for example:
https://theconversation.com/explainer-t ... cide-86828
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Re: France

Post by Stumuz2 »

Mark wrote: Fri Oct 15, 2021 11:17 am to portray us as somehow 'superior' in this country.
We just are. Although such arrogance is not appreciated on the left.


I'll leave to Orwell to say it best as usual.
“In intention, at any rate, the English intelligentsia are Europeanized. 
They take their cookery from Paris and their opinions from Moscow. In the 
general patriotism of the country they form a sort of island of dissident 
thought. England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals 
are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always 
felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman 
and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution, from horse 
racing to suet puddings. It is a strange fact, but it is unquestionably 
true that almost any English intellectual would feel more ashamed of 
standing to attention during ‘God save the King’ than of stealing from a 
poor box. All through the critical years many left-wingers were chipping 
away at English morale, trying to spread an outlook that was sometimes 
squashily pacifist, sometimes violently pro-Russian, but always 
anti-British.”
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Mark
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Re: France

Post by Mark »

Stumuz2 wrote: Fri Oct 15, 2021 11:28 am We just are. Although such arrogance is not appreciated on the left.
YOU posted about the French rounding up Jews and sending them to death camps...
Why, I have no idea, except to trash another thread....

I merely pointed out that Brits committing genocide against Aborigines IS EXACTLY THE SAME.
(and nothing to do with socialism, or class or the English intelligentsia being anti-British)

Every country has their moments...., no country is 'superior'
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_e ... _massacres
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_g ... death_toll

If you can't see that, there's really no hope for you.
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Re: France

Post by Stumuz2 »

Mark wrote: Fri Oct 15, 2021 12:10 pm ...., no country is 'superior'
But we are Mark. Why are people dieing to get to the UK if it's such a terrible place? Why did the industrial revolution happen here and not France?

If it makes you feel any better, you could flagellate yourself whilst chanting "I'm ashamed of being English I wish I was French"

This thread was about how much better France and the French are. I could not disagree more. Which is very salient to the thread.
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Re: France

Post by BritDownUnder »

The UK certainly was superior. France before and even after the Revolution was tyrannical - not sure on their laws and property rights but I think they were poor. The UK not so. There was also Iron ore and coal and other industrial materials in close proximity in Britain, not to mention free speech etc. Except for the USA and some parts of Northern Europe, e.g. Belgium and Luxembourg the Industrial Revolution could not have happened any where else.
G'Day cobber!
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