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What Happens After The Election Of François Hollande In France?

April 30, 2012

There is hardly any doubt that the next President of France will be François Hollande, the socialist candidate.  The voters will make it so on May 6th. 

But then what?

What would an actual, honest-to-God Socialist President do in office? Probably not anything particularly socialist—nationalizing the means of production or the like—but, rather, something more along the lines of striking a protective stance. Hollande would defend French “solidarity”—the expensive social programs that make life pleasant and predictable for the vast majority of working people, though they seem to insure high unemployment even in the best of times. But a protective stance, as Muhammad Ali used to demonstrate, is in its way a fighting position. Defending solidarity means fighting austerity, and this seems likely to lead Hollande into conflict with the Germans and their tight-lipped (and walleted) bankers. The hope of American liberals that an Hollande victory would vindicate their position that austerity is bad policy—even though that may be the case—seems unlikely to take hold here. To the American right, anything that goes wrong in Europe does so because Europe is wrong, and not because of austerity, because austerity is right.

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