The Great Debate

The minister who dreams of a reindustrialized France

By Peter Gumbel
September 23, 2013

The body of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Louis XIV’s wily finance minister, is encased in a marble tomb in the Church of Saint Eustache in central Paris. But if you believe Arnaud Montebourg, the enfant terrible of French politics, his spirit is still very much alive, 330 years after his death, and about to spark a new, digital-age industrial revolution in France.

How debt-laden French cities avoid Detroit’s fate: sue the banks

By Peter Gumbel
July 22, 2013

Within hours of Detroit filing the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history on July 18, French TV and other media followed up with the reassuring message that, in France at least, such a turn of events would be impossible. Under French law, municipalities are required to balance their budgets, and the national government can — and occasionally does — intervene to force them to comply.

What Hollande can learn from Queen of Hearts

By Gary Regenstreif
May 21, 2013

French President Francois Hollande’s predicament is, oddly enough, akin to one Alice faced in Lewis Carroll’s 19th century classic.

Is France closing for business?

By Peter Gumbel
May 23, 2012

Arnaud Montebourg, a member of the French parliament, has a problem with the iPhone. He thinks consumers in France should pay more for it than they already do. Why? Because, he says, the iPhone is made by “exploited” laborers in China who are taking away the jobs of French workers and the best way to redress that is by putting in place trade barriers and taxes that will stop “excessive imports.”

What happens if Hollande wins?

By Peter Gumbel
May 3, 2012

His political allies wrote him off as a lightweight, “a pedal-boat captain in a storm” as one memorably put it. European leaders, including Germany’s Angela Merkel, have gone out of their way to avoid him, and the markets have been unimpressed by his declaration, to the City of London, that “I am not dangerous.”

from Summit Notebook:

Does Germany need Europe?

December 6, 2010

Jim O'Neill, the new Goldman Sachs Asset Management chairman who is famous for coining the term BRICs for the world's new emerging economic giants, reckons he knows why Germany might not be rushing to bail out all the euro zone debt that is under pressure. Europe is not as important to Berlin as it was.

from James Saft:

Pension savers get the boot

November 30, 2010

From Dublin to Paris to Budapest to inside those brown UPS trucks delivering holiday packages, it has been a tough few weeks for savers and retirees.

from MacroScope:

Did France cause The Great Depression?

November 1, 2010

Economist Douglas Irwin of Dartmouth College has stirred up a bit of a fuss by concluding in some academic research that it was France, not the United States, that was most to blame for The Great Depression.

Healthcare reforms warnings from France and Canada

healthcare-combo– Brian Lee Crowley is the founding president of Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS), a public policy think tank in Canada (pictured left) and Valentin Petkantchin is director of research at the Paris-and Brussels-based Institut économique Molinari. The views expressed are their own. –