I watched French television last night and as usual on most French channels there was a lot of debate and little substance. On one side there was a chap with clear leftish tendencies talking about the threat of free capital markets, presumably of the opinion like many in Europe, that markets should be controlled and to balance out the debate there was another chap with exactly the same futile centre left wishy washy drivel. What astounds me every time that I watch a political/economic/social debate on French television is how they all seem to be singing from the same hymn sheet. They clearly think that ‘capital’ grows on trees and that industry can operate efficiently on a 3 1/2 day week which is precisely how France is run.
In my area there is around 30% unemployment and one would expect that there are many desperate people in the vicinity knocking on doors for any type of work. Well, in 7 years not one single ‘artisan’ has knocked at the door of my derelict farm. Each year though the local metal man (their equivalent of the rag & bone man; I call him ‘Steptoe’ which falls on deaf ears) turns up to take away mountains of metal (old farm machinery dating back to when International used to sell horse drawn ploughs to the french pre-Grand Guerre) for free and frankly I do welcome just a glimmer of free enterprise at work. I don’t begrudge anybody who is prepared to clear the metal mound, load it up, drive it away and get amply rewarded in an ever increasing metals market thanks to the Chinese.In the last few hours I’ve been looking at my London Stock Exchange trading screen called Proquote (it’s internet driven just like this blog) and recently have been rather alarmed by the Dow Jones Newswire headings regarding the EuroZone difficulties. In a nutshell there are many headlines but nothing behind them.
- 13:14pm Merkel: “Euro Zone (note the separation of the word) Solidarity Must Be Combined With Sound Budget Measures” – Isn’t that just terrific news? Have I been living in a dream world since 1975 or did I miss something? Have we not already had countless SOUND BUDGET MEASURES since 1975? Reading the full release Merkel goes on to say….”Italy is on its way to earning back credibility”. Mmmmmm.
- 13:14pm Merkel: “Confident Italy To Clarify Government Situation Soon.” Since 1948 when Italy established a parliament it has had some 61 different governments in 63 years. Not a bad record for stability and allowing for “Sound Budget Measures” then!
- 13:15pm Merkel: “Italy Will Put Through Planned Austerity Measures Soon” Good that the Germans know more about the plans than the Italians then!
- 13:16pm Merkel: “Germany’s ‘One Goal’ Is To Stabilize (American spelling note) Current Euro Zone”. This is rather alarming. Last week Merkel said the goal was to stabilize (!) Greece, this week it’s Italy and next week it could be anyone in EU. That makes more than 1 goal Angela!
- 13:16pm Merkel: “Working For A ‘Better,More Consolidated’ Greece”. Just how consolidated can existing membership of the EU be Mrs Merkel? Anyway surely it’s up to the new Greek PM to decide the level of further consolidation but I have a feeling that the Greek people & FREE capital markets may decide whether ‘Better, More Consolidated’ measures in Greece, Italy and elsewhere are allowed to happen.
These regular scoops on Dow Jones, Bloomberg, BBC, et al are designed to relieve markets, instill some degree of confidence in traders and investors but the LACK OF REAL SUBSTANCE here just makes markets think that there are headless chickens out there and NO real solutions to the contracting economies, lack of job creation and end game to more than adequate stimulae. Just who do these Europeans think they are kidding with this rhetoric? Who are these ‘markets’ that the euro elite think they can brush off? Well, I have news for you Angela and Nicolas (presumably you were in the room when she said these things), the markets that you choose to treat with disdain are YOUR electorate, YOUR people.
More chaos to come I think.Next headline…Euro Zone hires Max Clifford!