France’s Deadly Duel

On LSE’s EUROPP Blog, Fabio Bordignon discusses Macron’s anti-populist populism. Emmanuel Macron is the ideal target for populists: he graduated from the École nationale d’administration (ENA), worked as investment banker at the “global” Rothschild and was economy minister in François Hollande’s government. Yet his likely win is a proof that the populist wave may be resisted. On the other hand, it can be argued that he fights populism with its own weapons: he managed to present himself as an outsider, leading a brand-new personal movement, created from scratch a few months before the elections. While he thinks that we need more Europe, his approach to the EU “can be described as the expression of Europeanist populism”.

Nicholas Vinocur tries to figure out what Le Pen would need to win the final vote. First, she should adopt a clear message: her call for ‘economic patriotism’ for example was deemed too abstract and likely to mislead her electoral base. Second, she needs to persuade conservatives to stop worrying: her protection message is not dissimilar to Sarkozy’s, yet the possibility of a EU-membership referendum is quite scary. Third, she needs to dissuade leftists from voting, somehow replicating Trump’s famous suppression tactic. Finally, achieving victory might require mistakes on Macron’s part (maybe leaks about his Wall-street relations or ties with Hollande), and/or a high scale terrorist attack to shift the popular mood.

Brexit Elections

The FAZ published an unofficial report of a dinner between May and Juncker: apparently high-level EU officials portrayed May as clouded in illusions, talking in slogans even in private, and generally unprepared. Moreover, they estimate the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit over 50%.

Clive Lewis and Rachael Maskell propose to submit to a new referendum the final Brexit deal (or no-deal), once the negotiations are over. Rather than asking the same question twice, this would be a choice between two specific alternatives: if Brexiteers believe their own rhetoric about Brexit being the “will of the people”, they should not be afraid of it. And given May’s intention to exclude Parliament from negotiation, even the impending general election won’t do much to ensure popular oversight of the negotiation.

While the EU tough guidelines on Brexit were unanimously approved in less than five minutes, Nick Gutteridge thinks EU’s “surprising” level of unity on Brexit may not last as the bloc splits into two camps for an epic battle over the hole left by UK funding in the european budget. One side would want to see EU’s financial need reduced, by streamlining inefficiencies and cutting unnecessary expense, while others fear a cut on central funding.

Matthew d’Ancona thinks that May needs a ‘strong hand’ to negotiate a good Brexit for Britain, which she cannot do with only a small majority of MPs. Despite what Verhofstadt recently said in the Observer: “For those sitting around the table in Brussels, [the scale of May’s majority] is an irrelevance”: if she lacks political authority at home, she could not negotiate effectively. Ian Birrell makes the opposite claim, arguing that a landslide victory for the Tories would weaken UK’s negotiating position because they could not plausibly defend red lines, with the argument that they could not make the parliament approve them.

Social Economy for the Future

Anke Hassel criticize basic income claiming that it would remove people’s motivation to join the labour market, disincentivize personal investment in education and vocational training and reduce workplace-centred integration and socialization.

Ulrich Schachtschneider responds that while work is important to improve one’s skills, to develop self-confidence and to feel acknowledged in society, these benefits are not necessarily threatened by basic income. As an important starting point, UBIE is researching the idea of a partial basic income, a Eurodividend of €200 a month, paid to every European citizen.

Vincenzo Visco discusses Robot taxation claiming that, historically, tax systems evolve following the evolution of the taxable bases. Over the last 30 years, the share of labor income compared to national income has fallen by more than ten percentage points in most major countries, with an equivalent increase in incomes other than labor (corporate profits, interests, financial rents, etc.). Consequently, it would be entirely logical to shift taxation to these other incomes. Harder and less rational would be to imagine a system in which robots are individually identified and hit.

This Ideas Monitor is by Carlo Burelli and Alexander Damiano Ricci


Photo Credits CC Number 10


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