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Wednesday
Nov302005

What the new socialist program would do for France?

 france_socialist_party_150_eng_2dec04.jpg
As the socialist party in France re-elects their current leader Francois Hollande for the fourth consecutive time it is fair to ponder what it means for the Socialists in France and the French society in general.

See article from NouvelObs.

Well, currently the effects cannot be seen but if the Socialists can claw back the Presidency in 2007 the French society and Europe in general might be in for a turret time. Let us re-capture what happened at the Parti congress in Le Mans. To give a brief round-up it is apparent that the PS (Parti Socialiste) took a major to the left with the agreed common program - the first since 1990. Particularly Laurent Fabius emerges from the Le Mans meeting as a strong presence. He is the dissident who lead a fraction of socialist no-voters against the official party line during the referendum of the now dead and buried EU-constitution.

"The (socialist) programme would renationalise Electricité de France, the power utility, partly floated this week; raise the minimum wage; abolish flexible two-year job contracts; and boost overtime pay for working more than 35 hours. On the EU, the party has fudged matters, calling for a federal Europe that is both “more political and more social”."

See article from the Economist - walled for non-subscribers.

 

Now, I ask whether the points and actions above would have a positive effect on the French society.

My answer is NO, and the decided program surely shows that the socialists in France are out of pace with the reality they live in. The ideas as they were presented at the Le Mans congress are a mirror of anti-globalisation and -capitalism and those kinds of views will do France no good. 

The article from the Economist reports how the socialists' program reflect the general anti-capitalist mood. Perhaps this is indeed true but surely not all French politicians can abide to the program as it is presented above.

As I have reported on several occasions in this blog, France will only emerge as the economic pressence it should rightly be if the politicians realize that the strategy of closing its borders, keeping rigid leviathans businesses on state hands and caving in to unions' demands are left as a strategy of yesterday. 

Perhaps dirigism should be revived with a zeal of globalization and capitalism ?

Tuesday
Nov222005

Is the GM era drawing to a close?

logo-general-motors.jpg The recent issue of the Economist reports on the old Detroit carmaker General motors and the company's grave problems and essentially its struggle to stay alive. The obvious question is; what has gone wrong for the world's largest carmaker? Reading the material provided by the Economist it seems that this question might not be so easy to answer.

"Exactly how and why things have gone so wrong is a matter of debate." See Economist article here and the corresponding leader here; both walled for non-subscribers.

There is no doubt that General Motors is facing some serious problems at the moment. First off is the company's inherent inability to perform in as global player in the carmarket.

"Earnings have plunged, especially in its core North American market. The good ship GM scraped even more icebergs lately, the most recent being an announcement last week that it would have to restate earnings for 2001, due to improperly booked credits from suppliers."

cld845.gif The Economist furthermore reports how the company has not managed to follow those trends in the global carinidustry on which other carmakers are now capitalising richly upon.

"GM refused to believe there would be enough demand to justify investment in petrol-electric hybrids. Yet again, it is now racing to catch up in a part of the market where the Japanese overwhelmingly dominate."

However, the GM also faces issues of which it does not have the powers to alter. Especially two issues are important here; firstly, the huge mandatory health bills which are to be paid to laidoff workers threaten GM's future existence although the unions have granted successions on this area. 

"Mr Wagoner was able to put a positive spin on GM's bleak, third-quarter earnings report (losses are $3.8 billion so far this year) by announcing that the United Auto Workers Union (UAW) would grant unprecedented concessions, shaving $1 billion from the carmaker's mounting health-care bill. He has turned his attention to attacking so-called legacy costs. The huge cutbacks of the 1990s saddled GM with nearly three retirees for every active worker."

Secondly, the glooming situation at GM largest supplier and the possible future strike is something which could seriously damage GM's short term operations.

"UAW leaders are threatening to strike if Mr Miller goes ahead. A walkout could disrupt the entire motor industry, but as Delphi's biggest customer by far, GM would suffer the most."

Underlying this awful situation at GM's is the state of the global car industry where, as reported in september by the Economist, (walled for non-subscribers) more is not always better ...

"The strategy of consolidating behind the brands has not been entirely successful: indeed there is an inverse correlation between the number of brands a firm possesses and profitability. GM may still be the big beast of the industry, but it is no longer in any shape to gobble up others."

For another interesting view of GM's troubles; see this post by Thomas Paine 

Perhaps it is really too late for GM to re-cap ?

Wednesday
Nov162005

Copenhagen business school goes BLOG ...

cbs.jpgAbout two months ago even before I began this blog I volunteered to participate in a pilot project of creating two blogs/vlogs on the Copenhagen Business School; one representing my own study program Bsc in business, language, and culture and one representing our Asian sister the Asian Studies Program - ASP. See my sidemenu "Affiliates" for links to the sites.

What are these blogs/vlogs going to deal with then, and who are making them?

It is important for me to stress that the sites both have an internal as well as an external communicative dimension which is well captured in the quote below from the posting policies on the two sites...

"As an internal voice the blogs will serve as a hub for discussion concerning campus events and issues as well as the academic contents of the courses. Externally it is our vision to present the BLC and ASP as international study programs and CBS as an international institution of higher learning. As such we invite everyone to take part in the discussion"

The blogs are administered by both faculty and students and we are currently 11 students assigned as a part of the PPC(Passionate Production Crew) in charge of producing the content of the sites. There are no major strains on the PPC members and the content is not decided and modified by CBS staff.    

I should also take this occasion to thank some external consultants we have had on board during the whole, and sometimes, stressing process of getting it all to work. A warm thank should consequently go to the E-Mediators Jon Froda and Jesper Bindslev for assisting in introducing the PPCs to all aspects of blogging as well as helping with the launch and the actual endeavor of project management; they have even given us a plug in order to give us a flying start into the blogosphere; see their post here. Notable credit should also go to Anders Pollas and guan for contributing with the backbone of the project - the sites themselves. Finally we should thank our friend, the supervlogger, Andreas Haughstrup.

I must admit that I did not know much about blogging and vlogging before I entered this project but I have become a more versatile communications student as a result ... and more is surely to come !