Populisme: La révolution, c’est comme l’amour (The problem with economic populism is that it works – for a while)

roses-are-red-violets-are-blue-sugar-is-sweet-and-so-are-you-7tu-seras-pour-moi-unique-au-mondemacronTu seras pour moi unique au monde. Je serai pour toi unique au monde… Le Petit Prince
Don’t cry for me Argentina The truth is I never left you … Madonna
La politique, c’est mystique. (…) C’est tout mon combat. C’est une erreur de penser que le programme est le cœur d’une campagne. Les médias passent du commentaire d’un point de détail mineur du programme aux pires polémiques, et ainsi de suite. (…) Comment se construit le pouvoir charismatique? C’est un mélange de choses sensibles et de choses intellectuelles. J’ai toujours assumé la dimension de verticalité, de transcendance, mais en même temps elle doit s’ancrer dans de l’immanence complète, de la matérialité. Je ne crois pas à la transcendance éthérée. Il faut tresser les deux, l’intelligence et la spiritualité. Sinon l’intelligence est toujours malheureuse. Sinon les gens n’éprouvent de sensations que vers les passions tristes, le ressentiment, la jalousie, etc. Il faut donner une intensité aux passions heureuses. (…) La dimension christique, je ne la renie pas ; je ne la revendique pas. Je ne cherche pas à être un prédicateur christique. Emmanuel Macron
 Tu sais, ce n’est pas marrant de vivre avec Jeanne d’Arc. Brigitte Macron
The economy, academia, immigration, and the environment could benefit from Trump’s unorthodox approach. Populism of the center (as opposed to Bernie Sanders’s socialist populism) has received a bad media rap — given that it was stained in the past by xenophobic and chauvinistic currents. Who wishes to emulate all the agendas of William Jennings Bryan, Huey Long, or Ross Perot? Yet there were some elements of Trump’s populist agenda — mostly concern for redeveloping the industrial and manufacturing base of the American heartland, and with it creating better-paying jobs for globalism’s losers — that were not only overdue but salutary for the Republican party. His idea that broad-based prosperity could diminish tribalism and racial fault lines sought to erode traditional Democratic support. Populism is certainly identified with lots of grassroots movements, from far left through the center to far right. The common tie is that ordinary voters feel estranged from an elite class in politics, government, the media, and entertainment — a phenomenon that dates from the Solonian crisis at Athens and the Gracchi of Rome to Ross Perot, the Tea Party, and Donald Trump. Often prairie-fire outrage manifests in emotional responses to existing affronts rather than carefully crafted policies designed to remedy perceived grievances. (One can remember Al Gore’s 1993 pompous but undeniable evisceration on CNN of a stuttering, ill-informed populist Ross Perot, on the NAFTA treaty.). All that said, these periodic uprisings in consensual societies are needed to disabuse an insular governing class of its sense of entitlement and privilege. The spark that ignites populist movements is not so much disparities in wealth and status (they are not always French Revolution or Bolshevik-like class-driven attempts to grab power) as rank hypocrisies: Elites condescendingly prescribe nostrums to hoi polloi, but always on the dual premise that those who are dictating will be immune from the ramifications of their own sometimes burdensome edicts, and those who are dictated to are supposedly too dense to know what is good for them. (…) We’ve already seen Trump’s anti-doctrinaire approach to jobs, trade, and the economy: his notion that the free-market in reality can often became a rhetorical construct, not a two-way street when it comes to trading blocs. Free-market purists might see the outsourcing of jobs and unbridled importation of foreign subsidized products as a way to toughen up the competitiveness of American companies and trim off their fat; but people who take this view are usually the ones who benefit from globalism and who are in little danger of having their own job downsized, eliminated, or shipped overseas. Few of us often ask whether full professors are very productive, whether op-ed writers are industrious and cogent, whether Hollywood actors are worth millions per picture, whether politicians are improving the nation’s lot, or whether journalists are disinterested and competent. Instead, we assume that because they all have well-compensated jobs, they are qualified, essential, and invaluable to the economy. If Trump avoids ruinous tariffs and subsidies for inefficient companies, then his economic populism, combined with tax and regulation reform, might spark some job creation and undermine the foundations of the Democratic party. But there are lot of applications of populist approach in other areas that need commensurate reform and that would yield political advantage. Take academia. Right now, the campus is plagued by several interrelated pathologies: staggering student debt and costs, administrative bloat (often in conjunction with the vast investment in race/class/gender politics), an increasing absence of free speech and due process, and a shallow and therapeutic curriculum that does not guarantee the indebted students even basic literacy upon graduation. (…) Immigration populism is likewise sorely needed. That debate also needs to be turned upon its head. The great loser is the very idea of diversity, when immigration is not ethnically blind, meritocratic and multiethnic and multiracial, but instead focused on political lobbying that inordinately favors Mexico and Latin America. Other losers under open borders are the citizen poor, minorities, entry-level workers, and legal immigrants: They suffer from stagnant wages brought on by the off-the-books employment of illegal aliens; their public schools are more often directly affected by the infusion of non-English speakers, and they receive less-than-stellar treatment from overtaxed social services, from the emergency rooms to the DMVs that are swamped with millions of foreign nationals. The winners are usually elite Democratic and La Raza political activists, corporations in need of inexpensive labor, and the upper middle classes who hire domestic help. The legal immigrant ends up ignored if not rendered a fool for in good faith following immigration law and naïvely expecting prompt attention, given his needed skills and prior education. Parity is a populist idea, and we certainly have been treating the lawbreaker with greater deference than the law-abider. Why does a U.S. citizen face felony indictment for identity theft or falsification of Social Security numbers, while we take such violations as simply a fact of life inherent in illegal immigration? (…) Environmental populism is also long overdue. The old noble idea of conserving our air and water purity and stopping the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources has morphed into something akin to a green version of the antebellum South’s furious opposition to internal improvements. California is the locus classicus of boutique environmentalism in which a coastal elite blocks new dams, reservoirs, and aqueducts while counting on existing water-transfer infrastructure for their own unnatural Los Angeles and Bay Area urban sprawls in areas without sufficient water supplies. Favored with balmy year-round coastal weather, West Coast greens embrace energy-pricing policies that fall heavily on others who rely on air-conditioners and heaters in far harsher climates. Fracking, horizontal drilling, reasonable mining and logging, highway construction, and low-cost affordable housing are often opposed by elite progressives, partly because their own affluence allows them the luxury of stopping the sort of development that provides jobs, income, and a more tolerable existence to distant others. Elites’ opposition also derives from an Old South sense (rising up anew in areas of zero growth and ossified infrastructure) that progress must be stopped and modern lifestyles can be frozen in amber; elites, after all, have the time and money to disengage from the so-called rat race. Victor Davis Hanson
El gobierno es la mierda, pero es el nuestro. (the government is terrible but it’s ours). Chilean workers’s slogan
Now we have our government, let’s celebrate. Chilean workers
Marxism is a revolution of production; Allende’s was a revolution of consumption. Fidel Castro
Once  in power,  and  armed  with  the above paradigm,  populist policymakers  rapidly  move  to  implement  ambitious  economic  programs  aimed  at  redistributing  income,  generating  employment,  and  accelerating  growth.  Although  each  historical  populist  episode  exhibits  some unique  features,  it  is still possible to distinguish four phases  common  to  the  vast  majority  of  experiences.  Phase  1.  -In  the  first  phase,  the  policymakers  are fully  vindicated  in  their  diagnosis and prescription:  growth  of  output,  real wages,  and employment are  high,  and  the  macroeconomic  policies  are  nothing  short  of  successful.  Controls  assure  that  inflation  is  not  a  problem,  and  shortages  are  alleviated  by  imports.  The  run-down  of  inventories and  the availability of  imports  (financed  by  reserve  decumulation  or  suspension  of  external  payments)  accommodate  the  demand expansion  with little impact on  inflation.  Phase  2.-The  economy runs  into bottlenecks,  partly  as  a result of  a strong  expansion  in  demand  for  domestic  goods,  and  partly  because  of  a  growing  lack  of  foreign  exchange. Whereas  inventory  decumulation  was  an  essential  feature  of  the  first  phase,  the  low levels of  inventories  and  inventory building  are  now  a  source  of  problems.  Price realignments  and devaluation,  exchange  control,  or  protection  become  necessary.  Inflation  increases  significantly, but  wages  keep up.  The  budget  deficit  worsens tremendously  as a result  of pervasive subsidies  on  wage  goods  and foreign exchange.  (…)  Phase  3.  -Pervasive  shortages, extreme  acceleration  of  inflation,  and  an  obvious  foreign  exchange gap  lead  to  capital  flight and  demonetization  of  the  economy.  The  budget  deficit  deteriorates  violently  because  of  a steep decline  in  tax  collection  and  increasing  subsidy  costs.  The  government  attempts  to  stabilize  by  cutting  subsidies and  by  a real  depreciation.  Real wages  fall massively,  and policies  become  unstable.  It  becomes  clear that  the  government  is  in  a desperate situation. Phase  4.  -Orthodox  stabilization  takes  over  under  a  new  government.  More  often  than  not,  an  IMF  program  will  be  enacted;  and,  when  everything  is said and  done,  the real  wage will have  declined  massively,  to  a level significantly  lower than  when  the whole episode began.  Moreover, that  decline  will  be  very  persistent,  because the politics  and  economics  of  the  experience  will  have  depressed investment  and  promoted capital flight. The extremity  of  real  wage  declines  is  due  to  a  simple  fact:  capital is  mobile across  borders,  but  labor  is not.  Capital can  flee from  poor  policies, labor is trapped.  The  ultimate dismantling is often accompanied  by  major  political change,  including  violent  overthrow  of  the  government. Rudiger Dornbusch and Sebastian Edwards
There can be no disagreement that Latin Americans have been the longest and best practitioners of economic populism. In the twentieth century, Perón and Vargas, plus Alan García in Perú (at least during his first term), Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua and Salvador Allende in Chile, and many others, engaged in trade protectionism, ran large budget deficits, overheated their economies, allowed inflation to rise, and eventually suffered currency crises. In recent years, Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela took these policies to new lows. (…) Populist policies are called that because they are popular. And they are popular because they work – at least for a while. A sizeable fiscal stimulus in a sluggish economy produces a pickup in growth and job creation. If financial markets turn bullish (as they often do), the exchange rate appreciates, quelling nascent inflationary pressures and making it cheaper to import. And, as Argentine economist and Columbia University professor Guillermo Calvo has long argued, precisely because they are unsustainable, populist policies cause people to shift spending from the uncertain future to the present, when the going is good. This reinforces the expansionary impact of the stimulus, which is particularly strong under fixed exchange rates. (…) With consumption, credit, and employment booming and asset prices sky-high, a warm and fuzzy feeling of prosperity permeates society. Populist leaders feel vindicated, and they are not shy about claiming credit. Their approval rating can only go up – and it does. Soon, teetotalers begin to warn that debt is accumulating too quickly, credit quality is deteriorating, inflationary pressures are incubating, and an overvalued exchange rate is doing lasting harm to exporters. But the music is too loud and the dancing too lively, so no one listens to the warnings. How long can the party go on? One thing we know from the Latin American episodes is that the answer depends, first of all, on initial conditions. (…) Anti-populists in the US, the UK, and elsewhere must come to terms with the reality that bad policies pay off, both economically and politically, long before they become toxic. Yes, the excessive private and public debt, the loss of export capacity, and the weakening of institutions harm the economy (and the polity) – but only in the long run. If critics do not understand that and act accordingly, populists will have as long (and destructive) a run in the rich countries as they once had in Latin America. Andrés Velasco

En cette Sainte Valentin où la planète entière célèbre l’amour  …

Et de Trump et Marine à Macron et Hamon, la redécouverte enchantée et quasi-christique du peuple …

Qui veut casser l’ambiance avec ces esprits chagrins et des empêcheurs de tourner en rond d’économistes …

Qui comme l’ancien ministre des finances chilien Andrés Velasco ou le Polono-américain Paul Rosenstein-Rodan …

Nous embêtent avec les expériences passées, de Peron à Allende, des champions historiques du populisme ?

Qui veut entendre que le problème du populisme éonomique, c’est que pendant un temps ça marche …

Ou que comme pour l’amour, il est toujours unique, on ne peut apprendre des erreurs des autres ?

How Economic Populism Works
Andrés Velasco, a former finance minister of Chile
How Economic Populism Works
Project Syndicate
Feb. 7, 2017

SANTIAGO – Now that populists are coming to power in the West, a conflict over the intellectual ownership of their approach is brewing. Writers like John Judis claim that nineteenth-century Americans invented political populism, with its anti-elitist stance and inflammatory rhetoric. Argentines, who gave the world über-populist Juan Domingo Perón, or Brazilians, who brought us Getúlio Vargas, might beg to differ.

Yet there can be no disagreement that Latin Americans have been the longest and best practitioners of economic populism. In the twentieth century, Perón and Vargas, plus Alan García in Perú (at least during his first term), Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua and Salvador Allende in Chile, and many others, engaged in trade protectionism, ran large budget deficits, overheated their economies, allowed inflation to rise, and eventually suffered currency crises. In recent years, Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela took these policies to new lows.

What should the rich world, now undergoing its own bout of economic populism, learn from Latin America’s experience?

Make no mistake: judging by the track record of its establishment pundits, the rich world needs some lessons. In Britain, Brexit opponents insisted that if voters decided to leave the European Union, a recession, if not a full-blown economic crisis, would be inevitable. After the referendum, the pound depreciated some, but nothing much else happened. Today, the British economy continues to grow.

In the United States, academic economists repeatedly warned that Trump’s economic plans were little short of lunacy, and in the aftermath of his shocking election victory, some prophesied immediate economic catastrophe. Since then, the stock market has reached record heights, commodity prices have recovered, and forecasts of US economic growth keep rising.

Have the pundits been smoking something? Or have Trump and pro-Brexit leader Nigel Farage abrogated the principles of introductory macroeconomics?

Nothing of the sort. But to understand the effects of populist policies, one must first understand their logic. In a classic paper, Sebastian Edwards of UCLA and the late Rudiger Dornbusch of MIT define economic populism as “an approach to economics that emphasizes growth and income redistribution and deemphasizes the risks of inflation and deficit finance, external constraints, and the reaction of economic agents to aggressive nonmarket policies.” They add that populist approaches “do ultimately fail,” not because conservative economics is better, but as “the result of unsustainable policies.”

“Ultimately” can be a very long time. Populist policies are called that because they are popular. And they are popular because they work – at least for a while.

A sizeable fiscal stimulus in a sluggish economy produces a pickup in growth and job creation. If financial markets turn bullish (as they often do), the exchange rate appreciates, quelling nascent inflationary pressures and making it cheaper to import. And, as Argentine economist and Columbia University professor Guillermo Calvo has long argued, precisely because they are unsustainable, populist policies cause people to shift spending from the uncertain future to the present, when the going is good. This reinforces the expansionary impact of the stimulus, which is particularly strong under fixed exchange rates. So, eurozone countries: beware!

With consumption, credit, and employment booming and asset prices sky-high, a warm and fuzzy feeling of prosperity permeates society. Populist leaders feel vindicated, and they are not shy about claiming credit. Their approval rating can only go up – and it does.

Soon, teetotalers begin to warn that debt is accumulating too quickly, credit quality is deteriorating, inflationary pressures are incubating, and an overvalued exchange rate is doing lasting harm to exporters. But the music is too loud and the dancing too lively, so no one listens to the warnings.

How long can the party go on? One thing we know from the Latin American episodes is that the answer depends, first of all, on initial conditions. Most industrial economies have grown little since the financial crisis. Deflation, not inflation, has been the problem.

Yes, the unemployment rate has dropped considerably in the US. But after so many shocks and so much technological change over the last decade, there is considerable uncertainty about how much unused capacity remains and where the non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment (NAIRU) lies. It could well be that the likes of Trump find that they can stimulate the economy for quite a while before obvious imbalances emerge.

The other thing we have learned is that debt, both public and private, does become a constraint. But when and how depends crucially on what kind of debt it is. Today, advanced economies borrow in their own currencies at near-zero (and sometimes negative) interest rates. Even if the starting point is a high debt-to-GDP ratio, it can be a long time before growing debt triggers an emergency. Just ask the Japanese.

What happens when financial markets finally get cold feet and stop lending? Well, as the Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman was at pains to demonstrate in a recent paper, an economy with flexible exchange rates and debt denominated in domestic currency will expand, not contract, in response to a foreign deleveraging shock. (Of course, Krugman was arguing for fiscal expansion under a Democratic president, but the point still stands.) Not even then do you get an immediate crisis.

In 1953, Perón sent a message to Chilean president Carlos Ibáñez, a fellow army general. “My dear friend: give the people, especially the workers, all that is possible,” he wrote. “There is nothing more elastic than the economy, which everyone fears so much because no one understands it.” Trump, should he come to think about it, might stumble to the same conclusion.

Anti-populists in the US, the UK, and elsewhere must come to terms with the reality that bad policies pay off, both economically and politically, long before they become toxic. Yes, the excessive private and public debt, the loss of export capacity, and the weakening of institutions harm the economy (and the polity) – but only in the long run. If critics do not understand that and act accordingly, populists will have as long (and destructive) a run in the rich countries as they once had in Latin America.

Voir aussi:

Postscript

Paul N. Rosenstein‐Rodan

The New York Times
June 16, 1974

Paul N. Rosenstein‐Rodan has been adviser on development to the governments of Italy and India, as well as to that of Eduardo Frei in Chile. He is Director of the Center for Latin American Development Studies at Roston University. This article is in part a summary of two lectures he, gave at the Center, and published in Challenge, a magazine of economic affairs.

The death of Salvador Allende was a three‐fold tragedy. It was a tragedy because it has been taken as a breakdown of socialism, and socialism is a great, perhaps the greatest, ideal of this century. It was a tragedy because it has been taken as proof that socialism and democracy are incompatible, that only a dictatorship can impose socialism, but the Chilean experience offers no proof of that. And it was the personal tragedy of a man whose hopes and dreams had been shattered, ending in suicide or murder.

Salvador Allende died not because he was a socialist, but because he was an incompetent. After he took office, he accomplished a major redistribution of income that dramatically increased demand, but he did nothing to increase production to satisfy that demand. Instead, he printed money. A breakdown was inevitable, and the resulting inflation not only destroyed the income redistribution that had taken place, but lowered real wages below the level of 1970.

The election of a Marxist president signaled a decisive move to the left in Chile, but the events surrounding the erection must be put in historical perspective, Chile is potitically the most developed country in Latin America. It has evolved a form of parliamentary democracy, an efficient and independent civil, service, a substantial middle class, and a lively labor movement. It also has the good educetion system required for modern development. Moreover, there are ample natural resources and enough good land to assure an adequate food supply and, if properly managed, even some agricultural surplus for export.

What distinguishes Chile, however, is not only a vocation for freedom and respect for the law, but also a growing stratification of social forces: army, church, trade unions and the student movement. Since 1920, there has been a continuous historical trend—accelerated in 1964 by the Frei Government—toward increasing diversification of Chilean society and a corresponding change in political power. Participation increased rapidly. In 1958, 850,000 persons voted in the presidential election; by 1970, the number of voters had risen to about 3 million. Growing participation was accompanied by a movement toward the left and the increasing polarization of political groups.

In the first year following Mr. Allende’s election there was great division. Twenty per cent of the people were in a state of revolutionary euphoria; 10 to 20 per cent experienced a spasm of violent (un‐Chilean) hatred; and the remaining 60 per, cent seemed paralyzed by shock. The middle and upper classes lived in a fin de siècle mood: tomorrow we die. Instead of saving, everybody spent. One had to phone to find a seat in a luxury restaurant. Santiago almost became a swinging town whose ambience was reminiscent of the unreal atmosphere that pervaded Vienna the midst of the despair and doom of the 1920s. During the first few weeks there was a run on the banks, a flight of capital, and an emigration of many technicians.

The panic subsided gradually and the Allende economic program began. It consisted of a short‐run policy, which was Keynesian, and a long‐run policy of transition to socialism, which was vaguely Marxian. The short‐run program had three objectives: a substantial redistribution of income, full employment, and stabilization of prices. There was a recession in Chile in 1969–70, with some unemployment and considerable unused capacity. The Keynesian policy assumed that by raising wages substantially (they were raised on the average of 50 per cent), the increased demand would lead to the absorption of excess capacity and the recovery would therefore be, in a way, self‐financed. According to the plan, the main actors of the Allendista demonology—the imperialists and the landowners—were to be properly squeezed and eviscerated. Money, considered only a bourgeois veil, was increased at an unprecedented pace of 10 per cent per month and price controls were imposed.

After a considerable redistribution of income, the increased purchasing power indeed led to a great increase demand, and to an increase in production and employment which, if it could have been sustained, would have made the first year of Allende Government an economic triumph. Industrial production was increasing at a rate of 11 to 12 per cent. Unemployment, in spite of the fall in private investment, was almost halved, and economic well‐being undoubtedly improved.

It is not only obvious now, but should have been then, that this desirable state of affairs could not possibly have been sustained. Excess capacity in industry may have been 30 per cent, but it was not equally distributed among the goods for which demand was increasing. Moreover, there certainly was no excess capacity in agriculture, and radical measures of agrarian reform, whatever the long‐run structural effects, were more likely to reduce than to increase ?? production. Thus food imports had to be more than doubled. Many of the supplies necessary for the production of other goods were scarce and also had to be imported. The Government paid for these imports with the $400‐million in foreign exchange reserves it had inherited.

The squeeze and reduction of profit in private enterprise led to decapitalization in the private sector and a fall private investment. The redistribution of income to the lower income classes was not accompanied by any measure designed to increase the savings of the workers, which would have provided funds for investment. Last but not least, the price policy of public enterprises and of enterprises nationalized under the Allende Government kept prices low, vastly reducing investment funds in the public sector. Output and employment increased, but investment fell by per cent in 1971.

Fidel Castro correctly pointed out that “Marxism is a revolution of production; Allende’s was a revolution of consumption.” During his first year, Mr. Allende won the battle of consumption but lost the war by not fighting the battle of production.

Production was also hindered by the nationalizations. Under Mr. Allende, the nationalization of Chilean enterprises proceeded partly by buying up all the banks (paying for them and for subsequent expropriations with freshly issued money), partly by nationalizing big industrial enterprises, and partly by invoking a 1932 law which allowed the government to take over an enterprise whenever a strike or a breakdown would be against the public interest.

Taking over the banks is not the main point, Whether not it is a nationalized banking system does not matter half as much as what that banking system is made to do. The nationalization of the banks enabled Mr. Allende prescribe credit irrespective of credit worthiness—or any other consideration, A policy that directed the banks to operate efficiently would have had a completely different outcome.

The Flight of the Experts

The question of compensation is complex. For example, copper is Chile’s main source of foreign exchange. Had the Allende Government promised adequate compensation for nationalization of the copper mines, Chile would have been able to run the mines more efficiently and to open new mines. It was a matter of just a few people: the emigration of two dozen experts meant that the plans to expand production were never implemented. These experts, most of whom were Chilean, are now employed in Australia and elsewhere by the same companies they worked for in Chile. The international experts later brought into Chile from Russia and Japan were unfamiliar with Andean conditions, and their advice was useless.

Adequate compensation to the multinationals could have been something like an annual payment over forty years at a 3 per cent rate of interest. Or the payment could have been in newly issued bonds. In either case, this sort of settlement amounts to a confiscation of 30 to 50 per cent, an amount which is internationally acceptable.

Expropriation of the copper mines reduced Chile’s major source of foreign exchange but, even more important, expropriation resulted in less production.

The case of agriculture is also instructive. Chilean agriculture was characterized by the conventional inequality: a small percentage of large units controlled a high percentage of cultivation. But there were two types of large landholdings: those that were intensively cultivated and those that were not. In the first case, redistribution may have had socially positive effects, but the impact on production was negative. Under Eduardo Frei, agrarian reform was based on a productivity principle which forced the redistribution of land not intensively cultivated. That kind of reform should have a beneficial effect on production. For example, under the normal sharecropper’s agreement, the tenant pays rent equal to 40 to 50 per cent of the crop. It does not pay the tenant to cultivate more intensively—to invest in fertilizers, insecticides, or tractors—because half the increased product then has to be paid to the landlord; but it does not pay the landlord (often an absentee) either, because half his investment returns will go to the tenant.

Under Mr. Allende’s program, holdings above 250 acres were to be expropriated. For those farms already intensively cultivated, the effect on production was negative. Even this type of reform, if properly managed, could have been positive on balance. But seizures were completely haphazard, and many were illegal, and the effect of the uncertainty on production was enormous.

In the mining sector; nationalization was a popular and emotional issue. But viewed functionally, the Allende program was a disaster not only because Chile could not open new mines but because production broke down in the old mines. President Allende’s Government failed to induce labor discipline. The very same workers who loyallydemonstrated with slogans of “El gobierno es la mierda, pero es el nuestro” (the government is terrible but it’s ours) said: “Now we have our government, let’s celebrate.” On Mondays absenteeism ran 20 per cent. Thus the nationalizations failed in part because of the labor movement. The trade union mentality in Chile (and elsewhere) is not concerned with an equitable income distribution within the working class. The average wage of the copper miners in Chile was three and a half times the average for all workers. Nonetheless, they were the first to strike for a wage hike.

If after the first or even the second year, Mr. Allende had said: “We have established the basis of social justice and we are building a new socialist society; the coming year must be a year of consolidation,” he could have saved the situation. Lenin was not bourgeois, yet he proclaimed the New Economic Policy (N.E.P.) in Russia. Something similar was needed in Chile, but it didn’t happen. The economy slowed to It standstill and then lost ground. Queues formed. Workers took off to stand in the queue; half of what they got, they sold in the black market — and their profit was more than a day’s wages. There was a complete breakdown of labor discipline. Inflation reached one per cent a day.

Beginning of the End

The collapse came with the truckers’ strike. Those drivers employed by large firms had benefited from Mr. Allende’s initial reforms, but many of the truckers were small, selfemployed entrepreneurs. The strike began as a normal collective bargaining dispute, but rapidly acquired a political tone. The lower middle class was entering into a revolutionary euphoria of its own. The truckers wanted guarantees that the expropriations would not be applied to them. Eventually, their goal became President Allende’s resignation.

It was not just the lack of adequate planning or the inefficiencies of democratic Marxism that “caused Mr. Allende’s downfall. It was also his personal leadership. Being a revolutionary is like being in love. The characteristic of people. in love is that they do not believe that anybody else in their lifetime has also been in love. So they do not learn from other people’s mistakes and repeat all the same errors. This was eminently true of Mr. Allende and may now be true of the junta generals.

By August 1973, Mr. Allende’s power was gone. My estimate is that had a plebiscite been held then, at least 60 per cent would have voted for a new government. The people. almost wished for a military coup.

Despite the excesses of the Chilean generals—and there is reason tol fear these days for the state of human rights in Chile—I still suspect that their concept of the ideal leader is not Mussolini or Franco but de Gaulle. They have all read the memoirs of de Gaulle, they know what he did for France in the 1950s, and they admire him. Fundamentally, however, the Chilean generals (unlike the Peruvian or Brazilian ones) never planned to govern the country permanently. They are critical of the shortcomings of their society (both under Mr. Allende and before) but have no clear, positive ideas of what to do about it.

Voir enfin:

The Uses of Populism

Victor Davis Hanson

National Review

The economy, academia, immigration, and the environment could benefit from Trump’s unorthodox approach.

Populism of the center (as opposed to Bernie Sanders’s socialist populism) has received a bad media rap — given that it was stained in the past by xenophobic and chauvinistic currents. Who wishes to emulate all the agendas of William Jennings Bryan, Huey Long, or Ross Perot? Yet there were some elements of Trump’s populist agenda — mostly concern for redeveloping the industrial and manufacturing base of the American heartland, and with it creating better-paying jobs for globalism’s losers — that were not only overdue but salutary for the Republican party. His idea that broad-based prosperity could diminish tribalism and racial fault lines sought to erode traditional Democratic support.

Populism is certainly identified with lots of grassroots movements, from far left through the center to far right. The common tie is that ordinary voters feel estranged from an elite class in politics, government, the media, and entertainment — a phenomenon that dates from the Solonian crisis at Athens and the Gracchi of Rome to Ross Perot, the Tea Party, and Donald Trump.

Often prairie-fire outrage manifests in emotional responses to existing affronts rather than carefully crafted policies designed to remedy perceived grievances. (One can remember Al Gore’s 1993 pompous but undeniable evisceration on CNN of a stuttering, ill-informed populist Ross Perot, on the NAFTA treaty.).

All that said, these periodic uprisings in consensual societies are needed to disabuse an insular governing class of its sense of entitlement and privilege.

The spark that ignites populist movements is not so much disparities in wealth and status (they are not always French Revolution or Bolshevik-like class-driven attempts to grab power) as rank hypocrisies: Elites condescendingly prescribe nostrums to hoi polloi, but always on the dual premise that those who are dictating will be immune from the ramifications of their own sometimes burdensome edicts, and those who are dictated to are supposedly too dense to know what is good for them. (Think Steven Chu, the former energy secretary, who either did not commute by car or had a short drive to work, while he hoped that gas prices for the nation’s clueless drivers might climb to European levels of $9–$10 a gallon.)

We’ve already seen Trump’s anti-doctrinaire approach to jobs, trade, and the economy: his notion that the free-market in reality can often became a rhetorical construct, not a two-way street when it comes to trading blocs. Free-market purists might see the outsourcing of jobs and unbridled importation of foreign subsidized products as a way to toughen up the competitiveness of American companies and trim off their fat; but people who take this view are usually the ones who benefit from globalism and who are in little danger of having their own job downsized, eliminated, or shipped overseas. Few of us often ask whether full professors are very productive, whether op-ed writers are industrious and cogent, whether Hollywood actors are worth millions per picture, whether politicians are improving the nation’s lot, or whether journalists are disinterested and competent. Instead, we assume that because they all have well-compensated jobs, they are qualified, essential, and invaluable to the economy.

If Trump avoids ruinous tariffs and subsidies for inefficient companies, then his economic populism, combined with tax and regulation reform, might spark some job creation and undermine the foundations of the Democratic party. But there are lot of applications of populist approach in other areas that need commensurate reform and that would yield political advantage. Take academia. Right now, the campus is plagued by several interrelated pathologies: staggering student debt and costs, administrative bloat (often in conjunction with the vast investment in race/class/gender politics), an increasing absence of free speech and due process, and a shallow and therapeutic curriculum that does not guarantee the indebted students even basic literacy upon graduation.

Trump could announce that he was returning academic emphases away from administrators and professors to the student. That might entail reconfiguring student loans by calibrating them to cost containment on the part of universities (make ineligible for loans any institution whose costs increased beyond the rate of inflation). Truth-in-lending statements would provide students with a breakdown of university income and outlay. Trump could cap tax-free donations to university endowments above $1 billion and provide entering students with estimates of their approximate debt incurred upon graduation, the costs of serving that debt, and the employment prospects of particular majors.

The Department of Education might ensure students due process in all campus investigations as a requirement for reception of federal funds. A national exit test would reassure employers of the value of a bachelor’s degree. (If it’s acceptable for colleges to demand test scores upon entry, why not similarly quantify students’ investments upon graduation?) And the substitution of an academic master’s degree for a teaching credential in K–12 public schools would help shift emphasis from ideology to competency in the classroom. Finally, part-time and graduate-student instruction would conform to labor laws outside of campus, to avoid the present illiberal practices of often paying quite different compensation for identical work and preparation. The Left would mostly oppose all such measures because its current prime interest is the political support of the existing university — mostly its faculty and administration — not in improving the institution to enhance students’ cost-effective education.

Immigration populism is likewise sorely needed. That debate also needs to be turned upon its head. The great loser is the very idea of diversity, when immigration is not ethnically blind, meritocratic and multiethnic and multiracial, but instead focused on political lobbying that inordinately favors Mexico and Latin America. Other losers under open borders are the citizen poor, minorities, entry-level workers, and legal immigrants: They suffer from stagnant wages brought on by the off-the-books employment of illegal aliens; their public schools are more often directly affected by the infusion of non-English speakers, and they receive less-than-stellar treatment from overtaxed social services, from the emergency rooms to the DMVs that are swamped with millions of foreign nationals. The winners are usually elite Democratic and La Raza political activists, corporations in need of inexpensive labor, and the upper middle classes who hire domestic help.

The legal immigrant ends up ignored if not rendered a fool for in good faith following immigration law and naïvely expecting prompt attention, given his needed skills and prior education. Parity is a populist idea, and we certainly have been treating the lawbreaker with greater deference than the law-abider. Why does a U.S. citizen face felony indictment for identity theft or falsification of Social Security numbers, while we take such violations as simply a fact of life inherent in illegal immigration?

(Note: Trump’s biggest obstacle in deporting illegal aliens who have violated the law will be the Left’s pushback that driving under the influence, assuming fake identities, filing false Social Security numbers, and lying on government affidavits about social-service eligibility are serious crimes only for citizens, but not necessarily for illegal immigrants, or at least not serious enough to warrant their deportation.)

Environmental populism is also long overdue. The old noble idea of conserving our air and water purity and stopping the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources has morphed into something akin to a green version of the antebellum South’s furious opposition to internal improvements. California is the locus classicus of boutique environmentalism in which a coastal elite blocks new dams, reservoirs, and aqueducts while counting on existing water-transfer infrastructure for their own unnatural Los Angeles and Bay Area urban sprawls in areas without sufficient water supplies. Favored with balmy year-round coastal weather, West Coast greens embrace energy-pricing policies that fall heavily on others who rely on air-conditioners and heaters in far harsher climates.

Fracking, horizontal drilling, reasonable mining and logging, highway construction, and low-cost affordable housing are often opposed by elite progressives, partly because their own affluence allows them the luxury of stopping the sort of development that provides jobs, income, and a more tolerable existence to distant others. Elites’ opposition also derives from an Old South sense (rising up anew in areas of zero growth and ossified infrastructure) that progress must be stopped and modern lifestyles can be frozen in amber; elites, after all, have the time and money to disengage from the so-called rat race.

We are witnessing a great populist experiment on the part of Trump: Will his unorthodox grassroots approaches to existential challenges finally expose the progressive movement as one mostly fueled by elite concerns, as Republicans hold their noses and piggyback on his electoral inroads?

At this juncture, Trump’s populist fixation on jobs and trade has befuddled his enemies and offered new areas of populist agendas for his allies. But no one knows to what degree Trump’s personal excesses fuel his populist appeal — or whether they eventually will undermine his own agendas.

Publicités

One Response to Populisme: La révolution, c’est comme l’amour (The problem with economic populism is that it works – for a while)

  1. jcdurbant dit :

    Exterminer les colonisés n’aurait même pas été de l’intérêt matériel du colonisateur …

    Historiquement parlant, à l’évidence, la colonisation suppose un rapport de domination du colonisateur envers le colonisé, variable en intensité et en durée selon les lieux où elle s’est déroulée, mais elle n’a pas pour but d’exterminer les colonisés, ce qui, sans parler de l’aspect moral, n’aurait même pas été de l’intérêt matériel du colonisateur. Parfois, dans les périodes d’installation du colonisateur, et cela a été le cas, en Algérie, la colonisation est passée par une guerre de conquête, avec son lot de violences inhérentes à toute guerre. Les travaux d’historiens comme Jacques Frémeaux ou le regretté Daniel Lefeuvre nous ont cependant appris à contextualiser les méthodes d’alors de l’armée française, une armée qui sortait des guerres révolutionnaires et napoléoniennes, et ont montré qu’Abd el-Kader n’était pas non plus un enfant de chœur quand il combattait les Français. Mais cent trente années de présence française en Algérie ne se résument ni à la guerre de conquête des années 1840 ni à la guerre d’indépendance des années 1950. Il y a un immense entre-deux qui a duré un siècle, avec ses échecs, ses pages grises, mais aussi ses réussites, ses motifs de fierté. Qualifier la colonisation d’acte de barbarie ou de crime contre l’humanité est un non-sens historique, un jugement sommaire, manichéen, qui passe sous silence la part positive de l’Algérie française, celle qui a conduit des Algériens musulmans à croire à la France et à s’engager pour elle. L’histoire a pour but de faire la vérité et non de jeter de l’huile sur le feu, mais, s’agissant de «barbarie», on pourrait rappeler que, dans les événements tragiques de la fin de l’Algérie française, des Européens d’Algérie ou des musulmans fidèles à la France ont été victimes d’actes aujourd’hui constitutifs du crime contre l’humanité. Si on veut vraiment faire de l’histoire, il faut tout mettre à plat. (…) par exemple, (…) l’œuvre d’enseignement menée par la France en Algérie, certes avec retard, un retard dû à l’impéritie de la IIIe puis de la IVe République. En 1960, 38% des garçons musulmans et 23% des filles fréquentaient l’école, pourcentage qui était supérieur à Alger où 75% des garçons musulmans et 50% des filles étaient scolarisés, Européens et Arabes étant mêlés sur les bancs des écoles au moment où, dans maints États américains, la ségrégation sévissait encore entre Blancs et Noirs. Peut-être l’ancien ministre faisait-il encore allusion à la médecine coloniale. L’École de médecine d’Alger a été fondée moins de trente ans après la conquête. En 1860, le taux de mortalité infantile pouvait atteindre les 30 % dans la population algérienne. En 1954, il sera descendu à 13 %, pourcentage certes trop élevé, mais qui témoignait quand même d’un progrès. C’est à Constantine, en 1860, qu’Alphonse Laveran a identifié l’agent du paludisme, ce qui lui vaudra le prix Nobel de médecine en 1907. À l’école ou à l’hôpital, où était le crime contre l’humanité dans l’Algérie française? (…) L’opinion me paraît plutôt indifférente à la question: déjà, dans les années 1950-1960, elle était de plus en plus hostile à l’Algérie française qui exigeait des sacrifices que plus personne n’avait envie de supporter. Mais en France, l’esprit de repentance permet à certains réseaux d’attiser la détestation de notre passé, phénomène de haine de soi qui conduit à dissocier la nation. Et en Algérie, la dénonciation de la colonisation française cela fait partie des fondamentaux du pouvoir actuel qui s’est construit sur toute une mythologie autour de la guerre d’indépendance. Le drame nous revient en ricochet par les jeunes Français d’origine maghrébine qui ont été élevés avec l’idée que la France aurait commis des crimes à l’égard de leurs aïeux. Comment pourraient-ils aimer la France dans ces conditions, comment pourraient-ils se reconnaître dans notre passé? C’est un chemin difficile mais il n’y en a pas d’autre: il faut faire toute la vérité sur la relation franco-algérienne à travers la durée et à travers la multiplicité de ses facettes. On pourra regarder en face l’histoire de la présence française en Algérie dans sa totalité le jour où l’opprobre ne sera plus jeté par principe sur les Européens d’Algérie et les harkis, et leurs descendants.

    Jean Sévilla

    https://jcdurbant.wordpress.com/2010/05/16/polemique-bouchared-la-sauvagerie-de-cette-tuerie-dont-seule-l%E2%80%99armee-francaise-assume-l%E2%80%99entiere-responsabilite-from-el-halia-to-melouza-looking-back-at-the-fln%E2%80%99s-unspeakable/

    J'aime

Laisser un commentaire

Entrez vos coordonnées ci-dessous ou cliquez sur une icône pour vous connecter:

Logo WordPress.com

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte WordPress.com. Déconnexion / Changer )

Image Twitter

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Twitter. Déconnexion / Changer )

Photo Facebook

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Facebook. Déconnexion / Changer )

Photo Google+

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Google+. Déconnexion / Changer )

Connexion à %s

%d blogueurs aiment cette page :