Friday, January 30, 2009

Capitalism: the French nightmare


There were several big demonstrations in France today and the largest one, as always, took place in Paris. It ended up at the Opera house where I took this photo. I thought it was pretty funny to take an anti-capitalist billboard in front of two shiny adverts for Rolex and Commerzbank in the background! FYI, the billboard roughly says: "Unrestricted capitalism equals people in danger".

54 comments:

  1. I guess it's time to take stock of capitalism or is that sell stock?

    Great capture of the Rolex sign and transposition above the placard.

    ReplyDelete
  2. While I was writing this on yesterday's comment page, Tall Gary sneaked in.

    Three stories about the demonstrations. On the London Times web page, a photo shows an empty platform at Gare St. Lazare. On the New York Times web page, a photo shows a platform at Gare St. Lazare full of people. Very odd contrast. These two stories said nothing of violence, while the International Herald Tribune says "100 youths clashed with police near the Opera Garnier, hurling various objects."

    ReplyDelete
  3. Comments on the London Times site discussed devoting government money to large corporations versus consumers. One person notes that giving money to consumers will not generate more jobs and spending, whereas giving money to corporations and banks will generate more economic activity. Well, that's one theory, but look what happened in U.S. The federal government gave billions, literally billions to financial institutions with the intent that it would create a pool of lending capital to stimulate borrowing and business creation. The banks took the money and...ate it. No increase in lending has occurred, not stimulation of new business. National Public Radio reported that the first thing the banks did with the money was hire more lobbyists to try to get more government money.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Last night, the BBC was referring to it as a general strike, including both public and private workers, and to expect all sorts of infrastructure disruptions. I was sort of hoping you would stay home and rest...

    ReplyDelete
  5. On a happier note, my favorite wine shop is having a sale: 20% to 40% off all wines. I'll offer a bet of Michael's euros about where I'm going as soon as I leave work...!

    A bientot, mes amis.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think I can see Michael whizzing through the masses on his moto-taxi

    It saddens me to see the US's problems trickling over to Europe.
    We've lost something like 100,000 jobs just this week alone, and nearly every day brings news of more large chains closing stores and factories. It's a desperate situation.

    We haven't taken to the streets en mass, yet, but I see it coming. The anger is there.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I remember hearing about the problems in the UK before it hit the US.

    I don't feel the same climate right now in the US concerning demonstrations.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Michael,you were right! How about $6.50(an approx. conversion) next time I see you?
    ET Suzy: Love your logo.

    ReplyDelete
  9. When I heard on NPR today that French people were in the streets protesting, I knew that Eric would be on the spot and take a great picture of it for us. I love the way the sign is right under the Rolex building.

    I don't know much about the whole economic arena, but I do know that even if things are good, you can't expect things to keep growing indefinitely. The global economy has been mostly growing for so long that I think we've forgotten that things have to slow down and shift before they can grow again. We're shifting and trimming off things that don't work, and we need to find ways to cope and change so that growth can start again. I'm no economist, it's just my opinion.

    Hope you have a safe night!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I've been watching it on the BBC. A French man was interviewed - about the pay rise demo - he said it was all at the wrong time but that it 'was typically French'. Then of course he did the French shrug to emphasise.

    The picture is great Eric! Do you think the protestors positioned themselves so for the same effect?

    I have been looking for you Eric and for Michael zipping through importantly on his motorcycle ride!

    With so many noisy demonstrations in Paree, how do you sleep? Do you see much of them from where you are, Eric, Michael or Guille? Annoying or essential?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Not a demonstration in Paris , say it isn't so ;-))))

    ==Alaska

    ReplyDelete
  12. Great framing of the photo, Eric - and very ironic indeed!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I want to know what it's like to be in amongst all that Eric. Eric? Wake up! Wake up and tell me. lol. Oh ok. I'll wait until tomorrow. :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hard to comment on this. Unbridled capitalism is probably not a good thing. On the other hand, the whole world has seen that communism doesn't work either... The answer probably lies somewhere in between, with enough freedom of enterprise, not too much government involvement, but some, to a degree. The trick is to find out what involvement is necessary. No easy answers.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Watched film of the demonstration/riot on BBC World News on PBS. Also stories from Zimbabwe, N. Korea, D.R. of Congo, Germany & Britian---news that is not reported on nightly news programs on ABC,NBC or CBS. This is why my friends and I watch BBC World News daily.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I believe it is my prerogative to add to the crown sheaves and sheaves of those stock certificates that will soon be worth their weight in Confederate scrip.

    "Look! A Wall Street parade! Oh, but what are all those minus numbers on the ticker tape?"

    Yes, Steve and Cricket, say it isn't so.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I agree ujima, and add a few foreign publications and it is astonishing to find out what we don't hear or see here in the US.

    For example, I picked up this week's Paris Match in the library and was shocked at the pictures.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I think most of us are caught up in the economic situations in our own countries. I do recall hearing that many folks in England were sinking financially because they'd borrowed from Iceland. We're all sinking in debt.

    I personally have not seen much shift in the economy in N. Carolina - still construction here, and no businesses going under that I've noticed, but this is rather a "booming" area.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I doubt that the protesters are wearing Rolex watches. (I admit I've lusted after one for years, but couldn't justify the expense.)Great juxtaposition Eric!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I love a good demonstration. I wish there were more of them here in the U.S. It's absurd when I think of what Americans let their politicians get away with.
    It's wonderful to visit here and see what is on everyone's mind too.
    Thanks Eric.

    ReplyDelete
  21. You've captured the irony perfectly, Eric.
    And, hey, TG is GF! And thanks, TG, for making me laugh so hard (comme toujours). Don't pretend to understand the subtleties of what's going on here. Will just say that I was recently informed by the Powers That Be that I now have 2 jobs: I'm the copy editor of 2 different magazines. This will present certain challenges, to be sure. On the other hand, I'm very aware that where there used to be two copy editors, there is now only one—and that would be . . . moi (whew). My company has let go about 250 people lately—is there any end in sight? Are the rest of you all right?

    ReplyDelete
  22. The concept of "give them bread and circuses" is translated to "give them junk food and TV" aux Etats-Unis!! If you're not totally pissed off then you aren't paying attention, and it is pretty obvious that millions of people aren't. If things don't start to even out soon demonstrations like this will be an every day occurence. Allocating $819 Billion Dollars to help bail out Financial Institutions by the US Congress is like giving your cow to the wolves after they have eaten all your sheep, just to placate them. Nope...no quick fix here!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Unemployment is at 94% in Zimbabwe. I heard that on NPR today. It brings my own little "struggles" into perspective.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I'm so tired of the gov't bailouts and the executives getting their promised bonuses (bonuses for what?) Meanwhile, as Main Street America looks on in wonder...these credit card/financial institutions continue to raise lending interest rates and in some instances are nearly doubling monthly payments for the creditors. It has not gotten better, but worse. More loss of jobs around the next bend I'm afraid and more home foreclosures too. The juxtoposition of this sign with the Rolex and Commerzbank is a nice touch. Now, was it Jeff who mentioned wine? Sounds good. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  25. What is the demonstration related to? What do these people want?

    ReplyDelete
  26. So tell us, Eric, have you managed to set up a photo shoot with Maty? ;)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Great capture Eric, I knew your sense of humor would prevail. Lots more photos of the demonstrations in Avignon on my blog today - 12,000 people in the streets is no mean feat is that little town. Some pretty good captions in the placards too.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I saw some of them passing by me and felt a huge regret not to be with them. Too bad.

    ReplyDelete
  29. You know what?
    So many people decided to stay home yesterday that it was a real pleasure to drive in Paris ;-)
    (apart in the area where was the demonstration, of course)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Excellent journalistic photography and your observations about the adverts above and what they stand for amused me. I applaud a country that enabled so much freedom of speech.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I sure wish I lived France rather than the US. This "unrestricted capitalism" sure has punished us with SUV's, large houses, and high incomes.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Lynn: SUV is the anagram for Samaritus Umbra Veritas, or somebody who looks like a Good Samaritan but is really hiding in the shadow of truth. Like the television preachers who take lots of money and have sex scandals with gay animals.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Oh, possibly realted to an SUV, here is a story about hackers and Facebook. Beware!

    http://redtape.msnbc.com/2009/01/post-1.html#posts

    ReplyDelete
  34. Oh yes I read about that 'help' scam. Thanks though Jeff.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Another possible meaning for SUV might be Sport Utility Vehicle, which Sucks Up gasoline, which is controversial as we have to go into debt, damage the planet and plunder foreign countries for such fuel. Or so I've heard.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Lynn. "I want to know what it's like to be in amongst all that Eric." Well, nothing special really. I did not stay very long, just to take the photo. Getting there was a nightmare because of the Police preventing cars - and scooters - to get close the demonstration...

    Maty? Well... be patient!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Thank you for replying Eric! So you weren't scared at the demo then.

    Ok Eric...I'll be patient, which I'm not good at ...for you. :)

    ReplyDelete
  38. Jeff...That was really funny! Mais..I thought the Preachers were having affairs with Gay Massage Therapists that also sold Crystal Meth as a sideline?? Gotta love their wives for going on TV and saying how much they Love and Forgive them though, probably a lot wiser than moving into a rental.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Hey girls did you notice I got a reply all to myself from Eric? he he! I wasn't going to rub it in, you know, but, well. I just had to wallow in my delight! Giggle. Me. It was just to me. Snigger. I feel blessed. LOL. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  40. Tonton: yes, I love the wife. I saw a short part of an interview with that guy, while I was at the health club, and the tv had the subtitles running with the sound off. All I saw was:

    Larry King: Do you still have feelings for men?
    Haggard: Yes, sometimes, but I restrain them now.

    This brings us right back to PDP: catechism without restriction = people in danger!

    ReplyDelete
  41. You weren't going to rub it in, Lynn? So what was that?

    ReplyDelete
  42. he he sorry it just slipped out lol

    ReplyDelete