war lessons

The return of war to Europe forces us to rethink our political priorities… and their funding. For Xavier Fontane, competitiveness and attractiveness is the best policy to increase military budgets while ensuring satisfactory social coverage.

The war in Ukraine brutally plunges us into reality, reminding us of the importance of the army for any people who want to be free. Taking a step back, it becomes clear that the first initiatives that allowed the emergence of nations, including our own, were the creation of four sovereign functions: armed defense, foreign affairs, police, and justice. The army is by far the biggest expense item. In our Western societies, the sovereign state has, in the long run, become the guarantor of personal freedom, which allows the personality of each citizen to develop in society. This freedom actually has a price: a strong and impressive army! We forgot this simple idea, living on a small cloud after the collapse of the Soviet empire in 1991.

Competitiveness and attractiveness

Everything changed with the rise of China, tensions in Central Europe, conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The war in Ukraine is a revelation that makes us stand on our own feet. We will have to pay for strengthening our defenses! The numbers make you think: the share of our social spending in GDP is now 32% versus 2.2% for military spending, while in 1960 it was 15% versus 6% for military spending. No matter what we are told, we face compromises because today’s debt prevents us from spending more. The only solution for a country like ours, immersed in the global economy, is to restore the competitiveness of business and the attractiveness of the country. This restoration does not come without consequences for each of us. This war will force us to reconsider all our policies, no sector will escape this.

Competitiveness and attractiveness above all! It is with world champions headquartered in France (we are delighted with the high CAC40 results) and newfound attractiveness that we will begin to attract investment from the world’s best companies to our land. Our German friends played much better than us, having raised 15 billion euros in a short time with Tesla batteries and the Intel microprocessor factory. Competitiveness and attractiveness is the best policy to significantly increase military budgets while ensuring satisfactory social coverage.

Request for solidarity

Example? Switzerland, which has become one of the most attractive countries in the world over the past fifty years. Read well! When Georges Pompidou died, GDP per capita was the same as ours; today we have $39,000 and Switzerland has $87,000. This means that at a social spending rate of 15% of GDP, he has the same per capita social spending as we do! If we are to reduce social spending, the benefits must be achieved first on the retirement side. Starting age should be increased significantly, consistent with increased life expectancy in good health; it is also necessary, as the Germans did, to introduce the concept of “demand of solidarity.” Claiming that poor work is better than terrible unemployment, even well paid at home, the German government has drastically cut employment-related costs. In addition, we will have to remove the word “welfare state” from our current lexicon and explain in the country of human rights that every right entails a duty. It is out of the question to question solidarity, but the people who benefit from it have a duty to society, and everyone must understand that too much cost to the state must be avoided. Let’s have the courage to say that we can’t have a competitive and attractive society where too many people get help.

Our public sphere must also question itself and recognize that it also serves the public. Its hypercentralization does not match the complexity of society. Exceeding standards deprives employees of accountability and dehumanizes it, leaving the decision to civil servants increasingly removed from the field… not to mention additional layers of cost. This was one of the concerns expressed by Jacques Ruff in his famous 1960 report on the obstacles to economic growth!

Energy reorientation

In terms of energy, the crisis is very clear on the direction to follow. We must rely on the fairy of electricity, who still has much to offer society; we must actively invest in nuclear energy, knowing that there is light, thermonuclear fusion (a mechanism that works on the sun, and which we can tame). The British, Americans and Chinese developed pilots. The experience of the EDF, which has suffered greatly in fifteen years due to doubts about nuclear power, should allow us to get back into the race again. Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind are profitable avenues if we improve batteries that allow their intermittent production to be integrated into distribution systems without disrupting them too much. Methanization also needs to be given its place, which in an agricultural country like France can produce very significant additions in decentralized and regular production. Thus, energy policy should be oriented towards new energy sources and reducing dependence on oil and gas. This is the best way to prepare for their disappearance and combat CO2 emissions.

The geostrategy indicates the axes to be taken in relation to other raw materials. Advanced companies like ours are already equipped, well-organized collection will reduce the need for materials. Recycling is the mine of the future. We can do without chemical fertilizers if we recycle animal waste. We have companies that can become world leaders in these areas.

Product of freedom

There is an existential dimension to our repositioning. A number of authoritarian countries, including China and Russia, want to demonstrate that they can beat democracies even economically. Let’s rise to the challenge and remind China that its prosperity is certainly due to the gigantic effort it has put in and the fact that it has been able to benefit from global markets, Western technology and a competitive market system. We certainly benefited from his rise to power, but China should be grateful to General de Gaulle and Nixon, who allowed him to join the concert of nations, freed from Soviet tutelage. The countries of Central Europe, which Russia seeks to take control of, are attracted by Western values ​​and democracy. Russian tanks did not meet young Ukrainian women carrying bouquets of flowers to them. Remember that GDP per capita in China and Russia is 10,000 euros, in Ukraine 4,000 euros. France, which lost its place in the classification of GDP per capita, is at 40,000, Germany is approaching 50,000, and Switzerland is close to 90,000!

It is true that our democratic systems are a site of sometimes fruitless debate, exaggerated arguments and, shall we say, wastefulness. However, this mode of social organization ultimately creates fertile ground that promotes crowds of creative individuals who can take responsibility. Newtonian physics, general relativity, quantum mechanics, the Internet, vaccines… are products of freedom. Even if there is confusion and annoying discussions, our society eventually breeds dynamism and creativity. A person, whatever one may say, strives for freedom and develops, taking responsibility. In order to protect these values, we must be more competitive, which requires social harmony, as well as greater effort on the part of everyone. We made geopolitical mistakes, but this aggression on the part of Ukraine is unacceptable. He must call out to each of us deep within. The heroic resistance of Ukrainians is a call to be on top militarily and economically. It is with these two weapons that we will defend our way of life, our freedom, and allow all those who want to embrace our values ​​(and there are many) to do so!

Yellow Ukrainian models are in the church in Kizhov

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