Friday, January 02, 2009

More French than the French

Occasionally American conservatives profess a love for the ideas of the French. Nuclear power. The Battle of Algiers. And the gold standard, or its post Depression successor, fixed exchange rates. Here's today's Wall Street Journal enlisting Nicolas Sarkozy in the cause --

Now Nicolas Sarkozy and others want a new Bretton Woods. In a speech to the European Parliament in October, the French President said that "the monetary system should be rethought [within] fixed exchange rates." For our money that's about the best economic insight Mr. Sarkozy has offered.

Except that's not what he said. He said --

Nous devons porter l'idée d'une nouvelle régulation. L'Europe doit proposer ces idées et elle les proposera ... Que le système monétaire soit repensé entre des taux de change fixes et pas de taux de change entre les monnaies.


We must promote the idea of a new regulatory system. Europe must propose these ideas, and it will do so ... The monetary system has to be rethought, between fixed exchange rates and no exchange rates at all.

Sarko was not calling for a system "within fixed exchange rates" but between fixed rates and no rates at all i.e. unrestricted floating. So a standard call for exchange rate stability, albeit with his own preference more towards the fixed end, no doubt. But it's funny how the same conservatives who recoil at the notion of "world government" in most circumstances want the full global apparatus that would go with a global regulated currency system.

UPDATE: It's not clear where the WSJ got its translation, since it's not what Sarko said in either language, but an obvious chopping of the sentence before its final clause. Here's one contemporaneous account that does use the WSJ wording, right down to the square brackets -- from a Lyndon LaRouche blog.

No comments: