in the exam , Seven liberal ideas to reform our economyeditions of L’Harmattan, 2022, activist for a “real” liberal economy for France, the author and economist presents a number of original and radical ideas that are easy to implement.
Marc Albuzo: Macron was said to be a “liberal”, in my opinion, wrong. In a column on FigaroVox, she rightly stated that his “fascination with debt betrays that he was never a liberal.”. Can you enlighten our readers?
François de Quincey: Freedom is the concern for independence, and this applies especially to economic matters. At the country level, with each increase in debt, we rely a little more on our creditors and less choice of options.
Emmanuel Macron is one of those people who think that money solves everything and do not care how to get it.
Insofar as indebtedness is useful when it finances projects whose future repercussions will make it possible to pay the maturities, it becomes an unbearable wrangling when public deficit is allowed.
In so far as a tax being paid for public spending is an obvious process between the state and citizens, debt is an undemocratic palliative that allows spending without obvious consequences for citizens.
Emmanuel Macron is not actually a liberal: he leads by saying “don’t worry, I take care of everything” and that’s what he does: with religion. This would explain his apparent fascination with magic money, saving him all the inconveniences of harsh reality, which would force him to demand that the citizens make efforts.
MA: Your article is called Seven liberal ideas to reform our economy (Al Haramtan, 2021). It may take a long time to list them all here, but what is the main idea that will get us out of the current economic crisis, in your opinion?
FF: The economic crisis is not current, it has been going on for decades and unfortunately I don’t think a single measure can get us out of the crisis apart from applying the liberal principle of individual responsibility.
It seems to me that the main measure of the ideas I propose is the free monetary system for two reasons:
On the other hand, it is the drift of free money from the European Central Bank that allows budget slack that puts us in front of a wall of debt.
On the other hand, it is the current managed monetary system that generates financial crises that destabilize the economy. The inflation observed today is only the result of the liquidity mounds issued by the Central Bank.
There is a double error in the mission entrusted to the European Central Bank
On the other hand, he is given the task of regulating inflation: in inflation there are two components, money consumption and the appropriate increase in prices. If monetary depreciation does not exist, there remains only the special increase in product prices that makes no sense to try to fight it: it is hard to see how the central bank can fight the increase in oil prices set by the exporting countries. As for the actual depreciation of a currency’s value, it is generally caused by manipulations carried out by the central bank itself by influencing the money supply or the interest rate.
On the other hand, it is required to promote growth. It is also an impossible task, the monetary system is nothing but an accounting system of debt and credit entries, and only the real economy can have an impact on growth.
It should not be the central bank that arbitrarily sets interest rates or the money supply, but it should create and regulate a free market for debt and claims from which interest rates will appear.
The ECB’s sole task should be to ensure the integrity of the monetary system. If this idea is adopted, it will avoid financial crises, some unfair fortunes of the private financial system, but above all excessive state deficit.
Thus our country can solve its problems only by working on the real economy, that is, simply by working.
MA: Your ideas for a more liberal program are simple but also rebellious. For example, for National Education, whose PISA results are of great concern, you recommend “assign districts to national education”. You are looking for head-to-head Jacobin-Girondin, part of an old French story. However, you yourself realize that the fault in the school is not the centralization of the school, but the socialist ideology of “baccalaureate for all”. How will this “real decentralization”, as you call it, raise the bar?
FC: National Education is in a monopoly situation that becomes less efficient over time because there is nothing to question it. You cannot challenge a decision, you cannot take initiatives, everything comes from above, from managing itself bound by its agents.
If each district is responsible for all education policies on its territory, then its elected representatives will be keen to obtain the best results in comparison with the other representatives. The competition will not be played in monetary terms but in terms of reputation. Districts may have different curricula in terms of programmes, educational qualities or organizations, but they will always keep in mind that they will be compared to others. With such simulations, there will be a dynamic to upgrade the best teachers and the best teaching methods. Ideologies will be abandoned as parents and students will prioritize competence by requiring the least successful schools to adopt the best approaches.
From this diversity of different initiatives, excellence can be developed from one or two regions and then communicated to other regions. I am not advocating any educational system, but rather a freedom that allows the best educational systems to emerge and gradually replace others.
MA: You touch on pension reform, which will be the big issue in Macron’s new five-year term, which already portends many social upheavals. What do you think about retirement at 65, and what would you recommend instead?
F.F.: We are setting a retirement age which should not be up for debate, but rather a standard that is left to everyone’s discretion. To do this, the topic must be clarified between what falls under individual responsibility, pension contributions, and what falls under collective solidarity, i.e. a tax that finances the old age minimum.
The balance of the pay-as-you-go pension scheme should not be calculated over a year, but over such a long period that the deficits or surpluses in the year are just a debt or claim to the scheme that must be terminated. Naturally. It is obviously absurd to make the distribution according to the annual balance and not according to the amounts contributed in the past. On average, when you retire, the amount of pensions to be received, taking into account life expectancy, should be equal to the contributions paid in previous years. This is not the case today: the contributions paid are less than the pensions to be collected.
Once this principle is established, it is up to everyone to decide when they want to retire freely, once they have at least reached their minimum old age. Occupations that generate premature physical or intellectual wear and tear should be subject to excess contribution at the expense of corporations.
There is also national solidarity towards those who were unable to form an adequate retirement pension that is not included in the retirement contributions, which must be guaranteed through taxes.
Therefore, there is clarification on what falls under the contributions in order to leave each individual responsible for the terms of his retirement and what falls within the framework of solidarity that must be determined by the national representation.
MA: Actually, economic liberalism in your book looks a lot like liberalism with state intervention, doesn’t it? At the same time, the liberalization of the money market, the regionalization of national education, a more state system of ideological regulation, even apocalyptic for the environment. So why do you think liberalism scares France so much?
FC: Public intervention is necessary to implement the rules that allow or promote freedom, especially economic freedom, but the state must abide by this task and allow actors to operate freely. Exceptionally, it obviously intervenes in the event of a system failure.
Liberalism is misunderstood by the French, who mistakenly liken it to “laissez-faire”. Many “liberals” themselves did not understand that freedom is not a natural state and that, on the contrary, it is a human creation that requires rules.
Democratic demagoguery pushes candidates into power to provide greater assistance to their constituents. We reached high levels during the last election when President Macron doubled debt-paid election checks, forcing his rivals to outbid each other.
After all these populist gifts, the liberal reason for asking everyone to take their fate into their own hands is clearly unheard.
The question will arise when the end of the magic money comes: will Emmanuel Macron be able to extend the monetary martingale for five years or will he have to eat his hat as happened forty years ago, when François Mitterrand was forced to abandon the socialist mirage?
Interview by Mark Albuzo
Philosopher and essayist
author alone. Praise the meeting, Les Bellis Liter
Francois de Quincey, Seven liberal ideas to reform our economyL’Harmattan Editions, 2022.
François de Quincey, born in 1945 (75 years old): 2020 – author of economics: “Is Mozart content born?”; 1977-2018 CEO of Compagnie de Chemins de Fer Départementaux. Restoration of the company and its transformation into a strong and diversified holding company; 1976 – 2000 Creation and development of a real estate group jointly with a friend; 1970-1976 Hachette Group (various financial management positions); 1970 Graduated from ESC.
 “Emmanuel Macron’s infatuation with debt betrays the fact that he was never a liberal”: https://www.lefigaro.fr/vox/economie/la-fascination-d-emmanuel-macron-pour-la-dette-trahit-le -fait-qu-il-na-jamais-ete-un -liberal-20201130? fbclid = IwAR0gcmKw1sJ5FVqCXqYHtjS8cKqDpKSArrFT6T1NYEdQgA-HC9Pl6GX5LT0