June 22, 2015

St. Petersburg´s Comments

1. Thank you for the invitation both to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum and, specifically to the Valdai Discussion Club Session. I have promised to come to Valdai several times in the past but I had not fulfilled that promise. I hope my presence here today will be considered at least a small substitute for it.
2. I was rather puzzled by the title of the session as well as by the formulations in the introductory leaflet that we, the speakers, got in advance. I am neither able, nor professionally well-equipped, nor sufficiently interested in discussing issues like the global or world system, Eurasia, the Northern Hemisphere, or new strategies for the 21stcentury.
I also don´t understand formulations such as: “dirigisme does not live up to expectations, while liberalism is not coping with the changes”. What exactly do the organizers mean by “dirigisme”? Is it the new name for communism? And whose expectations have not been fulfilled? Not mine.
Is it also possible or meaningful to proclaim that liberalism – which is a doctrine – is not coping with our current reality? Has liberalism been tried? Where and when? Is the extremely etatist model of the current Western world – with its undeniable shrinking of freedom, with its increasing manipulation of human thinking, with its government over-regulation, with its unproductive paternalism, with its political correctness and with its irrational doctrine of global warming, a manifestation of liberalism? For me, it is rather a manifestation of socialism, something we didn´t expect to happen 25 years ago, in the moment of the fall of communism.
3. We are the witnesses of a new era of confrontation between the West and the East, particularly between the West and Russia. This is frustrating, especially for us who were forced to spend such a long time in the East, as part of the Soviet empire. For four long decades, we lived in a divided world and paid a very high price for it. We don´t want to repeat the same or a similar experience again, even though we, as members of NATO and the EU, would perhaps be on the other side of the divide this time.

29 mai 2005, le jour d’après la démocratie

La première d’entre elles était, et demeure, qu’on lui refuse le choix.

D’abord en ce qu’on a essayé, par cette Constitution, de faire ratifier par le peuple son enfermement dans la seule option du libéralisme économique, quelles que puissent être les contre-performances, passées, actuelles ou ultérieures, de cette doctrine. La question n’était pas même de savoir si l’on était ou non favorable aux prescriptions libérales contenues dans la partie III, mais si l’on acceptait de voir constitutionnalisée une doctrine économique.

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