Thursday, November 15, 2007
By contrast, the Sages ruled against the collection of racial and ethnic statistics on the grounds that Article I of the Constitution declares that France is a "republic, one and indivisible .... ensuring equality before the all for all citizens without distinction as to origin, race, or religion.
Giscard and Chirac sat together on the Council for the first time as ex officio members.
The Financial Times has issued its annual ranking of European finance ministers, and Christine Lagarde comes in last, although the FT seems skeptical of its own methods:
At the other end of the scale trails Christine Lagarde of France - one of this year's debutantes - who is ranked as the worst performer. France's fiscal recalcitrance continues to raise eyebrows across the rest of Europe while the hyper-activity of Nicolas Sarkozy, the president, especially in economic affairs, creates confusion about who is really running the show.
The FT guide, by nature, uses crude yardsticks. Ms Lagarde could well ask just how should a finance minister be judged - and over what period? What is the appropriate size for a fiscal surplus or deficit or the appropriate tax rate on labour or capital? But benchmarking performances has become as popular among European policymakers as talent shows on television - and there seems no reason why finance ministers should be left behind by fashion.
LATER: Le Monde follows suit.
Here are some related thoughts from Paul Krugman and Greg Mankiw, in agreement for once. Tyler Cowen takes a contrarian view, however. Cowen, like Laurent, notes the unsatisfactory state of the models used to predict exchange rate variations, on which Krugman is relying. Brad DeLong nevertheless seems to agree with Krugman.
For a diverting take on the fall of the dollar from a rather different point of view, see again Paul Krugman.