France ’06: ¥€$ to Futurity

Why is the rest of the world, including Australia, so stupid? Is it because, in Australia at least, we are currently experiencing a resource boom and because Australia is a net energy exporter the high price of oil and global socio-economic precarity is actually to someone’s benefit?

In the past fortnight, France has seen the growth of a protest movement that many thought impossible in the individualistic world so often decried here. ‘Our country has options,’ said 22-year-old medical student Raphaelle Delpech, who had lipsticked the words ‘CPE non’ across her face for the Paris demonstration yesterday. ‘Last week, it was announced that the French multinationals had made a profit in 2005 of €84 billion. It is a politician’s trick to try to convince us that we need to make sacrifices so those companies can become even richer.’ (from)

The same questions might be asked of Qantas or of Telstra.

However, there is a problem with the young medicine student’s thinking. Economic success is no longer measured in terms of profit, but rather the percentage growth of profit. Hence Telstra’s failure, even while it turns a massive profit. Oh, I am sorry? Regulation? $20 Billion in revenue? Watch any ‘respectable’ nightly news broadcast. But why growth and not profit?

The stock market functions on the speculation of future value of companies. Growth in rates of profit is the strongest indicator that a company will be strong in the future. Actual profit margins do not matter when economies are driven by massive private investment companies that produce funds for superanuation and public investment companies like the Reserve Bank that seeks to produce a stable dollar (unit of exchange) and control inflation (‘ground’ of future value).

The reproduction of the conditions which allow for the properly machinic accumulation of capital (Empire) or a brake to be put on the cycles of the machine? A kind of viral dissonace?

Even the notorious FOXNews gets part of what is at stake:

The law would allow businesses to fire young workers in the first two years on a job without giving a reason, removing them from protections that restrict layoffs of regular employees.
Companies are often reluctant to add employees because it is hard to let them go if business conditions worsen. Students see a subtext in the new law: make it easier to hire and fire to help France compete in a globalizing world economy.

‘Compete’ means to be properly subsumed into the machinery of global capital and the culture of liquidation.