Monday, December 17, 2012

A Very French Slur

The French magazine Libération had a really nasty swipe at Gerard Depardieu during the week, after it was reported that he had decided to take up Belgian residency in order to avoid a French wealth tax.  They accused M. Depardieu of being purely interested in money, an allegation that will have stung.  It struck me that such an allegation would never have been made here in Ireland, because it would have no effect.

In France, it appears that money remains only a part of their social economy.  Family, culture, spirit, art - these things are important to the French way of life, things that make life worthwhile.  During the Celtic Tiger, we lost a lot of that - if indeed we ever had it - and it's a shame.  We need to become more genuinely aware of the importance of non-monetary wealth.  I don't know how we get there.  But I suspect the French have figured it out a little better than we have.

Think of it this way - if we saw the equity in this country as more than money, more than GDP, and current account deficits or surpluses, how would we report on the success of the country?  How would we measure performance?  How would we consider our resources, and our investments?  How would we consider political success?  Bill Clinton was wrong - it's not just the economy, that's stupid.  It's about so much more than that, or at least it should be.

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