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Jacques Attali Headshot

You Are on Your Own!

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One would think that, on this day of Government reshuffle, too long heralded and overdue, I would explain, once again, what I expect from a possible new government.

However, I will not engage in this agreed-upon exercise, tired of doing exactly that for so many years. In vain. Tired of stating repeatedly, as Christophe Barbier has done here too, that there was an urgent need to reform the country, in a cost-effective manner and socially just. Tired also of outlining, in each successive article, report and book, the details of all the urgent reforms needed, making up the silent consensus of all who, on the left and right alike, have an interest in good governance; but having rarely enough courage to admit publicly the need and urgency of these reforms.

If I do not do so again today, to avoid being too repetitive, and not to bore my readers, it is mainly because I would like to urge each of us to go much further, to anticipate a further disenchantment and take a new wager like the gamble of Pascal: not the wager of the belief in God, because we've got nothing to lose here, but that of taking action on one's own behalf, right now, irrespective of public action. Because we have everything to gain from doing so.
There are two ways of looking at this:

Either the future government is not up to dealing with the challenges; then everyone will have acted in time to make up for his own shortfalls. Or, on the contrary, the government takes action. And once again: either it fails to succeed in its action, which will bring us back to the example above. Or it does take effective measures, naturally, I hope this will be the case, so in the end supplementing public action by personal initiative will result in zero loss for everyone.

Therefore, my recommendation to each and every one of my readers is clear: act as if you were no longer expecting anything from politicians. And in particular, as if you were expecting only the worse from the government to come. And, worse still in your expectations for the next governments, regardless of their political beliefs. For the longer it takes to reform the country, the more difficult it will be to do so. And the majority to come will have even less latitude than the current one, handicapped by the inaction from its predecessors.

In practical terms, this means that even a small improvement in social benefits, tax reduction or creation of public employment should not be expected, same for some positive decision of any kind.

You are on your own. That is what I say. In practice, this means that instead of remaining unemployed and wait for a suitable job, get trained, set up your business and create a job for yourself, with the loans that are still available; and if you have a boring job, you yourself invent a new way of doing your job, regardless of your occupation, more fun and creative. If your boss is bothering you, find a way (there is a thousand ways) to bypass him, and neutralize him. If you are an entrepreneur, do not wait on tax cuts to invest or hire; choose your strategy in terms of the world as it is today.

If this calls for your departure abroad, do it, without remorse, for a time, though you should not succumb to the illusion of exotic traps for the unwary.

The world tomorrow will belong to those who, today, will be able to abandon the idea of expecting anything from anyone. From their parents. Their employers. Their mayors. Their leaders.

If, in this praise of realism, you have an ounce of altruism left, and it is my hope that you do, then help those close to your heart to know also how to dare. Especially those who are too weak or poor to be able to take care of themselves. To do this, create associative life committees, and take control and assume yourself responsibility for the future generations.

Incidentally, the aggregation of these selfishness and private altruism will have a devastating and positive effect on politicians, by encouraging them to provide finally a justification for their raison d'être.

Care about yourself and your loved ones. And dare to face the saving presence of solitude.

j@attali.com