France and Greece elections: Threat to Eurozone recovery?

The elections in France and Greece won't bode well for economic recovery in Europe, according to Karlsson. 

Francois Mori/AP
French president-elect Francois Hollande waves to crowds gathered to celebrate his election victory in Bastille Square in Paris, France, Sunday, May 6, 2012. France handed the presidency Sunday to leftist Hollande, a champion of government stimulus programs who says the state should protect the downtrodden - a victory that could deal a death blow to the drive for austerity that has been the hallmark of Europe in recent years.

Both the French presidential and the Greek parliamentary elections yesterday were pretty bad. The  Greek election meant a choice between on the one hand incompetent and corrupt incumbents that have wrecked the country and on the other hand extreme left wing parties and an outright neo-Nazi party who promises that Greece as a nation will continue to be able to live at the expense of other nations.

The French election meant pretty much the same choice, except that Sarkozy wasn't as bad as the Greek incumbents and Hollande isn't as bad as the Greek opposition of left-wing extremists and neo-Nazis. In both cases, a majority of voters decided to throw out the incompetent incumbents and instead go for the even crazier opposition. In a way that is understandable. As one commenter put it, it was basically insolent for Greece's two leading (until this election) parties, New Democracy and Pasok, to ask voters to give them power again after the problems they've caused.  And though France has performed much better than Greece in recent years, the French economy has still been quite weak.

But just because the incumbents are incompetent fools who have wrecked the countries, doesn't mean that the opposition is better, as the people of Germany (and the rest of the world) experienced after they voted out the incompetent and corrupt Weimar German establishment and voted in the National Socialist German Worker's Party (the NSDAP in its German abbreviation) into power in 1932.

And while particularly the French but to a lesser extent the Greek opposition are nowhere near as bad as the German opposition in 1932, the fact remains that they  represents even crazier policies than the incompetent incumbents, as they cling to the illusion that it will continue to be possible for everyone to use the state to live at the expense of others, as France's greatest economist of all time would have put it.

This means that unless the electoral winners break the promises they made to the voters, the European economic crisis is about to become a lot worse because of yesterday's election results.

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