by Katherine Bayford
Thursday, 25
August 2022
Idea
14:17

Emmanuel Macron announces the “end of abundance”

The French leader has a bleak vision of the time ahead
by Katherine Bayford
There’s a lot to worry about lads. Photo by Aurelien Morissard/IP3/Getty Images

Yesterday Emmanuel Macron issued the most apocalyptic warning any European leader has given in recent memory. As the conflict in Ukraine drags on, he declared that Europeans are about to live through a moment of “great upheaval” that may signal “the end of abundance”.

What is behind such stark language? For one thing, the President badly misjudged his role as peacemaker prior to the invasion of Ukraine, and is now attempting to regain sober credibility as a statesman on the world stage. He is explicitly positing coming sacrifices as necessary, undertaken in the name of Ukrainian freedom.

Recent demographic shifts in France have led to conflicts over what French values should be, and the president is seeking to re-emphasise liberté, egalité, and fraternité as intrinsically French principles.

French workers will also seek to strike over the winter. Macron is pre-emptively attempting to label them as unpatriotic whilst simultaneously steeling his countrymen to accept sacrifices for what may come to be an increasingly unpopular strategy. 

There is a powerful contrast here with Britain. Frontline politicians have shied away from Macron-style warnings. Boris Johnson, attempting to cement the most successful diplomatic policies of his premiership, has insisted that Britain must “stay the course” on Ukraine. While British household costs will rise, “the people of Ukraine are paying in their blood.”

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace acknowledged that Putin will use Russia’s natural resources as a leverage in order to drive up energy prices and punish the West. “That’s why Putin must fail,” he added. But Wallace’s words were fundamentally empty: he knows, as well as anyone does, that Britain can provide no immediate answer for how Putin might fail.

Britain can rest assured that its actions will place it “on the right side of history”, but it has no coherent strategy to exit this crisis. Johnson has disappeared into a haze of holidays; Sunak and Truss have simply promised to “call Putin out”. Their references to the coming winter fuel crisis are oblique, with few explicit links made to Ukraine.

America’s independent energy sources will mean it is relatively well-protected from the disaster that awaits its Western European allies, who have failed time and time again to protect against supply-side shocks. Instead they prioritised ‘green’ policies, or failed to build nuclear power plants a decade ago under the justification that they would only become functional in 2021.

Unlike Americans, Western Europeans will, in Macron’s words, “have to accept the price of liberty”. These heavy costs — economic turmoil and electricity blackouts — will have to be justified rhetorically. Macron has made a head-start on his British counterparts. When the crunch really begins in months to come we will see if it makes any difference to his post-abundance citizenry.

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Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 month ago

These are Klaus [“you’ll own nothing and you’ll be happy”] Schwab’s words coming out of Macron’s mouth. The elites viewed COVID as a chance to implement their agenda. They viewed the Russia invasion the same way. They currently view inflation the same way.

When your goal is lower the masses’ standard of living (what else could Schwab’s comment actually mean?) to near serf status, every crisis is just a chance to continue that agenda. This is Macron’s play here, “I’m not impoverishing you; it’s just the way the world is now.” It’s a lie, but the elites lies have been swallowed whole for the last few years, so why stop now?

Last edited 1 month ago by Brian Villanueva
Tony Buck
Tony Buck
1 month ago

Schwab and Macron are too stupid to see that their fate is bound up with that of the West.

No new economic powerhouse will emerge as a power base for them.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 month ago
Reply to  Tony Buck

Macron might be counting on the transhumanists to enable his non-insect eating future lifestyle, but I really can’t think what’s in it for that ugly fossil, Schwab. Even if he somehow manages to merge himself with tech so he can live another hundred years, that’s a lot of mirrors to destroy.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 month ago

It is almost as if they don’t care about elections any more. I find it all very puzzling. Here in Canada Trudeau is the same – his policies make no sense – piss people off – but he doesn’t seem to care.

J Bryant
J Bryant
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

And yet he was re-elected. Same with Macron. I’m not trying to start an argument; I’m just constantly surprised that the same group of unpopular leaders get re-elected. Looks like the Dems are now on track to do pretty well in the US midterms too.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 month ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I think even the most gullible consumers of mainstream media will start to have doubts when the lights go out, and everyone is cold and hungry. I think this may be the turning point when reality overwhelms propaganda. Most people aren’t interested in politics unless they feel it directly impacts them. This is going to directly impact everyone in Western Europe. Something similar has happened with Covid where only the most brainwashed citizens still buy the narrative.

franco cout
franco cout
1 month ago

Agree. He is manufacturing consent. Macron and his WEF buddies coordinated the global pandemic response, and pushed Russia’s NATO buttons knowingly… it is part of their deconstruction effort to save the planet for themselves by lowering first world living standards to third world level. Meanwhile, they will attempt to increase their control through mass media propaganda and eliminating dissenters voice by force or with tech cleansing. Resist!

Aaron James
Aaron James
1 month ago
Reply to  franco cout

World Economic Forum, Young Global Leaders – it really is out to get you, and we have their traitors within our gates

”A hidden alliance of political and corporate leaders exploiting the pandemic with the aim of crashing national economies and introducing a global digital currency, and these leaders include President of France Emmanuel Macron, Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern, and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson.”

Galagaro
Galagaro
1 month ago
Reply to  Aaron James

What’s New Zealand got to do with this ? Don’t be weird .

Sevo Slade
Sevo Slade
1 month ago

Agreed. However, curiously the only thing that never gets downgraded is the size and expense of the state. And taxes, of course. Those defy the alleged laws of gravity, all the while massively increasing the debt load on future generations.

Margaret TC
Margaret TC
1 month ago

Macron’s intervention is another illustration of his insulation from the lives of millions of French citizens who have never known abundance and who are set to experience real hardship, unlike the wealthy few who will merely have to make a few cuts, for instance to the salaries of their domestic staff.

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
1 month ago
Reply to  Margaret TC

”I want YOU to die for OUR country”

Toby Aldrich
Toby Aldrich
1 month ago

Hmmm, where have I heard this before? Ah yes, Jimmy Carter 1977.
https://youtu.be/-tPePpMxJaA
Now, just because he was massively, embarrassingly, 100% wrong, does not mean that Macron and our Malthusian, doom laden eco catastrophists are as well. On the other hand, what we know is that we have abundant energy still in the ground, mostly in the form of gas, being the ideal transition energy source while we develop newer, cleaner and better sources of energy.
Make no mistake: we are going through a tragic period of self inflicted harm. The Greens would make it worse if they could.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 month ago
Reply to  Toby Aldrich

You also heard Obama claim that slow economic growth and meager opportunity, “is the new normal”. Then Trump was elected and smashed that view into smithereens. No wonder they must delete him.

Peter B
Peter B
1 month ago

The only certainty here is that it will never be the “end of abundance” for Macron and his ilk. Suffering is for the little people.
In fact, this economic adjustment has been a long time coming and is nothing whatever to do with Ukraine. Europe has been losing competitiveness relative to Asia for over two decades – they work harder and have a far smaller welfare state to support. The bloated European welfare state model is a luxury we can no longer afford. The European demographics are awful and there are no pension savings funds. Europe is still in denial on these things.
So this pretence that Macron is being straight with the French people is just plain wrong. As ever, the French will do anything to avoid facing the need to reform and become more efficient. Far easier to blame Russia/Ukraine and pretend reality isn’t happening.

Last edited 1 month ago by Peter B
Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 month ago

Macron is right to say this, but I read it as a transparent attempt to ape Germany’s Robert Habeck who has made similarly bald statements about what we’re all up against this winter and beyond…and has become more popular and respected as a result. Generally…he gets heckled at public outings but I think most voters appreciate being treated like adults.

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
1 month ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Yes, but few voters appreciate being impoverished.

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
1 month ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Trump warned Germany. And the Germans laughed behind their hands.

Last edited 1 month ago by Roger Sponge
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 month ago
Reply to  Roger Sponge

6D chess.

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
1 month ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Trump warned Germany, And they laughed behind their hands.

Mike Bell
Mike Bell
1 month ago

I wouldn’t call it ‘the end of abundance‘, I’d call it ‘the end of a deluded, consumption-obsession’.
Much of the developed world has gotten used to a world of cheap energy fuelling energy-intensive agriculture, houses so warm people wear t-shirts in winter, travel so cheap people drive miles for a meal out, clothes so cheap they wear them once, food so cheap they waste 30% of it and 50% are overweight etc
It’s the end of that.
People have become addicted to it and so fear the future. We need to look back to our near history and see how people lived before this grand delusion. Many of us lived happy, healthy lives.

  1. Buy warm clothes
  2. turn down the heating
  3. eat less
  4. cook from scratch
  5. etc

We will adjust.
This does not imply we abandon people, but, thinking government can solve these problems as we demand ‘business as usual, is a delusion.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike Bell

Cant afford to cook, mate. No gas. Meat too expensive.

M. M.
M. M.
1 month ago

Katherine Bayford wrote, “Recent demographic shifts in France have led to conflicts over what French values should be, and the president is seeking to [re-emphasize liberty, equality, and fraternity] as intrinsically French principles.”

France suffers from two threats: the external one from Russia and the internal one from anti-Western immigrants.

The impact of the latter threat is easily seen in the United States. By 2040, the United States will cease being a Western nation, due to open borders. By 2040, most Americans will reject Western culture, and Hispanic culture will dominate. In California, 40% of the residents are Hispanic. Most residents of the state already reject Western culture, and Hispanic culture dominates.

Unless the French government immediately halts further immigration, France will suffer the American fate. French culture will decline to a minority culture, and non-Western cultures (e.g., Middle-Eastern culture) will dominate.

Get more info about this issue.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 month ago
Reply to  M. M.

He’s here again everybody! Somehow trying to shoehorn his unlikely theory about Hispanics in America into a story about western Europes woeful lack of foresight into their energy supplies

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 month ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I think he means not Spanish like in Spain but immigrants from South America and Central America basket case countries.
Reality is these countries are disfunctional because of people populating them.
Maybe with immigration at lower level, these people would integrate and adopt USA culture.
With uncontrolled immigration they would prevail.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 month ago
Reply to  M. M.

I would be happy with Hispanic immigration to Europe. In fact its not Hispanic immigration per say thats the problem, but the ideologues in the US university system – exported back here, that are anti western. Otherwise Hispanics would integrate over time.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 month ago
Reply to  M. M.

It’s difficult to understand your pre-occupation with Hispanics as being non-Western? Spain has always been a Western country. And, for the most part, Hispanics have a Western cultural heritage, being very family oriented and Catholic. They are an extremely industrious people compared to many other groups that live here in America. If lily white people with Western European heritage see no reason to reproduce any longer, then who better to take over some day? It will happen whether you like it or not.

Richard Barrett
Richard Barrett
1 month ago

No sensible people will accept such sacrifices while the countries involved refuse to talk peace.

jane baker
jane baker
1 month ago

The Ukraine people are not “paying in blood,”. Watch YouTube “pavlo from ukraine”. Its not our fight anyway and we should be keeping out of it.
As President Biden told a journalist in an unguarded moment its a proxy war on Russia by the USA. I’m glad I grew up in a stringent way. I can cope with having little. It doesn’t bother me.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 month ago

Oh. not those drated Hispanics again.

Adam Grant
Adam Grant
1 month ago

As fossil fuels have become more difficult to extract (energy returned per energy expended is decreasing) economies have been using less of them. Economic growth has thus depended on increasing automation for the last several years. Solar and wind capacity is increasing geometrically from a small base; within the next decade increases in renewable energy will dominate decreases in fossil energy, leading to cheaper power for all. Combined with continued automation, we should experience a golden age starting around 2030.

Norm Haug
Norm Haug
1 month ago
Reply to  Adam Grant

S

jane baker
jane baker
1 month ago
Reply to  Adam Grant

Ha Ha Ha.

Angelique Todesco
Angelique Todesco
1 month ago
Reply to  Adam Grant

I wish I could believe the bit about a new golden age in 8 years, I would like my son to have the wonderful benefit of starting his employment years with the optimism of the 80s/90s when I was starting out.

Kevin R
Kevin R
1 month ago
Reply to  Adam Grant

Except there won’t be any jobs other than working in care homes and delivering junk food and foreign-made trash to the miniscule tech elite who can afford it.