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The city of Detroit, in the north of the United States, was forced Friday June 14 to default on part of its colossal debt of 18.5 billion dollars (13.9 billion euros) because of its great difficulties financial. In lack of liquidity, the municipality decided to impose a moratorium on payments that were due Friday and proposed a restructuring plan to certain creditors who should decide within 30 days.
The project plans to isolate 7 billion payments due by the city, including pension funds, which would no longer be fully guaranteed. If the restructuring is rejected, the city could face the biggest bankruptcy in the history of the United States.
It’s “50/50”, evaluated Kevyn Orr, an expert appointed by the governor of the State of Michigan to manage the problems of the city, former American cradle of the automobile. “Financial mismanagement, shrinking population, eroding tax base over the past forty-five years have brought Detroit to the brink of ruin”, he added to the press.
PUBLIC SERVICES IN BERNE
After the announcement of the partial default, the Standard and Poor’s financial assessment agency lowered the municipality’s credit rating to “CCC-“, which corresponds to very risky bonds. However, Mr. Orr assured that the “Detroit’s road to recovery began today”.
Once the fourth most populous city in the United States, Detroit has seen its population shrink by more than half in sixty years, from 1.8 million in 1950 to 685,000 today. Racial tensions and riots that broke out during the civil rights movement in the 1960s accentuated the movement of white middle-class populations to the suburbs or out of town.
Businesses have followed suit, eroding tax revenues and forcing the reduction of certain public services. Detroit, weighed down by rampant crime, for example, is unable to provide public lighting in all of its streets.
Arnaud Montebourg is on the move, this Monday, June 10, in Cestas in Gironde, on the theme of the attractiveness of France. The Minister for Productive Recovery will visit the Mondelez International factory, formerly Kraft Foods, in the afternoon.
The factory was acquired in 2007 by Kraft Foods, and primarily produces cookies under the LU brand. Arnaud Montebourg is to meet Bruno Luisetti, president of Mondelez France.
Mondelez International employs 110,000 people worldwide, and markets 165 brands of food products. Among the best known: Milka, Lu, Carte Noire and Philadelphia. In two years, the American spread has managed to find a place in France.
8% market share
Philadelphia has gone from a century old brand to a “billionaire” brand. It alone generates two billion dollars in turnover, or more than 1.5 billion euros. Mondelez International relies heavily on France as a strategic lever for growth. Four million French households have already been won over by this cheese from the United States.
In just two years, Philadephia has succeeded in establishing itself in the cheese spread, behind St Môret, Boursin or Tartare. The brand has won 8% of market share and generates ten million euros in turnover. And this is only the beginning, the group has given itself three years to challenge the leader.
What appeals to consumers is its novelty, its practicality, both spreadable and cookable. The recipe has been specially revised for the French market.
>> Montebourg wants “made in France” shelves in supermarkets
>> Who are the leaders in mass consumption?
With 8% of market share in value in the category of fresh spreads for adults (+ 9% from 2010 to 2012), and more than 4 million consumer households, the European leader in the segment wants to strengthen its innovative brand image and double its market share in 3 years. To achieve its objectives, Philadelphia intends to activate levers and develop the frequencies of consumers such as breakfast, like our European neighbors. In this strategy of winning over new consumers, Philadelphia set up an ephemeral sandwich bar in Paris from June 5 to 9.
“France is a success”
If France represents only 3% of Philadelphia’s sales in Europe, the brand plans to allocate 15% of total European media investment. “For the time being, France remains a small country but it has been a real success,” said Chrystel Barranger, president of the Philadelphia cheese category in Europe. In the space of two years, Philadelphia has become the main contributor to the growth of the segment (+ 7% in value in 2012) and has thus forced the other players in the category to innovate with dynamic offensive strategies. After arriving on the original Philadelphia Milka reference in 2012, the brand will launch a new gourmet and less acidic recipe in September 2013 and has just offered an individual portion format (17gr x 6) on nature, garlic and herbs, and milka. In its strategy of development of consumption, breakthroughs could take place on the use of the product in salads or on culinary sauces as in Great Britain or even co-branding with the alliance of Tuc and Philadelphia as in Italy .
The city of Detroit, Michigan, USA, is perhaps the most visible, current and obvious example of the state’s inability to fulfill the missions supposedly justifying its existence.
By J. Sedra.
The city of Detroit, Michigan, USA, is perhaps the most visible, current and obvious example of the state’s inability to fulfill the missions supposedly justifying its existence. The municipality is bankrupt, unable to finance even the police or local courts, let alone maintenance of the roads, fire brigades or social services. But this is only a still too complacent way of presenting the situation of the city.
Faced with ever lower tax revenues despite (or rather because of) the increase in taxes, municipal officials knowingly cut first the budgets of the most essential or most visible services, in order to rally public opinion to them. : This dubious strategy is called the “Washington Monument syndrome”, a term that derives from the detestable habit of the National Park Service of threatening to close the Washington Monument (very popular and appreciated) at the slightest sign of a possible budget reduction.
For example, there is no longer any garbage collection if not very partially and irregularly, and the police (managed by the municipality, as in the whole country) has seen its staff reduced but above all asked to concentrate on “profitable” missions. »Like inflicting the maximum number of fines on motorists, neglecting the protection of citizens and the maintenance of order. Thus, the 911 emergency line is only really open during office hours, with victims being asked to “call back at 8 am”. Even a disappointment in public schools, another clearly visible service: at present only one in four pupils reaches the level equivalent to the baccalaureate. Likewise with the bus lines, where the absenteeism of civil servants and the level of dilapidation of structures reach new heights.
Why such carelessness? It is in fact, for the mayor (Democrat) Dave Bing, to continue his work without questioning as long as it is technically possible. He has thus persisted in increasing public spending against all odds for years, on the basis that in any case it would be necessary for the taxpayers, local as federal, to bail him out once faced with a fait accompli. When this strategy failed and the municipality found itself de facto in a bankruptcy situation, he decided to force the hand of the population, once again: for example, after reducing the most visible municipal services (see above), he proposed a sale of municipal bonds for a targeted amount of $ 100 million, touted as the only hope to restore these services – but also used to justify begging Michigan and the Federal Congress for a ” bailout” … one more.
At the heart of this perverse and coercive method is the key concept that claims to justify the legitimacy of the state: the idea that only a public monopoly financed by force (by taxes and duties) can provide the services that have, in Detroit, was indeed taken hostage, and that there is no alternative.
Ironically and despite himself, Mayor Bing could be the gravedigger of this belief.
How the free market picked up the torch of a resigning state
Ask a government official, and he will almost always assure you that without a State society will inevitably turn into chaos, clan strife and disorganization, that the poor will be left behind while the rich few will be left behind. war by private militias interposed to seize the territory, etc.
The reality of the facts, in Detroit, a city already well abandoned by its state, is totally contrary to this delusional and complacent fiction.
Tired of the inefficiency of the police, the inhabitants have armed themselves, retaliate against the criminals and have even already organized and financed their own law enforcement services. For example Threat Management Center, which in practice turns out to be much less violent and intrusive than the “real” police and much more effective (90% reduction in crime and delinquency wherever they operate), for less, and above all which protects the most deprived for free, unlike municipal services. Whenever its founder, Dale Brown, offered to cooperate with the local police, the latter declined because they were not very interested in the pure prevention objectives pursued by TMC.
In terms of buses, there are quite a few students who have tried to compensate for the resignation of the municipality on their own… but it has firmly prevented them from doing so. It was therefore local entrepreneurs who took over, and founded the Detroit Bus Company, in defiance of the municipal monopoly on public transport. An initiative that works: instead of following fixed lines at fixed times, the buses run continuously, you call, send an SMS or click on a dedicated smartphone application, and the vehicles, decorated in an “urban” style and equipped with Free Wi-Fi hotspots, pick you up shortly after and drop you off at the destination served. The ticket, valid all day and for all of Detroit and (for now) part of its suburbs, is only $ 5. And unlike municipal buses, they offer a full refund if the service fails.
Similar private initiatives spontaneously took over from the resigned municipality in many other areas: low-cost private car parks, children’s parks, bars, underground market places, etc.
Even abandoned buildings and land, left in ruins or fallow land by the municipality, which is generally content to barricade them with barbed wire, began to be reclaimed, rehabilitated and reused by the inhabitants, for example creating an organic agricultural offer and local to supply the shops of the city center at a lower cost.
The cultural side is not left out: without a license, authorization or municipal permit, the inhabitants launched a series of beer festivals with local sauce, Beer garden on the model ofOktoberfest German, or even popular “picnics in white”, helping to recreate an identity in the city.
In a nutshell: Detroit could not begin to truly revive and progress until it got rid of its government. The permanent demise of the state might just be the best thing that can happen, and maybe – who knows? – transform the whole area into charter city, a free city under private law. Emptied of bureaucracy, coercion and the condescending attitude of municipal services which killed the spirit of community, the place was finally left free for the expression of real solidarity, integrity and pragmatism of the inhabitants, driven by the needs , desires and passions to act freely, rather than by a dominating desire to maintain the authority of some over all, at all costs.
More information, photos and testimonials are available on Karen de Costner’s blog.
On the Web.
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