Apr 262017
 April 26, 2017  Posted by at 2:02 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

EdgarDegas A la mer 1863


Something hit me this week. The maps which came out on Monday and detailed the outcome of the French elections, were telling a story, and a familiar one by now. A story of deep division. There are a number of such maps now depicting the Brexit vote in the UK, the US presidential elections, and its French counterpart.

In all three cases they leave me wondering something along the lines of: ‘Are you guys sure you want to remain in the same country with each other?’ Because to me that is not all that obvious, and I think it’ll get less so as time passes. For instance in the case of France, the ‘ideological’ differences between Macron and Le Pen are substantial to say the least, they’re worlds apart.

And if you’re worlds apart, why live in the same country? Here’s that French map:



As you see, the country is sharply divided between west (Macron) and east (Le Pen). So much so that you wonder what these people still have in common, other than their language. There’s no doubt it’s also a dividing line between the richer part of the country, and the poorer.

Thing is, that same dividing line is visible in a similar map of the November 8, 2016 US election results, in a slightly different way.



In the US it’s not east versus west, it’s coast versus interior (flyover land). But the difference is equally clear and sharp. In fact, probably what we’re looking at is that France has only one coastline, while the US has two, and in both countries people living close to the ocean are on average richer than those who live more inland.

And in both cases there is no doubt that wealth is a deciding factor in dividing the nations to the extent that they are. We see that in an ‘urban versus rural area’ comparison as well. Cities like New York, LA and Paris are strongholds for the incumbent and establishment, the parties that represent the rich.

There can be no doubt that we’ll see more of that going forward. It won’t be there in smaller countries, Holland for instance is not nearly large enough for such dynamics. But Italy very well might. It’s always had a strong north-south-divide, and its present crisis has undoubtedly deepened that chasm.

Looking at things that way, it’s also glaringly obvious that Macron is Obama (and is Renzi is Cameron etc.). A well-trained good looking mediagenic puppet with a gift of teleprompter gab, fabricated and cultivated by the ruling financial and industrial world to do their bidding. Macron, to me, looks the most artificial of the crop so far, the Obama, Rutte, Cameron, Renzi crop. There will be more, and they will get more artificial. Edward Bernays is just getting started.

Of course there is also a strong move away from established parties. It is more pronounced in France -where they were eradicated at least in the presidential elections- than in the US or UK, but that may be more of a superficial thing. Trump and Bernie Sanders are simply America’s version of France’s ‘ultra’ right wing Le Pen and ‘ultra’ left wing Melenchon. And Trump is running into problems with the remnants of the established parties as much as Macron will if he’s elected president.

Anglo countries seem to take longer diversifying away from tradition than others, but they too will get there. The various deteriorating economies will make sure of that.


A third map is of the UK Brexit vote. Once again, a sharp division, and once again with a ‘character’ of its own. If you ignore Scotland for a moment, what you see is blue=poor and yellow=rich. Broad strokes, I know, but I’ve been doing that with the first two maps too. There are only a few pockets of yellow=rich=remain. But yeah, fewer people live there. Same thing as in the US and France.

That the whole Brexit thing should now be negotiated by the Tories is a cynical irony the country owes to its adherence to tradition. That is how that backfires, too little flexibility. How the UK will solve its many ignored issues is anyone’s guess. Will Scotland leave the no-longer-very United Kingdom? Will voters wake up in time to not present the Tories with a free hand to make the rich-poor divide even worse?



There’s one more, and more detailed, map of France, which shows even better to what extent ‘Le Pen country’ is eerily similar to America’s flyover land. It’s almost poetic, a poem about how countries fall apart, about centers that cannot hold. It also makes me think of a locust invasion, by the way.



Every French and European body and their pet hamster is presently telling voters in France to please please not vote for Le Pen, in a move that resembles similar calls against Trump and Brexit. And who knows, it might work this time around. The anti-Le Pen frenzy is even stronger than the others, and it has Marine’s crazy father to use as a warning sign.

But as these maps show, it’s not about Le Pen, or Trump, or Nigel Farage. It’s about people being left behind in ever larger numbers, susceptible to voices other than the ones they’ve known for a long time and who never listened to them. And nothing is being done to address these people’s claims; on the contrary, things are only getting worse for them.

I saw a headline today that said ECB president Mario Draghi’s “Stimulus Could Blunt Populism as Unemployment Declines”. There’s only one possible reaction to that: what happens when he stops his stimulus?

The growing divides that all these maps bear witness to will keep growing, unless someone decides that neo-liberalism has gone too far. But the only person who could make such a decision would have to be one who neo-liberalism itself has made rich and powerful. So don’t count on that happening.

Count instead on more Trumps and Le Pens and Sanders’s. And also on more Obama’s and Macrons for the rich to deploy to protect their power and hold on to their riches. Increasingly it would seem they have to limit democracy -even further- to remain in power. So count on that happening too.

But don’t count on all these countries surviving as sovereign nations. The chasms are widening too fast and too much.

Home Forums The Great Divides

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    EdgarDegas A la mer 1863   Something hit me this week. The maps which came out on Monday and detailed the outcome of the French elections, were t
    [See the full post at: The Great Divides]


    “Diversity” has been achieved. It’s the “Conquering” that’s going to prove more difficult,,,and likely messy.


    It’s just another iteration of the same problem addressed a couple of days ago with the political continuum, where the left has disappeared. Of course if there was a left alternative then the opposition to the neoliberal order would just be divided.

    Speaking from America the old center of the Democratic party was barely left but it was anti fascist. That is what make it honorable to hate Trump, who isn’t a fascist but he just as well be one. Being anti Le Pen or anti Trump is honorable, and yet disastrous. Illargi and everyone else in the alt econ community seemed to think Trump stood for some possible good change but they were wrong. The enemy of our enemy, the neoliberals and their fellow travelers, are not our friends.

    Draghi has it right but allow that the stimulus could get much much much bigger and last a very long time. I am not saying it will I am just saying it could.

    Chris M

    Mr. Meijer,

    If you allow me, I’ll expand on your analysis of the map of the United States.

    It is true that there is a concentration of people who favor the status quo, or the establishment, because they benefit from it, in the city centers of wealth. This was especially apparent with the neo-cons who explicitly proclaimed they were voting for Clinton, even though they were camped out in the Republican Party.

    The concentration of Democratic voting was certainly on the coasts, in the big cities of Boston, New York, Washington DC, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, and San Diego. But you can also see it in the heartland–Pittsburgh, Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Detroit, St. Louis, Denver, Houston, New Orleans, Atlanta, Reno, and Las Vegas. Cities hold a high population of minorities and those minorities still mostly vote Democratic, especially blacks. These minorities generally are still attracted to the economic welfare promised by the Democrats and the Democrat’s identity politics.

    Leftist politics is taught at many universities, and those who believe in and benefit from jobs from centralized government, at both the state and federal level, congregate at the seats of government. Thus, you can see concentrations of Democratic voting at places like Madison, WI; Columbia, SC; Raleigh, NC; Iowa City, IA; Moscow, ID; Boulder, CO; Des Moines, IA; Pierre, SD; and Charlottesville, VA (also Washington DC, of course).

    Fortifying my contention that ethnic minority tend to vote Democratic, you can see Democratic voting in the map where Native American reservations are located–Wisconsin (Menomonie County), Montana, South Dakota, and North Dakota.

    You can see the evidence of immigrants voting Democratic, by the blue counties that border Mexico in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.

    Also, to lend support to your contention that the rich vote status quo, you can see the predominance of Democratic voting in the rich mountain resort counties in Colorado and Jackson Hole, Wyoming (might be some Democratic leaning environmentalists there too).

    I don’t know for sure why there is so much Democratic voting in the Mississippi Delta region of Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana. It might be the predominance of black voters there, including Black farmers in the rich soils of that region who vote Democratic.

    You could see some of these trends in the Republican primaries too. Marco Rubio, who is establishment, got a lot of his support in the cities and around and in Washington DC. The maps showed that clearly.


    The way I look at this feature of divide is that we are seeing a unity dissolving or breaking down into a duality. The unity of a belief system-capitalism/american dream/human progress toward a utopia/ science as the arbiter of truth materially/ reason as the arbiter of truth of mind- are all losing their meaning to western people. A feature similar I suspect to the fall of Rome and its world view. The splintering is leading I suspect towards chaos which is necessary for change but not sufficient as the system could spiral out of control and so no new belief system arises rather the human time on earth ends. It is signally a tipping point into something new which we may not like as a species.

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