Quick-Reaction Alert

So France gets a new president. So I’m jumping from the window, running to the AFOE control room..

Nicolas Sarkozy’s first act as President has been to go for a “retreat” in the monastic surroundings of a giant yacht belonging to media boss Vincent Bolloré, who claims to have no business with the French government. Well, well, well.

Except for this one, under which his SDV Group logistics firm gets the job to carry the French diplomatic bag. €5.6 million to you. Or this one, of indefinite value, under which his firm gets the job of transporting cash (and medals!) by air for the Ministry of Finance. That is, Sarko’s old job.

Or, finally, this one, under which SDV gets the contract to provide all the French Ministry of Defence’s air charters, for some €36 million. Hat tip to Arnaud Labrousse, and these guys.

Transparency International Strikes Again

So the new Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index came out last week. If you are a development geek — cough, cough — this is like Beaujolais Nouveau Day.

Not that there are any /huge/ surprises. The top ten slots are dominated by the same countries, year after year — Finland, the Netherlands, Singapore. European readers can be cheered by the fact that European countries occupy 13 of the top 20 slots.

The CPI is, of course, a perceptions survey. They poll a lot of investors and NGOs and whatnot and ask what they think. There are some obvious issues with this methodology. Other hand, they try to be rigorous about it, and keep the tests constant from country to country and from year to year. If you’re trying to measure corruption — an inherently difficult task — this is probably about the best broad-guage metric we have.

Meanwhile, a few geeky comments.
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The Country That Has it All

Posting under the header: ‘More Signs That We Are In the Twentieth Century After All’ my young Argentinian co-blogger notes crypically “I don’t know what a XIXth (or XXth) century englishman would say, if we told him that English unions would one day protest against losing skilled jobs to India”……… adding…………”and, in the heels of our previous post about Sekhar Kapur interview, today the blogsphere is buzzing with news of the P2P network Kazaa’s agreement to distribute (in a pay-per-view fashion) the indian film Supari. If this works out economically, the sidelining of traditional distribution channels might very well enhance the global reach of Bollywood productions, specially among the growing Asian diaspora in the developed world. We are truly living in interesting times”. (BTW: I owe the post on Kapur to Marcelo: completely. If it wasn’t for Argentina, what would I know about India!).

In the comments I respond “Absolutely, there is another big push going on, Google’s innovative share offer is another example, maybe blog portals will be another. Something is really happening out there”. So it’s wakey wakey time. For the first time since the mid-ninetees the thing is really humming. First-movers, creative destruction, defining moments: get tighly back in your seats. Hold on for the bumpy ride.

And meantime, exceptionally, and on a boring grey Saturday morning: news from the country that has it all: problems, problems, problems.
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