Negotiation or stalemate?

“The most difficult thing in any negotiation, almost, is making sure that you strip it of the emotion and deal with the facts.”Howard Baker

Les Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Jackets) have been wreaking havoc (stinging hard) all over France for the last 2 months. Some have legitimate grievances and some, unable (as seen on French TV) to clearly vocalize their demands, just go along for the ride. Grumbling is part of the French national character and even when things are sitting pretty, the “ronchonneurs” will still have a go at it.

This is not to say that all is well in the land of Cognac and foie gras. It is not.

The biggest problem facing the world today is a glaring economic inequality. The disproportionate gap between haves and have not is endangering world peace; it brings the already boiling social kettle dangerously close to exploding.

As witnessed by the recent riots in France, many workers are chafing under difficult economic conditions and demand some reforms. But reform is a loaded word.

Every man is a reformer until reform tramps on his toes. Edgar Watson Howe

Yes, we want to protect the environment but we don’t want to pay for that. We want reduced taxes, better medical benefits, early retirement, increased social security but we don’t know and don’t care where the money is going to come from.
A balanced budget? Never heard of that.

Reforming a country’s habits and long-standing institutions is one of the most difficult things in the world. No matter what is being tried, some people will remain eternally dissatisfied.

Most of the people don’t mind making less money than the super-rich. What they want is being able to afford life’s basic necessities, plus a touch of luxury. They don’t care if somebody makes a million dollars an hour as long as they can live comfortably. This is not unreasonable.

What is unreasonable is a refusal to negotiate with a democratically elected government and senseless destruction (and looting) of property. There is a clear line between protesting and mindless destruction.
You can never get everything you want, but by negotiating you can at least secure 2 or 3 of your most important demands.

Les Gilets Jaunes are currently a bunch of disorganized lemmings (infiltrated by thugs) reveling in their newfound notoriety. But ultimately, they will need some leaders to represent them and negotiate on their behalf. A long stalemate will not play in their favor. In the long run, the man in the street is going to grow tired of the mayhem and turn against them.

Negotiation (and compromise) is the only way to get out of this impasse.

For everybody’s sake, negotiate. The sooner, the better.

Alain

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