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CHRONICLE | The three moments of the week by Dominique Seux

From the secret story of the 100% electric and low cost car launched by Dacia in China to the confidences of Elisabeth Borne and the call of three energy producers: three snapshots selected by our columnist Dominique Seux in the economic news of the week.

By Dominique Seux

Published on Jul. 1, 2022 at 6:00am – Updated on Jul. 1, 2022 at 9:48am

The lessons to be learned from the secret story of the project of a 100% electric low-cost Dacia manufactured in China. The confidences of Elisabeth Borne on the reasons for its relative majority obtained at the legislative. The fumbling of the executive in the face of the rising theme of energy savings to cope with the impact of the war in Ukraine. Three points of the news analyzed in the three words chosen this week by Dominique Seux. I must confess to a great admiration for engineers. Perhaps it is because my talents in mathematics and physics are moderate that I consider that those who know the « under the hood » of science and technology are worth a visit. Let’s even say it: they are sometimes better than the talkative literary journalists! We therefore recommend reading a book by engineers that is coming out these days: L’odyssée Spring – histoire et leçons d’un projet impossible (Dunod, 22 euros). Two researchers (Christophe Midler and Marc Alochet) and an actor (Christophe de Charentenay) tell the secret story of the 100% electric and low cost car launched by Dacia in China. It includes behind-the-scenes footage, reports of key meetings, but above all a detailed account of the designers’ intuitions and the arbitrations they had to make to bring out a multinational project (Renault-Nissan-Dongfeng). It’s obviously a bit of a « grown-up » read (it’s not a novel!), but it’s fascinating, because it’s the real industry and the real economy, far from clichés. Many managerial and project management lessons are drawn: notably what changes the emergence of the concept of administered innovation, when private actors must respond to societal demands formulated by politicians, in this case electrification.

Is Schumpeter out of fashion? Perhaps.It is a confidence of Elisabeth Borne: she is convinced that she has understood the real reason for the (relative) failure of the presidential majority in the second round of the legislative elections. This reason is to be found on the side of the show offered by France on the occasion of the final of the Champions League of soccer, on May 28 at the Stade de France. The images first, the calamitous management of the scandal second, would have made Emmanuel Macron’s camp lose about forty seats. Doesn’t this remind you of something? In 2007, an unfortunate statement by Jean-Louis Borloo (a minister at Bercy) on social VAT (in other words, a VAT increase) reduced Nicolas Sarkozy’s base. Naturally, we must decode this intuition of the current Prime Minister. This reading exonerates the head of state, which is essential in his eyes… even if it means charging Gérald Darmanin, the Minister of the Interior. But if there is an ounce of truth, we can see the role that the (perfidious, of course) English play in our national life, even after having left the European Union!

Energy Catherine MacGregor, the head of Engie, took the initiative to publish an article with Jean-Bernard Lévy (EDF) and Patrick Pouyanné (TotalEnergies) in the JDD last Sunday. The paradoxical side of their approach has ensured it a nice success: here are three energy producers who call for urgent savings, which is contrary to their best interests. But what is even more surprising is that the new government is very discreet on this subject, just as much as the previous one. Agnès Pannier-Runacher, the minister in charge, mentions a target of 10% but without much precision. However, the external economic constraint (the embargo on Russian gas) and the renewed attention to climate issues offer a great educational opportunity. Since 2017, it has been difficult to follow the winding path taken by Emmanuel Macron on energy issues, to say the least…

Dominique Seux