The Human Value Index of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
"Public opinion will be led to adopt, without knowing it, the proposals that we dare not present to them directly...All the earlier proposals will be in the new text but will be hidden and disguised in some way." - Valéry Giscard d'Estaing. This is perhaps the most controversial statement by Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, the former French president who passed away on the 2nd December 2020. "Giscard", as he is often called in France, made this comment on the Treaty of Lisbon which replaced the failed project of a European Union Constitution. The latter was rejected by French and Dutch voters in the 2005 referendums held across Europe. Back then, these rejections were the biggest setback for Europe before the 2016 Brexit result. Considering the fact that Giscard was a passionate advocate of European construction, it can safely be assumed that these results did not sit well with him. After all, he had dedicated a huge part of his career to the idea that all the countries within the European Union should follow a common set of rules. So, did Giscard make this comment to express his deep disappointment? I do not know. However, I believe that it reveals a tiny part of this great man's character. This was clearly someone who did not take no for an answer and who had his own ways of winning debates whether these involved a whole continent or two presidential candidates facing each other before being judged by voters. "I will find a way," could have been his motto.
Would this motto belong to Giscard if he was part of the Market Dystopia universe? I believe so, but that does not necessarily mean that it would have served him well against the immensely powerful individuals that are present in the novel. There are people that stand head and shoulders above the leaders of the most powerful countries in the real world and this fact is highlighted in Market Dystopia. Giscard would win many battles as a politician, with his Human Value Index soaring as a result, but he would inevitably reach a point where a craftier and more Machiavellian opponent (another François Mitterand?) would take him to battlegrounds where he cannot compete. What would Giscard do when faced with such a situation? Well, he would try harder since he would be convinced that his credentials, skills and competence make him the likely winner. But politics have a lot more to do with emotions than logic and an adversary who possesses a great command of this truth would defeat Giscard and put an end to his ambitions to dominate the upper reaches of the Market Dystopia hierarchy. This does not imply that Giscard would be finished. On the contrary, he would certainly manage to remain relevant and forge valuable alliances. These would help him shape the London of 2053 but without being a primary decision-maker. His biggest enemy in the novel would probably be Robert Wilson, the lord of Elysium Club. I can imagine a scene where Giscard is trying to convince Wilson that Britain must remain in the European Union and Wilson telling Giscard that he should worry about himself first since the Brexit result means that Giscard's HVI level is going to drop.
So what would be the Human Value index of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing? Let us assume that the man that we are referring to is the freshly elected President of France in 1974. He is very confident, fully understands the huge responsibility that he holds, and is determined to act quickly to enact critical reforms. For a short period of time, he is on top of his game. That would equate to a Human Value Index of 2036 points. It would be the only time when Giscard's HVI level is above 2000 points. Over the years that follow his defeat against François Mitterand in 1981, I believe that this number would gradually drop to 1200 points.
2036 points for Valéry Giscard d'Estaing. Let me know what you think.
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Intro video here