It was actually the first time I had spoken about my proposals for economic reform in public (apart from the time when I invited myself to the Toulouse School of Economics to give a talk - but on that occasion, only 4 people turned up - it had been programmed at the same time as the Finance Seminar!).
But on this occasion, there were not far off 100 people there, and they were actually interested in the subject! Wonderful! My thanks to the organisers for the invitation, and all the volunteers who provided a meal for everyone. I had a great time.
I shared the stage for the evening debate with Professor François Morin, an economist from the University of Toulouse. François has published a number of books on the nature of the economy including "Un monde sans Wallstreet", and "Le nouveau mur d'argent: Essai sur la finance globalisée", so it was very nice to find out what he thought about my proposals.
My talk tried to bring together a number of the themes that I have been thinking about recently, and in particular the idea that we could fix the Eurozone crisis for good by making a number of specific reforms. Firstly, it is essential that the European Central Bank takes on the public sector debt in the Eurozone. By doing this, it would immediately save Eurozone taxpayers hundreds of billions in interest payments every year. But, it order to pay off those debts, the ECB could impose a financial transaction tax on all Euro-denominated transactions - wherever they occur. Finally, the revenue generated by the tax should be redistributed among the different Eurozone countries according to population.
They are all ideas that I have previously mentioned here. But this was the first time that I had brought them all together, and I tried to update the figures to use the latest data.
The discussions with François and the members of the audience were very stimulating. I was pleased to hear that François agreed with the sorts of numbers I had been using. And I didn't hear of any real problems with what I propose - except for the fact that we should expect to get massive resistance from the financial sector. Not surprising, since the proposals will effectively kill the goose that has been laying golden eggs for the financial sector for 60 years at least - allowing the banking sector to siphon off 3% of GDP from taxpayers every year in the form of totally unjustifiable interest payments.
Still, I'd like to think that this could be the start of something big. I really do think that with the European Elections coming up in 2014, the time could be right to get political parties to take on board some of these radical proposals.
Anyway, I've just uploaded a Youtube version of the talk which last about 32 minutes. It's called "How to eliminate Eurozone Public Sector Debt without austerity". I hope you like it.
There's also a version in French for those of you who want to know how bad my French accent is. You can find it on my other blog under the title "Ma nouvelle présentation Youtube : Comment éliminer la dette publique de l'Eurozone sans austérité".