Charlie Hebdo

Following the terrorist attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the OECD Secretary-General has expressed his condolences and support, on his behalf and that of the Organisation’s staff, to President Hollande and the French authorities. He also indicated that the OECD deplores this action, which is fundamentally opposed to the values we hold dear.

I’m writing this after coming home from one of the many spontaneous demonstrations in France following the murder of the journalists and staff of Charlie Hebdo. I saw many people in tears. The magazine probably wasn’t well known outside the French-speaking world, but it was on Al-Qaeda’s death list after publishing cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed, and the journalists knew they were potential targets.

Provocation was Charlie Hebdo’s trademark, and with their satirical texts and illustrations, they managed to offend, outrage and insult most ideologies, institutions and belief systems at one time or another. They didn’t spare the OECD, defining it in this article as the intellectual framework that unites the technocrats who run things, a think tank at the origin of recommendations and a certain number of tools that claim to be neutral but that lead to the implementation of certain policies. On the other hand, Charlie Hebdo could also quote the OECD as an authority as they do here.

That’s what democracy is about. You don’t have to approve of the other, but you should be ready to recognise that they may have something interesting to say, even if you don’t agree with them. Or as the great Arab philosopher al-Kindi put it, “We should not be ashamed to acknowledge truth and discover it no matter what source it comes from”.

One of the victims was Bernard Maris, who taught economics at Paris-8 University and Iowa University. He had a wonderful talent for explaining complex notions in simple language, and pointing out what was wrong with conventional wisdom. In his newspaper, television and radio work, he argued for a world that was more just, where money didn’t rule everything, and we didn’t destroy the planet for some short-term benefit. Like his friends and colleagues, Bernard Maris’ fought against inequality, injustice and oppression.

The world is a sadder place without the mockery of brave, clever, funny people like them.

Originally published on OECD Insights on 7 January 2015. 




Economic data

GDP growth: +0.6% Q3 2017 year-on-year
Consumer price inflation: 2.3% Sept 2017 annual
Trade: +1.4% exp, +1.7% imp, Q2 2017
Unemployment: 5.7% Sept 2017
Last update: 14 Nov 2017

E-Newsletter

Stay up-to-date with the latest news from the OECD by signing up for our e-newsletter :

Twitter feed

Suscribe now

<b>Subscribe now!</b>

To receive your exclusive paper editions delivered to you directly


Online edition
Previous editions

Don't miss

  • Papers show “past coming back to haunt us”: OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria tells Sky News that the so-called "Paradise Papers" show a past coming back to haunt us, but one which is now being dismantled. Please watch the video.
  • The annual OECD Eurasia Week takes place in Almaty, Kazakhstan 23-25 October. Writing in The Astana Times, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría urges Eurasia countries to stay the course on openness and international integration, which has brought prosperity but also disillusionment, notably regarding inequality. The OECD is working with this key region, and Mr Gurría urges Eurasia to focus on human capital and innovation to enhance productivity and people’s well-being. Read more.
  • When someone asks me to describe an ideal girl, in my head, she is a person who is physically and mentally independent, brave to speak her mind, treated with respect just like she treats others, and inspiring to herself and others. But I know that the reality is still so much different. By Alda, 18, on International Day of the Girl. Read more.
  • Globalisation’s many benefits have been unequally shared, and public policy has struggled to keep up with a rapidly-shifting world. The OECD is working alongside governments and international organisations to help improve and harness the gains while tackling the root causes of inequality, and ensuring a level playing field globally. Please watch.
  • Read some of the insightful remarks made at OECD Forum 2017, held on 6-7 June. OECD Forum kick-started events with a focus on inclusive growth, digitalisation, and trust, under the overall theme of Bridging Divides.
  • Checking out the job situation with the OECD scoreboard of labour market performances: do you want to know how your country compares with neighbours and competitors on income levels or employment?
  • Trade is an important point of focus in today’s international economy. This video presents facts and statistics from OECD’s most recent publications on this topic.
  • How do the largest community of British expats living in Spain feel about Brexit? Britons living in Orihuela Costa, Alicante give their views.
  • Brexit is taking up Europe's energy and focus, according to OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. Watch video.
  • OECD Chief Economist Catherine Mann and former Bank of England Governor Mervyn King discuss the economic merits of a US border adjustment tax and the outlook for US economic growth.
  • The OECD Gender Initiative examines existing barriers to gender equality in education, employment, and entrepreneurship. The gender portal monitors the progress made by governments to promote gender equality in both OECD and non-OECD countries and provides good practices based on analytical tools and reliable data.
  • Interested in a career in Paris at the OECD? The OECD is a major international organisation, with a mission to build better policies for better lives. With our hub based in one of the world's global cities and offices across continents, find out more at www.oecd.org/careers .

Most Popular Articles

OECD Insights Blog

NOTE: All signed articles in the OECD Observer express the opinions of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the official views of OECD member countries.

All rights reserved. OECD 2017