Paris: an outdated economic balloon – economy



After a year of health crisis, the expansion of teleworking, and better transparency of economic activities, the time has come to seriously measure the real weight of Paris in the national economy. And the answer is clear: much less. It is time to house economic activities where their reality is. Paris is a bubble that is visibly deflating with the realities brought to light by the crisis. It is enough to read the official statistics of INSEE to see it. Our excessive centralization, the situation rents located in the capital, an approximate method of national accounts are there for a lot. Much worse, this management of our statistics is dangerous since it does not reflect the geographic and human reality. The per capita GDP places the Ile de France in 10th place in Europe at 177 PPS, more than double the other French regions totally absent from the top ranking. This difference exceeds twice the distribution of regions in Germany, which is much more realistic and homogeneous. Let us just take two summary tables published by INSEE: regional Gross Domestic Products and regional Added Values. First remark: It is burlesque to still retain in the 21st century the distinction between France and Metropolis. The French regions are still considered lower level, like the African colonies of the 19th century. Only the Ile de France is “noble” in the statistics. Appearances suggest that the Ile de France represents around 30% of the national GDP with 700 billion out of a total of 2300 billion (2018 value). Everyone knows that many company headquarters are located in Paris. However, does this location reflect reality? With teleworking, many inconsistencies have emerged. The analysis of regional added values ​​reveals major inconsistencies. Is it realistic to count 20% of manufacturing and mining activities in Paris, or 27 billion? Even more bizarre, it would seem that 30% of extractive industries, energy, water, waste management and pollution control are located in Paris, or 14 billion. The Champs Elysées do not seem to be covered with power stations or wastewater treatment plants. It does not seem more plausible to accommodate in the Paris region a third of the automobile industry at nearly 73 billion, or even transport activities at 32 billion. Information and communication would be located 60% in Paris. If this figure is true, it is also indicative of an excessive navel-centric centralization of the capital to the detriment of the “colonial” regions. Where is currently counted the activity of teleworkers working from Bordeaux or Briançon for a Parisian company whose offices are deserted? Why are vehicle registrations often made in the capital when they are used elsewhere? Why are the tax revenues of regions, departments and municipalities cut off from wealth artificially oriented towards Paris which has nothing to do with it? A head office in Paris often integrates an activity located elsewhere in Rouen, Nancy or Toulouse. Is this normal? The statistics combine administrative data (annual corporate profit declarations and annual social data declarations) and data obtained from a sample of companies. They show that this distribution is above all dictated by ease and weight. It is high time that our national statistics really reflect our activity without this huge distortion.