Category Archives: French labour market

France’s chronic malaise

Dalrymple notes that among the country’s problems are

  1. its frightful battery farms of resentment, trafficking and delinquency — in atmosphere if not physically, worse than anything in England
  2. the decay of its vaunted educational system thanks to the belated adoption of gimcrack theories
  3. its appalling modern architects, who are among the worst in the world. After 1,000 years of successful practice, the French now cannot build a decent house
  4. its rigid labour laws, social charges, regulations and legal bias against small businesses that inhibit efforts at expansion and reward idleness

On 4. Dalrymple writes:

Only three weeks ago, two small businessmen — one a forester in the depths of la France profonde, the other a Parisian taxi driver of Vietnamese origin — complained to me that, after 40 years of work and paying taxes, their pensions would be no larger than those who had never worked in their lives. (The taxi driver said that if, in the second round of the election, it came to a choice between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, he would vote Le Pen.) I did not ask them how many people they knew of pensionable age who had never worked; but certainly I know people in France who regard a two-year sabbatical on unemployment benefits as their right rather than as a shameful act of exploitation.

Smash the Porsche-owning kulak electricians!

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 14.50.47The prejudice that makes hatred of wealth a generous sentiment may be expected to flourish

Every time, writes Dalrymple, the French government

tries to liberalise the sclerotic labour market, there are riots. That (considerable) part of the population which benefits from the legal privileges it enjoys is unable or unwilling to grasp that, in a market, the protections of some are the obstacles of others. Such privileges set one part of the population against another.

The loi El Khomri

would make it easier and less ruinously expensive for an employer to sack an employee, as well as cheaper for the employer to require employees to work beyond the statutory 35 hours.

The response: riots. There is deep satisfaction in destruction, so in Nantes, a Porsche was torched as a symbol of plutocracy.

What delight those who set fire to it must have felt as they saw the flames! What greater joy can there be than arson in the name of social justice?

The owner turned out to be an electrician.