Category Archives: labour market rigidity

How young French Muslims are abandoned by society

Dalrymple writes, by way of understatement, that France has not been especially successful in integrating its immigrant population into the mainstream of national life. This, he points out,

need not be because of any higher levels of xenophobia or racial prejudice: a more rigid labour market will prevent integration quite successfully. Laws to protect the employed have the effect of enclosing unskilled immigrants not merely in ghettoes, but in workless ghettoes. Anyone who has visited the ring of Le Corbusier-style ghettoes around Paris (or other French cities) will soon realise that by comparison with their inhabitants the average Brixton drug-dealer is a model of integrated respectability.

Dalrymple explains that Islamic fundamentalism is not much in evidence among the disaffected young prisoners of France,

and is therefore of not much importance, at least numerically.

The problem is that Islamic fundamentalism

has its attractions for the more intelligent, or at least the more intellectual, among them, who seek a total explanation for, and solution to, their predicament. And as we have seen, it doesn’t take many people to disturb the peace of the world.

Muslim prisoners in France are

not deeply religious, or indeed deeply anything.

France has successfully secularised the Muslim younger generation,

but without having replaced the religious ethic by any other. They are left in a vacuum, suspended mentally and culturally somewhere between the Maghreb and France, but belonging fully to neither, and therefore at home nowhere.

The rigidity of the labour market

makes it more difficult for them to redeem themselves by work,

and modern culture,

which holds out easy enrichment as a solution to existential dislocation, makes crime a permanent temptation.

French prisoners of North African origin feel that French society is fundamentally unjust.

They do not so much deny that they have done what they are accused of having done, as justify it as a revenge upon, or at least the natural consequence of, that primordial injustice.

This resentment, Dalrymple notes,

is simultaneously a powerful provoker of crime and an obstacle to rehabilitation. What these prisoners need, apart from the passage of time that in itself cools the ardour of criminality, is not what they get in prison — antidepressants and tranquillisers by the bucketful — but a Socratic dialogue that will help them to overcome their resentment. If the principal cause of crime is the decision to commit it, then the removal of a justifying sense of grievance is of great importance. In addition, prisoners, and those who will soon become prisoners, need real opportunity, not chimerical equal opportunity, which is to say government of bureaucrats, by bureaucrats, for bureaucrats.

The crumbling EU soft-dictatorship

screen-shot-2017-01-08-at-09-45-45Dalrymple suggests that many of the 52% who voted for Brexit in the UK European Union membership referendum might have done so

because they feared that the ‘European project’ was the creation of a vast sovereign state to slake the thirst for power of megalomaniacs of the political class, impossible of even minimal democratic oversight, a giant Yugoslavia.

The leaders of France, Germany, and Italy have said that they want to push forward to closer political union. Dalrymple comments:

Consider the following. The French government, whose legitimacy no one will deny even if he denies its competence, is attempting some weak reforms of the rigid French labour market. This has resulted in months of conflict and continued violence. But at least the reform is the work, or attempted work, of a French government. Imagine if the reform were imposed by fiat of a European government despite the opposition of the French government and members of the European parliament.

The unspeakable folly of ‘ever closer union’

Union with a man like you? Er, no thanks

Union with a man like you? Er, no thanks

Dalrymple suggests that many of the 52% who voted for Brexit in the UK European Union membership referendum might have done so

because they feared that the ‘European project’ was the creation of a vast sovereign state to slake the thirst for power of megalomaniacs of the political class, impossible of even minimal democratic oversight, a giant Yugoslavia.

The leaders of France, Germany, and Italy have said that they want to push forward to closer political union. Dalrymple comments:

Consider the following. The French government, whose legitimacy no one will deny even if he denies its competence, is attempting some weak reforms of the rigid French labour market. This has resulted in months of conflict and continued violence. But at least the reform is the work, or attempted work, of a French government. Imagine if the reform were imposed by fiat of a European government despite the opposition of the French government and members of the European parliament.

We’re doomed

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 08.32.34The 20th century, writes Dalrymple, was Europe’s

melancholy, long withdrawing roar, and just as Great Britain would not long be suffered to be the workshop of the world, so the world did not long suffer the continent of Europe to dominate it, economically, culturally and intellectually. Europe’s loss of power, influence and importance continues; and however much one’s material circumstances may have improved, it is always unpleasant, and creates a sense of existential unease, to live in a country perpetually in decline, even if that decline is relative.

Combined with this, he points out, is the fact that most European populations

experience a feeling of impotence in the face of their immovable political élites. This feeling is not because of any lack of intelligence or astuteness on the part of the populations: if you wanted to know why there was so much youth unemployment in France, you would not ask the prime minister but the more honest and clear-headed village plumber or carpenter, who would give you many precise and convincing reasons why no employer in his right mind would readily take on a new and previously untried young employee. Indeed, it would take a certain kind of intelligence, available only to those who have undergone a lot of formal education, not to be able to work it out.

The motor of Europe’s decline, says Dalrymple, is

its obsession with social security, which has created rigid social and economic systems that are resistant to change.

An open economy

holds out more threat to Europeans than promise: they believe that the outside world will bring them not trade and wealth, but unemployment and a loss of comfort. They are inclined to retire into their shell and succumb to protectionist temptation, internally with regard to the job market and externally with regard to other nations. The more those other nations advance, the more necessary does protection seem to them.

The State

is either granted or arrogates to itself ever greater powers. A bureaucratic monster is created that is not only uneconomic but anti-economic and that can be reformed only at the cost of social unrest that politicians wish to avoid. Inertia intermittently punctuated by explosion is the outcome.

Dalrymple notes that the British government

has increased public expenditure enormously, such that the British tax burden exceeds that of Germany, which is a heavily taxed economy. The ostensible purpose has been to improve public services while serving the cause of social justice, a rhetoric that the public has hitherto believed; the hidden purpose has been to create administrative jobs on an unprecedented scale, whose function consists of obstruction of other people as they try to create wealth, and to bring into being a clientèle dependent upon government largesse (half the British population is in receipt of government subventions as part or the whole of their incomes) and results in an ‘keep a-hold of nurse for fear of something worse’ psychology.

The dependent population

does not like the state and its agents, indeed they hate them, but they come to fear the elimination of their good offices more. They are like drug addicts who know that the drug that they take is not good for them, and hate the drug dealer, but cannot face the supposed pains of withdrawal.

In the name of social justice,

personal and sectional interest has become all-powerful, paralysing attempts to maximise collective endeavour. The goal of everyone is to parasitise everyone else, or to struggle for as large a slice of the cake as possible. No one worries about the size of the cake. Après nous le déluge has become the watchword of the population.

It hardly needs pointing out that

the rest of an increasingly competitive and globalised world is not going to be sensitive to the same concerns as European governments.

The miserabilist view of the European past,

in which achievement is disregarded in favour of massacre, oppression and injustice, deprives the population of any sense of pride or tradition to which it might contribute or which might be worth preserving. This loss of cultural confidence is important at a time of mass immigration from very alien cultures, an immigration that can be successfully negotiated (as it has been in the past, or in the USA up to the era of multiculturalism) only if the host nations believe themselves to be the bearers of cultures into which immigrants wish, or ought to wish, to integrate, assimilate, and make their own.

In the absence of any such belief,

the only way in which people inhabiting a country will have anything in common is geographical; and civil conflict is the method in which they will resolve their very different and entrenched conceptions about the way life should be lived. This is particularly true when immigrants believe they are in possession of a supposedly unique and universal truth, such as Islam. And if the host nation is so lacking in cultural confidence that it does not even make familiarity with the national language a condition of citizenship, it is hardly surprising that integration does not proceed.

The problem is multiplied when a rigid labour market

creates large castes of people who are unemployed and might well remain so for the whole of their adult lives. The bitterness caused by economic uselessness is multiplied by the bitterness of cultural separation. In the case of Islam this is dangerous, because the mixture of an awareness of inferiority on the one hand, and superiority on the other, is a combustible one. Latin Americans have felt it towards the USA, Russians towards Western Europe, Chinese and Japanese towards Europe and America.

The auguries are not good,

not only because of the political immobilism that elaborate systems of social security have caused in most European countries, but because of the European multinational entity that is being created against the wishes of the peoples of Europe.

The European Union serves several purposes, none of which have much to do with the challenges facing the continent. It

  • helps Germans to forget that they are Germans, and gives them another identity rather more pleasing in their estimation
  • allows the French to forget that they are a medium-sized nation, one among many, and gives them the illusion of power and importance
  • acts as a giant pension fund for politicians who are no longer willing or able successfully to compete in the rough-and-tumble of electoral politics, and enables them to hang on to influence and power long after they have been rejected at the polls
  • acts as a fortress against the winds of competition that are blowing from all over the world and that are deeply unsettling to people who desire security above all else

The enemy within France

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 08.03.56The government of France allowed, Dalrymple points out,

the mass immigration of people culturally very different from its own population to solve a temporary labour shortage and to assuage its abstract liberal conscience.

An estimated 8m or 9m people of North African and West African origin dwell in France, twice the number in 1975. At least 5m of them are Muslims. The French government has handled the resultant situation

in the worst possible way. Unless it assimilates these millions successfully, its future will be grim.

France has

  • separated and isolated immigrants and their descendants geographically into dehumanising ghettoes
  • pursued economic policies to promote unemployment and create dependence among them, with all the psychological consequences
  • flattered the repellent and worthless culture that they have developed
  • withdrawn the protection of the law from them, allowing them to create their own lawless order

A profoundly alienated population is moreover

armed with serious firepower.

Paris is caught in a dilemma between

honouring its commitments to the more privileged section of the population, many of whom earn their livelihoods from administering the dirigiste economy, and freeing the labour market sufficiently to give the hope of a normal life to the inhabitants of the cités.

The likelihood is that the French State will continue to respond merely by

attempts to buy off the disaffected with more benefits and rights, at the cost of higher taxes that will further stifle the job creation that would most help the cité dwellers. If that fails, as in the long run it will, harsh repression will follow.

The Calais migrants are brave, determined and enterprising

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 23.21.13France, writes Dalrymple, is a more attractive country than Britain. It is

better organised and preserved, cleaner, more efficient and less corrupt (in the sense that people are likelier to do what they are paid to do, both in the private and public sectors). It is far less crowded and has fewer dreary and hellishly ugly towns. Its medical services are better and its population much healthier, in large part because people ­indulge less in gross and self-­destructive habits. Its poverty is better hidden, and probably less in fact. Its crime rate is much lower. Its economy produces as much as Britain’s in three-quarters the number of hours worked, indicating a considerably higher quality of life.

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 23.06.13Why then, would anyone seek to quit France for Britain? Why do migrants from the Middle East, the Maghreb, Sudan, the Horn of Africa, Iran, Pakistan etc. see Britain as an El Dorado worth risking their lives to reach via Calais and through the Channel Tunnel?

There are three main reasons, says Dalrymple — the third being by far the most important.

Language. Most of the migrants probably speak a few words of English, and are more anxious to learn the world language than one which is much less important than it was.

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 23.09.41Papers. In Britain there is no legal requirement to carry any form of identification. You cannot be asked for your papers. This is the tiny residue of the tradition of the free-born Englishman, who does not have to justify his existence, or his presence, to authority. (France has countless sans-papiers, who subsist in marginality and fear of official clampdown, though their chances of being expelled are tiny; for the liberal Left in France, the sans-papiers are heroic victims almost by definition.)

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 23.22.59Work. It is easy to find work in Britain, albeit at a lowly paid level, sometimes considerably below the ability of the migrants. The populist notion that the migrants (overwhelmingly young men) want simply to parasitise the welfare state is mistaken. They are mainly people desperate to improve their lot and, thanks to its relatively liberal labour laws and its lack of serious effort to control the informal sector of the economy, their chances of doing so are better in Britain. The prospect of work, and even of starting a business, is far more important to them than healthcare or the beauty of city centres. The truly poor want to work their way out of poverty.

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 23.17.43The Channel migrants, Dalrymple affirms,

are brave, determined and enterprising. No one does lightly what they do. Does this in itself mean that the native population that wants to keep them out is wrongheaded, mean-spirited or even vicious? Some economists argue that migrants bring economic growth ex officio: but it is economic product per head that is important, not the total product, and here economists are far from unanimous. In addition, much of the population fears that we are creating not a melting-pot but a stir-fry of incompatible ingredients. Britain, after all, is a very small wok.

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 23.20.19

 

United in decadence

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 07.43.52France and Britain are

very similar in their inability to tackle the problems that confront them. Both countries are sleepwalking to insignificance and international oblivion.

The French

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 08.11.53cannot tackle the rigidity of their labour market, that makes the creation of new jobs or new enterprises so difficult, because no politician has the guts to do it. Everyone in France is ready to struggle, even violently, for the preservation of his own little privileges and protections (while pretending to do so for the good of humanity – the French are just as hypocritical as the British). France’s social model produces fonctionnaires like the savannah produces termites, and allows certain categories of workers to retire on a very high percentage of their salary almost as soon as they have begun to work.

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 08.16.42The British

cannot tackle their abysmally low educational and cultural standards, which are obvious even on landing at a British airport, because no politician has the guts to do it — politicians prefer the tried and trusted policy of après moi, le déluge. Successive British governments have comprehensively destroyed the British educational system: a high percentage of British children leave school less literate than Tanzanian peasants [and this is reflected in low productivity and generalised gormlessness].

La belle France, left, and England, dear England

La belle France, left, and England, dear England