MORE ON FRANCE
Best of yesterday:
National Review editorial:
Something like half a million young French people are estimated to be living in southern England. The Kent Corridor from London to Dover is known ironically as “France’s Silicon Valley.” And for every Parisian exile ten actual Parisians still seethe under high taxes and think about emigration. That sums up why Sarkozy won Sunday’s election.
Fifteen years ago, France had a per capita GDP that was 83 percent of that of the United States; now it is 71 percent.
A 35-hour work week, mandates that make it expensive to hire new employees, liberal welfare payments, and vacation policy — all combine to make France the world’s slacker. According to one economist, an average worker in America will work 30 percent more hours than the average worker in France during his career. That is, if the Frenchman works at all. Astonishingly, only 41 percent of French adults work, “one of the lowest labor-participation rates in the world,” the Financial Times reports.
The perpetual French growth industry is government. At 54 percent of GDP, the state is large even by European standards. A quarter of French workers are employed by the government, double the rate of 1970. Not surprisingly, a nation of bureaucrats has not proven itself supple nor innovative.
In France's immobilized economy, it's all but impossible to get fired. Which is why it's all but impossible to get hired.... France illustrates how absolute welfare corrupts absolutely.... London is now the seventh biggest French-speaking city in the world.... [France] is no longer a society in which you can fulfill your economic potential.
Bonus Material: Matthew Parris in The Australian on the overstated threat of Islam:
Islam doesn't work.... Serious, committed Islamists are most unlikely to succeed within any structures but their own. Their own, meanwhile, are notoriously inefficient and corrupt. Only by lucky coincidence have much of the world's known petrocarbons been found beneath Islamic nations, giving them what temporary influence they wield.... We are hugely overestimating our supposed enemy.... Containment, not confrontation, is the wisest policy.