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Students fighting the free market
The Daily Telegraph ^ | March 29, 2006 | Colin Randall

Posted on 03/29/2006 12:20:51 AM PST by MadIvan

Far from being revolutionary, the students demonstrating yesterday seem to be conservative: they want to preserve the benefits enjoyed by their parents.

American research underlines just how exceptional the French are in the world today. Alone among the populations of 20 countries surveyed by a team of university researchers, they oppose the free market system.

In China, top of the table compiled in the poll for Maryland University, three people in four (74 per cent) believe the market economy is the best way of securing their country's future. Americans come third after Filipinos and the British, Germans and Canadians all appear in the top 10, with approval ratios of between 65 and 73 per cent.

France, meanwhile, languishes in 20th and last place, after Mexico, Kenya and Argentina, with just 36 per cent in favour.

"I didn't know about the poll," said Nicolas, 20, a physical education student covered from head to foot in stickers expressing his hatred of the first work contract, which is at the root of the wave of protests sweeping France. The contract would allow employers to hire people under 26 but dismiss them without reason in the first two years.

"But I don't think of us as having our heads stuck in the sand. Maybe we expect the state to take better care than other countries of the rights of workers and those in difficulties."

Despite the current revolt against the contract, most French people would probably be astonished to realise how out of step their country has become with the march of time.

Most of the students are demanding the same rigid job security of their parents and grandparents. Other opinion soundings suggest that most young people want, more than anything, to become civil servants.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: capitalism; freemarket; sarkozy; students
Good, let them have socialism and collapse.

Regards, Ivan


1 posted on 03/29/2006 12:20:53 AM PST by MadIvan
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To: LadyofShalott; Tolik; mtngrl@vrwc; pax_et_bonum; Alkhin; agrace; EggsAckley; dinasour; ...

Ping!


2 posted on 03/29/2006 12:21:07 AM PST by MadIvan (Ya hya chouhada! Dune fans, visit - http://www.thesietch.com/)
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To: MadIvan
"Despite the current revolt against the contract, most French people would probably be astonished to realise how out of step their country has become with the march of time."

No, they will be astonished at how out-of-step the rest of the world is. Until there's a cure for La Gloire there isn't much hope for them.

3 posted on 03/29/2006 12:24:38 AM PST by decal (My name is "decal" and I approve this tagline)
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To: MadIvan
La belle France is doomed.

L

4 posted on 03/29/2006 12:27:59 AM PST by Lurker (In God I trust. Everyone else shows me their hands.)
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To: Lurker

If Segolene Royal, Socialist, is their next President, it's time to break out the Last Rites. With Sarkozy, they have a fighting chance.

Regards, Ivan


5 posted on 03/29/2006 12:29:16 AM PST by MadIvan (Ya hya chouhada! Dune fans, visit - http://www.thesietch.com/)
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To: MadIvan

Anti-Capitalism is ingrained on the French psyche and has always been present on the Left AND Right. Let us not forget that the vehemently anti-Capitalist Honore de Balzac was a reactionary monarchist.


6 posted on 03/29/2006 12:29:52 AM PST by Clemenza (I Just Wasn't Made for These Times)
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To: MadIvan

That does it. The French are Communists.


7 posted on 03/29/2006 12:31:42 AM PST by MinorityRepublican (everyone that doesn't like what America and President Bush has done for Iraq can all go to HELL)
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To: MadIvan
The contract would allow employers to hire people under 26 but dismiss them without reason in the first two years.

Sounds like a probationary period, albeit a long one. If an employee, for whatever reason, doesn't work out, the employer can let them go. The government should not be able to force an owner of a private company to pay wages and benefits to an undesirable employee. Oops. Forgot this was about France for a minute there.

8 posted on 03/29/2006 12:37:22 AM PST by Just Lori (To everything, there is a season.........Ecclesiastes, 3:1-8)
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To: MadIvan
There's a reason 'saboteur' is a French word.

Luddites the lot of them.

L

9 posted on 03/29/2006 12:44:00 AM PST by Lurker (In God I trust. Everyone else shows me their hands.)
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To: Lurker

I don't like how the French respond to problems. Any particular problem, they riot and demand the state take care of them.

This is a recipe for chronic instability and an inability to reform when necessary. Societies and governments which do not adapt, or worse, don't have enough realism to know when to adapt, die.

Regards, Ivan


10 posted on 03/29/2006 12:45:34 AM PST by MadIvan (Ya hya chouhada! Dune fans, visit - http://www.thesietch.com/)
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To: MadIvan
I've watched the last couple of riots in France with great interest. The one question that keeps going through my mind is "Don't the French have any live ammunition?"

Throwing rocks into crowds of people is a pretty good way to kill someone. So is large scale arson. Why these crimes aren't taken seriously by the French authorities baffles me.

You're quite correct about societies which don't adapt. Unfortunately for the French their society is 'adapting' themselves right into global irrelevancy.

Oh well. The French are going to get an object lesson in the maxim that 'one can evade reality, but one cannot evade the consequences of evading reality.'

Take care Ivan.

L

11 posted on 03/29/2006 12:51:26 AM PST by Lurker (In God I trust. Everyone else shows me their hands.)
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To: Lurker
Its because if the Gendarmes were to shoot at rioters, 90% of the French population would call for the heads of the police.

The French have a congenital knack for symphathizing with mob violence, even if they secretly despise the groups doing the rioting.

12 posted on 03/29/2006 12:54:42 AM PST by Clemenza (I Just Wasn't Made for These Times)
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To: MadIvan

France is finished.


13 posted on 03/29/2006 1:26:58 AM PST by John Valentine
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To: MadIvan
If Segolene Royal, Socialist, is their next President, it's time to break out the Last Rites. With Sarkozy, they have a fighting chance

when is the election?

14 posted on 03/29/2006 2:04:57 AM PST by liberty2004
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To: liberty2004

I believe it's next year.

Regards, Ivan


15 posted on 03/29/2006 2:07:11 AM PST by MadIvan (Ya hya chouhada! Dune fans, visit - http://www.thesietch.com/)
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To: MadIvan
An old lyric from "Marat Sade" keeps running through my head, for some reason:

"We want our rights, and we don't care how,
We want a revolution, now!

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

16 posted on 03/29/2006 2:14:30 AM PST by browardchad
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To: MadIvan

"France", That's one of those funny little countries that used to be sort of important, isn't it? It's in Europe, I think. Oh well, who cares? It couldn't be important.


17 posted on 03/29/2006 2:15:32 AM PST by muir_redwoods (Free Sirhan Sirhan, after all, the bastard who killed Mary Jo Kopechne is walking around free)
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To: MinorityRepublican

No, you need a proletariet and an exploited working class. The threat of work terrifies them. A good Marxist would see them as a degenerate bourgeoisie living off the labor of others -- perhaps the Islamic underclass!


18 posted on 03/29/2006 3:45:35 AM PST by T.L.Sink (stopew)
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To: MadIvan

"But I don't think of us as having our heads stuck in the sand. Maybe we expect the state to take better care than other countries of the rights of workers and those in difficulties."

He doesn't sound very confident though. Maybe there's hope.


19 posted on 03/29/2006 3:52:07 AM PST by bkepley
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To: MadIvan
They already have socialism: 53% of the economy is controlled by the government. CGT is the communist union whipping up the students... they are all afraid that the CPE is just the thin edge of the wedge of reform. Frankly, the CPE ain't all that great, it's far far less than what it is described to be by most of the press. Also, on one hand, the riots are essentially a negation of representative democracy--the law was voted on and sent through, but on the other hand, Villepin used an obscure manoeuver to ram the bill through the chamber. Villepin, who has never held elected office, is tone deaf on politics and Sarkozy is a populist whose next actions you can't know.

There are pro-capitalist, hardworking people in France---but so very many of them leave each year. Britain benefits from many of them. The US is impossible to get into for the French due to our new digital passport laws. But these are the types of immigrants we should all be welcoming: people who have educations, work hard and have a desire to succeed. I'm quite pessimistic about the near term future of France.

20 posted on 03/29/2006 3:56:59 AM PST by austinTparty
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To: MadIvan
Good, let them have socialism and collapse.

===========================================

Sure, and then let islamo-fascists fill the vacuum...or do you see a sudden affection for US style capitalist democracy?

21 posted on 03/29/2006 4:08:50 AM PST by wtc911 (You can't get there from here)
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To: MadIvan

Good post. Free market economics in France suffers from two burdens: (1) being practical and therefore uncomfortable, and (2) being associated with the Britain and America.


22 posted on 03/29/2006 4:29:33 AM PST by Malesherbes
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To: Spanaway Lori
And employers respond by simply not hiring people. Lovely.

I was going to say the stock thing, "and that is why there are no new jobs in France", but instead of just being flip about it I decided to look a little and find out the real story on employment in France. There are net new jobs in France, a respectable number of them. Employment has grown from 21.7 million about 10 years ago to 24.3 million in the most recent year I found data for. The rate is a little over a quarter million net new jobs a year, roughly 1% employment growth.

In the US we've managed to average more like 1.5% annual employment growth. If the French could get to that figure and keep it up for 10 years, they'd halve their unemployment rate to around our own level. The government clearly sees the need to encourage that, though obviously the unions do not.

We work much harder than the French. Their jobs average 1650 hours worked per year, ours 2000, in addition to the larger portion of our population working. (And of course, a much bigger population - France is a fifth our size). And it is quite clear the employment aspirations of the typical Frenchmen are to get paid a moderate salary by an unsinkable institution for an easy job he can complete the work for by about 11 in the morning.

On a recent trip to France, it was clear to me how that happens, incidentally. The state runs merit examinations in a highly tracked educational system. The best products of that system are slotted to tenure in the civil service, with a modest stream also going to work as technocrats for the big banks and the like. When they land in the civil service positions, they find they are bureaucrats long on the bureau and short on the things to crat (rule). The bureaucracy is padded with sinecures. Jobs a smart person can do in hours are split among several smart people. Who want to knock off early or come in late, the better to read Foucault in the cafes and talk politics etc.

There is another class in France that actually works, the small business people. Shop owners, scads of them, tradesmen. They actually work, as do their families (often extended). These days quite a few of these are immigrants or 2nd generation, not the scruffy head-kickers of today's headlines.

Farmers are supported by German paid subsidies. The high bourgois live off rents (Paris real estate is astronomically expensive and deeded down through families generation after generation), incomes from the large banks and mercantile fortunes, many of them quite old. With plenty of glorified servants as employees.

So there are jobs for anybody polished enough to flatter the rich, and other jobs for anybody with the gumption to work for themselves and willing to put in the hours, and other jobs for anybody smart enough to ace exams. Unpolished, not smart, and not wanting to work one's tail off independently, however, means left to the unions - if not to crime. That's who you see on the streets.

23 posted on 03/29/2006 5:00:01 AM PST by JasonC
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To: JasonC
An excellent essay, Jason. Thank you.

(steely)

24 posted on 03/29/2006 6:23:44 AM PST by Steely Tom (Your taboos are not my taboos.)
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To: MadIvan
Still fighting over privilege.Some things never change.
25 posted on 03/29/2006 7:03:05 AM PST by GVnana (Former Alias: GVgirl)
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