Monday, January 10

The French Economy

In a post I read a few weeks ago, now likely lost in the outer reaches of someone's blog archive, someone defended the French economy. They stated, that while the French have not been closing the economic gap on the US it isn't because their productivity is dropping, but because they traded increased economic might for leisure time. If true, what the (alas forgotten) poster failed to point out was that now they wish they could have their scone and eat it too.

Let's suppose this is true, that the French socialist regime has not decreased individual productivity of its citizens but that they have traded increased leisure time for decreased individual and collective affluence. Alas, what they have not wished to give up is their "rightful" position on the world stage. However, by accepting decreased collective productivity and pushing much of their collective (tax) monies into social programs, they lack the ability to contest and project their will effectively outside their borders by either military or humanitarian means. Their rhetoric implies that they haven't acquiesced to the consequences of their choices. They clearly wish to have a larger role on the world stage while continuing to take a inordinate (from an American non-public teacher's standpoint) number of days off per year. Now while I might like to stay home and spend more time with my children, wife, bicycle and enjoy the fruits of my labors, I realize that the world doesn't work quite that way. Perhaps our neighbors across the pond also realize this, but don't often admit it freely.