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The French Choice
Posted by: McQ on Monday, April 23, 2007

As mentioned yesterday, the presidential choice for the French has come down to a right-wing conservative (in relative terms) and a socialist. First the socialist candidate:
Segolene Royal

Royal won 24 percent of the vote to finish second. A 53-year-old regional premier, she would be France's first female president.

Born in Senegal when it was a French colony, she was an adviser to the late President Francois Mitterrand. Later elected to parliament, she was minister for the environment and junior minister for education and for family and childhood.

She is the subject of frequent gender-based controversies, such as a flap over whether she should have worn high heels on a political visit to Chile. Her positions on the major issues include:

> Economy —- She would raise the monthly minimum wage to $1,950 from the current $1,630.

> Relations with the United States —- She calls the Iraq war a "catastrophe" but says she does not confuse the Bush administration and its policies with the United States as a whole.

> 35-hour workweek —- She says it has had benefits and drawbacks. She wants talks to fix its problems.

> Campaign quote: "No man with my professional background would constantly see his competence and legitimacy called into question like this."
The economy is ailing and her leading economic policy is to raise the price of labor?

I have no idea what she means by the next statement, but one would hope any politician could make that distinction.

35 hour work week. You have a productivity problem, you're going to raise the cost of labor and you decide to keep a policy (which should be none of the government's business to begin with) which is essentially anti-productivity?

Which brings us to the final quote. Review the three points above and understand that I'm not calling her competence and legitimacy into question because of her gender, that's for sure.
Nicolas Sarkozy

Sarkozy finished atop the 10-candidate field, with 30 percent of the vote. He served as mayor of the affluent Paris suburb of Neuilly, then became interior minister. He also had a brief spell as finance minister.

He was once a protege of the current president, Jacques Chirac, but the two politicians fell out when Sarkozy backed a Chirac rival for the presidency.

The son of a Hungarian immigrant and a French mother of Greek Jewish origin, Sarkozy, 52, was baptized Roman Catholic and grew up in Paris. His positions on major issues include:

> Economy —- He would make overtime pay tax-free to encourage people to work more.

> Relations with United States —- He embraces the moniker "Sarko the American" and gladly shook hands with President Bush. He admires American "energy" and opportunity, but says the Iraq war was a mistake.

> 35-hour workweek —- He says it's not creating jobs as intended but would not abolish it.

> Campaign quote —- "I'm not one of those who think that France should blush about its history. It didn't commit genocide. It didn't invent the Final Solution [the Holocaust]."
Although I disagree with the 35 hour work week, given France's regulation of work hours, I think the overtime policy would indeed help spur productivity somewhat and help the economy. It's also good to see an unabashed pro-American Frenchman who has a shot at the presidency.

As to his "campaign quote", yeah, they didn't invent the Final Solution, however a country that fought Disney and McDonalds harder than it fought the Nazis still has a reason to blush a bit.
 
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however a country that fought Disney and McDonalds harder than it fought the Nazis still has a reason to blush a bit.
Now that is not quite fair. I like it.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
a country that fought Disney and McDonalds harder than it fought the Nazis still has a reason to blush a bit.

Obviously Mc Donalds and Disneyland are far greater threats to the French way of life than the Nazi’s ever were.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
You have a productivity problem, you’re going to raise the cost of labor and you decide to keep a policy (which should be none of the government’s business to begin with) which is essentially anti-productivity?
France actually has a high level of productivity, what it lacks is the ability to layoff workers - leading indirectly to high umeployment. The choice of hiring anybody in France is a very large scale decision not made easy, because they cannot be fired. Increasing the minimum wage like Royal intends will only exasperate this problem and make unemployment worse.

Actually the high cost of new labour means that business invests in technology to exploit the maximum potential of the existing workforce - giving high productivity with high unemployment.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
The economy is ailing and her leading economic policy is to raise the price of labor?
Yeah. Believe it or not, it can be good for the economy. You’ve heard of the multiplier effect ?

I have no idea what she means by the next statement, but one would hope any politician could make that distinction.
This is because you are judging her statements by your own American standards. They’re not intended for you, they’re intended for the French electorate. What she is saying to them is that while she is a socialist and thinks the Iraq war was a disastrous mistake, she’s not a blinkered ideologue or irrational yank-hater but a rational, dispassionate politician. She’s basically saying she’s a sensible person, not a lefty loony - very much in the mould of our own Tony Blair.
35 hour work week. You have a productivity problem, you’re going to raise the cost of labor and you decide to keep a policy (which should be none of the government’s business to begin with) which is essentially anti-productivity?
As Unaha-Closp has already explained, increased labour cost does not equal reduced productivity. I would add that it is the productivity and wealth-circulation of the country as a whole that the government is concerned with, not the profit levels of individual companies. You guys always present the idea that good for companies = good for country. NOT true.
Although I disagree with the 35 hour work week, given France’s regulation of work hours, I think the overtime policy would indeed help spur productivity somewhat and help the economy.
Every week millions of French people have time to play with their kids, read books, write, ski, exercise,cook and eat well,and generally have quality time. Why ? Because they demand it. They have the backbone to draw a line and say "you can have this much of our lives, no more". I admire them greatly for it. Contrast this with Americans, who work 50 weeks a year and spend their entire lives in the office/workshop, a great part of that time talking themselves up to their colleagues because they’re terrified of slipping out of favour. (Don’t bother contradicting this unless you’ve worked in other countries and can deny the comparison). I think the French have it better by far.
 
Written By: Blewyn
URL: http://
France actually has a high level of productivity,


Following the link, we find that:
Still, French workers remain among the most productive in the world, ahead of Britain, Germany, the United States and Japan, according to the European statistics agency Eurostat, the AP reports.
However, we find that the French work 1,431 hours per year and have a gross national income per capita of $24,770. Americans work 1,792 hours and have a GNI of $37,610. so the French seem to make $17/hr while Americans make $21/hr. That doesn’t square with the Eurostat claim.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Yeah. Believe it or not, it can be good for the economy. You’ve heard of the multiplier effect ?
I don’t believe it.
She’s basically saying she’s a sensible person, not a lefty loony - very much in the mould of our own Tony Blair.
Of course she’s lying.
As Unaha-Closp has already explained, increased labour cost does not equal reduced productivity.
Increased cost does not mean reduced productivity, but a restricted work week does.
I would add that it is the productivity and wealth-circulation of the country as a whole that the government is concerned with, not the profit levels of individual companies.
And that’s why the USSR will win the Cold War.
You guys always present the idea that good for companies = good for country. NOT true.
No, we don’t. Companies that make bad desicions should be allowed to fail. Companies that make good decisions should be allowed to succeed. The government is very bad at determining which decisions are good and which are bad, hence it tends to reinforce bad decisions and punish good decisions.
Every week millions of French people have time to play with their kids, read books, write, ski, exercise,cook and eat well,and generally have quality time. Why ? Because they demand it. They have the backbone to draw a line and say "you can have this much of our lives, no more". I admire them greatly for it.
Americans can do the same as individuals. When Americans, acting as individuals do this it may indicate backbone, but voting towards a 35 hr work week does not require backbone. Rather, it requires economic stupidity.

France is a third rate nation for a reason. America is the world’s superpower for a reason. Of course, France is effectively under American protection, so in effect it enjoys a sort of welfare.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
You’ve heard of the multiplier effect ?
How does that apply here?

My understanding is that the multiplier effect is caused by government spending or tax relief. Consumers have more cash, hence they spend more, hence they increase buisness revenue, etc.

However, less than 100% of the increased government spending or tax relief goes back into the economy as increased spending. Some goes into savings.

Increasing wages wouldn’t work, since you are taking 100% of the money from buisness and returning less than 100% to the buisness . . . hence I don’t see how you think this applies here.

In any case, this is a concept of Keynesian economics that free market types don’t typically buy into.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://

 
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