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AdamB    4/13/2007 1:30:23 PM
Economics made easy Can Sarko halt France’s decline? THE SPECTATOR Allister Heath The French like to claim that there is one thing in which its economy outperforms that of Britain: productivity. However, as Allister Heath reveals, France's productivity figures can be misleading: Britain's low unemployment rate means that it obviously has more unskilled people in the workforce, whereas in France most of them are unemployed, giving the impression that its workers are more productive. France has no hope of economic revival if Segolene Royal wins the Presidential race, and stands much better chance with Sarkozy. But even if he wins, he may turn out to be a disppointment and still leave France in the doldrums. Should the British be prepared to hear more Gallic accents in London? ************************************************* When I first moved to Britain in 1995, after a misspent youth in France, there were few Gallic accents to be heard outside the tourist hotspots. The long-established community in South Kensington (West London) had been joined by a growing number of French students at institutions such as the London School of Economics, but that was about it. These days the French are everywhere. Tens of thousands of entrepreneurial, ambitious young graduates have moved to London and the south-east of England, fleeing sky-high levels of youth unemployment and a society obsessed with the preservation of the status quo. It’s not just that the 35-hour working week combined with huge social security costs means that it makes little sense for companies to give young, inexperienced workers a try. Equally destructive is France’s crippling burden of tax and public spending, which has squeezed out the private sector and destroyed incentives to work, invest or set up new businesses. Total public spending accounts for 53.5 per cent of France’s national income; its economy is officially the second most socialist of the wealthy nations after Sweden. Bright French students dream of being top civil servants; no wonder that France is vying with Italy to be the new sick man of Europe, a role recently vacated by Germany. For those who don’t believe me — and in my experience, that means most readers — the figures are unambiguous. The British economy has outperformed France for many years but the gap has grown significantly over the past decade, helping to fuel the French brain drain. Average annual economic growth between 1982 and 1992 was 2.3 per cent in France, against 2.5 per cent in Britain. Since the recession of the early 1990s, new-found macroeconomic stability and the delayed effect of the free-market reforms of the 1980s allowed the British economy to power ahead. We’ve done better than France in every year since 1993 but two: France grew a smidgen faster in 2000 at the height of dotcom euphoria and both economies grew at the same rate in 1998. Since the mid-1990s, average growth in France has been just above 2 per cent, against close to 2.8 per cent in Britain. This year, Britain is expected to grow by 2.6 per cent, against 2.2 per cent in France; next year, 2.8 per cent against 2.3 per cent, if the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development is to be believed. None of this is necessarily apparent to those for whom knowledge of France is restricted to the Riviera or the Champs Elysées; but the truth is that France is stuck in a spiral of unremitting relative economic decline. Perhaps the most damaging consequence of this is that the share of the population in work in France remains significantly lower than in Britain (both countries have populations of 61 million but Britain has 31 million workers and France has 27 million). Young graduates often have to apply to hundreds of companies before being granted a single interview, a situation unknown in Britain. A furious row recently broke out over the number of French jobless. Insée, the French national statistics institute, said the unemployment rate fell to 8.4 per cent in February, its lowest level since 1983. Eurostat, the EU statistics institute, promptly announced provisional figures showing the French rate was 8.8 per cent, the highest in the eurozone. But all of these figures miss the real point, which is that many of the new jobs created in Chirac’s France are fake, in state-subsidised schemes designed to reduce social tensions. Real new private-sector jobs are scandalously rare; and virtually all jobs now pay significantly less in France than they do in Britain, while the cost-of-living differential in France’s favour over Great Britain is steadily eroding. To make matters worse, even France’s supposedly strong performance on productivity — output per worker or per hour worked, which is often claimed to be better than in the UK or US — is little more than a myth. In France the unskilled, including many immigrants, often don’t work at all, which means that they are excluded from productivity
 
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jean       4/14/2007 4:13:30 AM
okay, sarkozy preferred more than segolene ....an typical anglo saxon PoV.
The described state of france is not false , but only the macro economic parameters have been shown in this paper. UK is historically more merchant than france , that's a true fact, but ....if you want to compare both countries do it with more arguments. If UK has a better economy, it has a worse public welfare for example.What about UK public healthcare ? What about private bankrupts of british families increasing highly because they can't pay anymore their debts ? is it normal that some brits go to france for a surgical operation , because the waiting time  in a public hospital can be 6 months. If french entrepreneurs ( french word) go to UK for commerce ( another one) it's only to make more money than in france, and not for the quality of life. Can you easily buy or rent a flat in London if you are a lambda citizen ? no it's terribly expensive. Where is the social advantage of that ? Some brits are tired and disgusted of the life in UK , and so they settle in france , where life is much better to live for many reasons.
What car do you drive ? from a UK manufacturer ? no that's over , even rolls royce is german now. Where are your heavy industries ? Aren't you afraid to travel by train in the Uk with the deplorable state of the british railways ? Do you live in London ? the london electricity is managed by EDF ( Electricite de France) , did you know ?
You're more wealthy than the french ? yes , because all is to be sold in UK, even the public and historical monuments, industries, etc ...i won't be surprised if you sell, one day, your royalty to the highest bidder.

 
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Council34c    Selling the Monarcy   4/14/2007 10:43:51 AM
We would love to sell the monarcy not only do we get rid of them we get paid for it and some other country gets the burden of them poncing around spending their tax money whilst being generally useless and controlling much of the economically valuable land in their capital (the royals and their extended family own much land in the center of london that would otherwise be used far more profitably; in the region of billions of pounds for the UK economy). Do you know anyone who would be intrested?
 
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Godofgamblers       4/16/2007 7:33:11 AM
here's another view:
 

Anglophone Fantasies and French Realities

By MICHAEL NEUMANN

Doug Saunders, writing the April 7 issue of the Globe and Mail, does a good job of representing the unutterable silliness of Anglophone writing about France. Here's a sample:

On Thursday in London, I had breakfast with Anthony Giddens, the London School of Economics professor whose 1990s books Beyond Right and Left and The Third Way set the agenda for this political and economic revival in many European countries, led by Britain. Today, he speaks with Ms. Royal's people and supports her, but in tones of deep despair.

"France is different," he said. A strong majority of French consider the word globalization a negative, the reverse of the figure in nearly every other European country.

The key candidates, Prof. Giddens said, straddle impossible ideological divides -- not synthesizing the best policies, but sending messages to the fringe supporters of dreadful, unsustainable ideas.

"I think we all know roughly what sorts of policies make economic growth compatible with social welfare, and they're not the policies of the traditional left and they're not the policies of the petty-bourgeois right," he said. This cheerful Australian émigré sounded, for once, as if he had fallen into a state of Gallic despair, of the sort I've been seeing over here a lot.

"So the question is, can you get a candidate to represent the cluster of views which will actually pull France out of its malaise? And I'm afraid that's not clear, because in both Sarkozy and Royal you have a sort of unholy mixture, I think, of different views that are not at all compatible. It's very unfortunate."

There are whole books like this, for example Timothy Smith's France in Crisis: Welfare, Inequality and Globalization since 1980, brought to us through the kind offices of the Cambridge University Press. It is very difficult indeed to find an English commentator who doesn't tell us how France's sky is falling.

That gets confusing if you go there. Oddly enough, people seem to go about their lives without obvious catastrophe. There is food. There are medical services. Some people apparently haven't been raped or murdered, despite the heralded collapse of French civil society.

So is the truth as Smith or Giddens, Blair's intellectual guru, tells it? This can be answered in very short order, by looking at a few figures. They're not the whole story nor are they conclusive, but then again, what is? Comparing societies is notoriously tricky business. I wouldn't pretend to say whether England is doing significantly better than France. But I do find reason to distrust the long faces (which, I think, conceal delight) of those who make such pronouncements. Let's compare enlightened, globalized, free Britain with benighted, hell-bound France.

Presumably the bottom line for any society is how well its people are doing. Crime? France has a per capita murder rate of: 0.0173272 per 1,000 people, the UK of 0.0140633 per 1,000 people. Nothing too striking there. The Gini index, a measure of distributive inequality applied to family income, yields 36.8 for both the UK and France. Hmm, nothing too striking there either. The literacy rate of the two countries is also identical, 99%. The Human Development index for France is 0.938 and for England, 0.939 - France is behind there, but somehow that doesn't seem too alarming. How about infant morality, a pretty basic indicator? It's 4.21 deaths/1,000 live births in France, 5.08 deaths/1,000 live births in the UK, so it's not surprising that France also leads in life expectancy at birth: 79.73 years compared to 78.54 years for the UK. What's going on? Well, there is one really striking difference between the two countries in the area of 'human development': while France has 6% of its population below the poverty line, the UK has almost triple that, 17%. Perhaps Saunders, Smith and Giddens view this negatively, as a sign that France has, as they claim, failed to face up to new economic challenges.

The economics of the two countries could be debated forever, but that's the point. France has a lower per capita GDP, $33,015.40 versus the UK's 35,421.19, but this seems a difference, not a disaster. The same is true for GDP real growth rates: France's is 1.4%, the UK's

 
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Godofgamblers       4/16/2007 7:41:26 AM

We would love to sell the monarcy not only do we get rid of them we get paid for it and some other country gets the burden of them poncing around spending their tax money whilst being generally useless and controlling much of the economically valuable land in their capital (the royals and their extended family own much land in the center of london that would otherwise be used far more profitably; in the region of billions of pounds for the UK economy). Do you know anyone who would be intrested?


lol ! You, Sir, are a true iconoclast, I appreciate that! I assume though that you are speaking tongue in cheek...!
 
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Godofgamblers       4/16/2007 7:56:56 AM

okay, sarkozy preferred more than segolene ....an typical anglo saxon PoV.
The described state of france is not false , but only the macro economic parameters have been shown in this paper. UK is historically more merchant than france , that's a true fact, but ....if you want to compare both countries do it with more arguments. If UK has a better economy, it has a worse public welfare for example.What about UK public healthcare ? What about private bankrupts of british families increasing highly because they can't pay anymore their debts ? is it normal that some brits go to france for a surgical operation , because the waiting time  in a public hospital can be 6 months. If french entrepreneurs ( french word) go to UK for commerce ( another one) it's only to make more money than in france, and not for the quality of life. Can you easily buy or rent a flat in London if you are a lambda citizen ? no it's terribly expensive. Where is the social advantage of that ? Some brits are tired and disgusted of the life in UK , and so they settle in france , where life is much better to live for many reasons.
What car do you drive ? from a UK manufacturer ? no that's over , even rolls royce is german now. Where are your heavy industries ? Aren't you afraid to travel by train in the Uk with the deplorable state of the british railways ? Do you live in London ? the london electricity is managed by EDF ( Electricite de France) , did you know ?
You're more wealthy than the french ? yes , because all is to be sold in UK, even the public and historical monuments, industries, etc ...i won't be surprised if you sell, one day, your royalty to the highest bidder.


The Anglo Saxon model IS successful... according to some. It just depends who you are. That model is more successful at creating wealth, admittedly, but it pays little attention, as you point out, jean, to the Distribution of wealth.
The poor seem to be paying for the pay raises of the rich and some are even flushed with pride as they watch the GDP rise, oblivious or uncaring to the fact that the rise is coming out their own pockets.
 
In France there is more of a balance and a distancing from "le capitalisme barbare" (unrestrained capitalism). Whether the French have gone too far to the left will soon be apparent. We shall see if they can create 'a French way' or if they are fighting an irresistable tide. Russia, Indonesia and most of SEAsia clearly follows the Anglo Saxon way...
I wonder how long the French can maintain the protective bubble around themselves; but it is to their credit that they try.
 
 
 
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Shirrush    Sauve-qui-peut!   4/16/2007 5:10:31 PM
The thing is, people are leaving France, vowing not to return.
I for one am experiencing increasing difficulty securing a seat on the francophone hiking club's bus on weekends. There appears to be a general abandonment of France by its Jews these days, but hey, I'm not one to complain about that.
The Brits have always been emigrating from overpopulated Blighty, so nobody notices them.
Fact is, the French are packing and moving out of la Douce France, that's something new.
Something is seriously wrong there, and the strenuous efforts of the French to deny this are useless in the face of this unprecedented migration.

Here in Israel, we pin lots of hope on Sarkozy's ability to steer France back into the West, but i can wager we'll be disappointed even if he is elected, as I'm quite sure that he will change nothing in the Jihad-appeasing policies of his predecessors, that will keep on being implemented by the same functionnaries.


 
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