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As others have pointed out, we said clearly in the article that there are things that need change in France. I said above that, if I were in charge, the administrative complication for the self-employed and small businesses would get cleared up. For the record, I would also shake up or clear out and rebuild the ANPE, which is a lousy employment agency. I would also undo and rebuild the URSSAF (the main social contributions collection agency, for those who are not in the know), which I know from past experience can be monstruous both in terms of incompetence and inflexibility.
But our intention in this two-language article (which was written for simultaneous submission as an op-ed to Le Monde and the Financial Times) was to refute the conventional wisdom one can read or hear in practically the world's media about France. It was not our aim to go into details of what might need change. I have written here on ET in the past about how I would like us to be able to get round to discussing that - but the tide of propaganda (real propaganda, the kind that is backed with big money and power, elaborated in think-tanks and enunciated by pundits and "experts", relayed by the media) is such that we spend our time fighting it. What we're saying above is that the French economy is constantly attacked as "declining", "stagnant", "failing" etc by neo-liberal campaigners who want to bring it into line with American-led globalisation, and who have hi-jacked the word "reform" to mean their programme of liberalisation. The points we make are not cherry-picked as you imply. They are a response to the allegations made overwhelmingly often on the supposed causes of the supposed failure of the French economy.
The problem in discussing this with you is firstly that you situate yourself at one and the same time as a person who has been employed and unemployed, been used as an outsourced contractor by a former employer, and also as an entrepreneur and (potential) employer. The liberalisation you appear to call for as the latter seems in contradiction with your interests as the former. The second is a problem of scale - yes, there are painful difficulties within the French system (and elsewhere; I note from your site that you were unemployed for a year in England before coming to France) - no, that does not prove the propaganda about the decline of the French economy is right.
(I realize I may sound supercilious in what I say, but I don't mean to belittle the problems you've been through. So, as I said above, call me names if you like).
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