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Yes and no.

Andreani (and VGE) is spot on. There is a lot to criticize in today's France but the constant France bashing within and abroad has reached the point of inanity. Most of the foreign "models" promoted by the bashers have little to contribute when they are not plainly false (holding the UK or the US as models for immigration is downright hilarious).

Still, Andreani misses an important part of the picture. There's a good reason why it's so easy to sell the "falling France" BS. The other side has lost a lot of its credibility. The disconnect is so huge between the preservationist discourse and the reality on the ground.

For instance, the infamous "défense des acquis sociaux", a so-called corner stone of the French model, means nothing to the millions of French workers stuck between interim work and temp contracts. Labor relations plain suck in France, with no hope of serious reform, the field being trusted by ultraliberal ideologues who would not survive an honest day of work and discredited, laughably weak labor unions, overrun on their left by the usual gaggle of coordinations and other forms of ultra-left wing entrism.

France has yet to kill many ghosts.
by Francois in Paris on Thu Dec 29th, 2005 at 10:44:37 AM EST
That's a good point: the defenders of the status quo are defending the wrong things from that status quo. They are thus not credible, as you rightly point out; the problem of course is that there are others things, much better, in the status quo, that everybody has kind of forgotten.

The fact that the "generous" French social model does not deliver so well anymore does not mean that no social model can be generous, but it needs to work differently than what we have now.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 29th, 2005 at 11:10:53 AM EST
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And the sad result is that everything ends being bundled.

A good example: the French health care system which is supposed to be so ruinous. Not only, it delivers vastly better results than the "liberal" model (***cough*** US ***cough***), but its cost base, as high as it is by UK standards, is also significantly lower at ~9.5% of GDP vs ~14% in the US. It needs some tweaking as any system, but all calls for a complete upturn, for instance, by introducing "competition" with private insurances, are based on flat out lies. But it's pretty hard to defend when you also try to defend, say, les 35 heures.
by Francois in Paris on Thu Dec 29th, 2005 at 11:53:33 AM EST
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