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Showing how much of the propaganda is pervasise is this pretty amazing catch by afew in this morning's Guardian:


Transport workers' unions voted yesterday to keep a national strike going through the weekend to protest at President Nicolas Sarkozy's plans to strip away generous pension benefits, union officials said.

Journalists have been so well trained to call pension benefits "generous", or "unaffordable", or something similarly denigrating, that they adjunct these adjectives to the word even in sentences where it's absurd.

It's still pretty sad to see that in the Guardian. It's not completely surprising to see the FT explicitly take a side which is easy to presume is also that of its readership, but ... the Guardian?

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Nov 17th, 2007 at 01:41:38 PM EST
Well Jérôme, I fully agree with the existence of a bias in how things are presented, and loathe the way Sarkozy seeks confrontation everywhere.

Now, in your heart of hearts, do you personally think that the SNCF pension system is not generous? Or, to look at the general pay package, that bonuses for kilometers travelled include a no-bonus bonus so that it is paid even when no kilometers are travelled -during holidays- is not on the generous side?

Yes, there is bias, the word "generous" without explanation is an invitation to take side. I would, though, not call it inaccurate, especially compared to the normal pension system. Maybe "comparatively generous" then.

Having said that, I'm not happy with the way Sarkozy went into this -he was clearly seeking confrontation.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sun Nov 18th, 2007 at 03:06:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A larger part of their salary comes in the form of contribution towards pension plans than for most people. But apparently, agreeing to a larger pension in exchange of a smaller salary is generous from the company.

Wages of SNCF drivers don't seem particularly generous, even including the added income that comes from the comparatively higher pension benefits. Yes, part of the pay package has strange denominations. And ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Nov 18th, 2007 at 03:21:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, this is where we differ. I don't think wages of train drivers are ungenerous at all (nor in fact wages of most SNCF employees, but only drivers get to retire at 50) -especially on a comparative basis.
I would like everyone to be wealthy of course. But if you compare SNCF with similarly qualified jobs with similar difficulties (nurses for example? although they are more qualified than most SNCF positions) they seem to have far, far more generous conditions.


Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sun Nov 18th, 2007 at 04:36:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or you can compare it to realtors who are getting much higher wages, often without qualification.

The closest job comparable to TGV driver is probably that of plane pilot... which have much more generous benefits. (and unlike plane pilots, train drivers are supposed to repair their trains on the fly in case of of problem).

And SNCF has difficulties recruiting, because of the very weird hours, (like nurses employers), which is another way to show that it is not that generously compensated...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Nov 18th, 2007 at 05:20:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your link says nothing about SNCF having trouble recruiting. It is a recruitment brochure, merely indicating that they are recruiting. I have a friend who joined SNCF lately, her view was rather the opposite, it was the joining that was very difficult, there were so many candidates.

As for comparing a TGV driver to an airline pilot, I think this convinces me for good that you are not of good faith. It's far closer to a long distance bus driver, although if you multiply people travelling by likelihood of an accident, the bus driver has more responsibility and a more exacting job. Not that he gets paid as much or retires at 50...

Can this topic ever be discussed honestly or must it always be propaganda on either side?

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 05:28:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I want to see the long-distance bus driver who is responsible for 400 passengers, drives 420 tons at 320 km/h, takes no toilet breaks, and wakes at 2am. And what about suburban train or freight train drivers. Speaking of discussing in bad faith and issuing propaganda...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 05:59:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's far closer to a long distance bus driver, although if you multiply people travelling by likelihood of an accident, the bus driver has more responsibility and a more exacting job. Not that he gets paid as much or retires at 50...

Surely figuring in likelyhood of an accident is dubious at best, if not interlectually dishonest. If a train driver is better trained or more skilled and so has less accidents then surely he deserves to be better paid, rather than it be decided that he is worth less.

As for deciding the bus driver has more responsibility, I've yet to see the Bus that carries 2 to 3 hundred pssengers. plus if one driver runs slowly, he can wreck the timetables of the whole network.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 05:59:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The train driver is not alone responsible for higher train safety, but it is certainly true that following safety rules is more stringently required and controlled, as well as a larger part of the job. Meanwhile, if there is an accident, much more people are at risk and the kinetic energy to be absorbed in the crash is orders of magnitudes greater.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 06:52:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
a couple hundreds ? A TGV driver can transport up to 1090 passengers. A RER driver can transport legally probably 2630 passengers, and I bet the RER A is very often filled over capacity...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 07:04:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The maximum capacity with two SNCF-version MI2Ns is even 2674. If you couple two six-part Z 5600 trains, one train driver even gets the responsibility for a theoretical maximum of 3282 passengers. (Tho' I'm not sure I saw such a combination on the RER C or RER D.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 07:24:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Was taking the smallest train I could think of

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 10:07:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, then the UK rail system has indeed cut service more than I thought... It's not that hard to find trains with one or two dozens passengers in southern Europe...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 10:24:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I did assume it was full ;-)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 10:36:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, there are two-axle single-car railcars that do have a capacity around that of a bus.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 11:01:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What's so different between an airline pilot and TGV driver? The reason for prestige of one, and not of the other, is historical rather than about qualification differences. Trains used to mean handling coal and thus meant working class, whereas planes used to be the heir of horses, of ships, the instrument of nobility and officers, and thus was associated with upper classes. But what is different between the button-pushing of piloting a modern planes (which in effects pilots itself) and that of piloting a modern train ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 06:24:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You remind me of another dimension: most train drivers who'd be around to retire at 50 now have even tougher prior service on less modern locos in their bones. (Pre-air-conditioning, stage-switching electrics were more hard and stressful than today's too.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 06:59:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, what about the number of dimensions you operate within? Three for a plane, one for a train.

The low likelihood of crashes even compared to a bus does not come from supreme training but from the much more limited possibilities to create an accident. A family friend once drove a TGV -he is in fact a medical doctor (don't ask me how he convinced the train driver to let him do so -but he did. Without training. I don't think he would have been able to fly a plane or even drive a bus).

No, multiplying by the probability of an accident is not dishonest, otherwise you may argue that a museum keeper has more health and safety responsibility because there are more people in the museum than in a plane or a train. If an accident is well nigh impossible, you are not in a situation where a small mistake can spread disaster. Most of the time, a TGV driver would have trouble creating a crash if he tried. A bus driver must take corners, drive on mountain roads, has lots of visibility problems, can fall victim of an exploding tyre...

And it's not just about prestige for the planes either. A jet pilot must be able to land a 4 reactors plane with a single reactor left. What would possibly be the equivalent on a TGV?

As for long distance bus drivers (or jet pilots) at 2am, it's far more frequent than TGV drivers! I don't see too many TGVs during the night. But when my orchestra went to Poland, well, we were driving through the night, as in every trip that outlasts a day.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 07:13:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, it's not that hard to crash a train. And again, I know of no plane pilot who has to repair the brakes of his plane. Or has to go down on the pathway of objects moving at 300 km/h, as TGV drivers are sometimes asked to do. That is equivalent to landing in very hard conditions (for which planes are much better designed than trains, and for which pilots receive very adequate training after they are hired).

Actually piloting planes is not that hard mid-flight ; that was proven 6 years ago.

The reasons pilots are handsomely compensated is not difficulty of task, or high responsibility, but rather the fact that they have some of the best unions around. And this is changing with the appearance of low-cost carriers.

That's why coach drivers (urban bus drivers often have SNCF-like compensation), who work for many small companies, or nurses (description of the problem here, ) are not.

SNCF compensations are what you can get, when your profession doesn't have direct access to the money supply of the company, and are reasonably well organised in asking for the raises. Nurses are an example of what you can get without proper organisation. What you can get with really good unions is exemplified by, say, book workers, in France. What you get with access to the money supply is exemplified by the banking convention collective.

Of course, nowadays, when neo-liberals are the one with media access, they are pushing the line that SNCF workers are the ones who are "generously compensated", whereas it is the nurses, or John BusDriver, who never goes on strike, who isn't adequately compensated, because he never collectively asked for a raise with the proper arguments - those of withdrawing work.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 07:59:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A family friend once drove a TGV -he is in fact a medical doctor (don't ask me how he convinced the train driver to let him do so -but he did.

So what? Did your family friend watch the signals, or did the locomotive driver continue to do so? Ditto about the wake signal? Does he even know the railway signal book? Traffic dispatcher and order-giving rules? The TGV's brake percentages? Could he stop the train at the platform, or depart? Could he recognise a motor failure, or know what to do when the aggregator for air conditioning is defect? I can 'hold' the throttle on an airplane, in fact children can do when the pilot lets them in, and that's not even forbidden. (BTW, personally I think that TGV driver who let your family friend in would deserve to be fired.)

Most of the time, a TGV driver would have trouble creating a crash if he tried.

Heh. In the case of a TGV, that's true apart from stations, because the automatic a safety systems are so elaborate. But that only means that would a TGV driver attempt to create trouble, the train would stop.

A bus driver must take corners, drive on mountain roads, has lots of visibility problems, can fall victim of an exploding tyre...

A freight train driver must negotiate tight curves and switches, drive on mountain lines, has lots of visibility problems (with the brake distances trains have, every train driver has lots of visibility problems), and can fall victim to a broken wheel tyre, broken rail, failed brakes (especially on a descent), another train in his route after a signal error, landslides into his right-of-way, and bus drivers crossing the red light.

A jet pilot must be able to land a 4 reactors plane with a single reactor left. What would possibly be the equivalent on a TGV?

Stopping a train with 75% of the braking disconnected. And that's pretty critical. Or initiate braking when you have 1 second for that and jumping out of the train ahead of a collision.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 11:15:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, of course something CAN happen. But you must get back to 1988 to come up with an example of casualties in a crash in France, and it was not a TGV. Buses drop off a cliff every year. Talk about comparable likelihood...

Yes, our family friend was watching the signals, he happened to know them. He did not stop it at the platform because he realised through this driving that he had a sight problem : so he stopped the train, thinking that he had no right of way, because he saw the sign wrong. Which is crazy -but proves that he could stop the train at least. Try landing a 747, just for fun.

As for visibility problems, I meant when you CANNOT see in the direction where you are going. A train has only one dimension. It is not the same challenge at all -just check the statistics.

Stopping a train with a quarter of the braking power is really, really not comparable to landing with one reactor in 4. To start with, you don't have the problem that you start rotating...

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 11:26:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
you must get back to 1988 to come up with an example of casualties in a crash in France

Huh!? Where are you taking this? Just one example:

Accident ferroviaire de Zoufftgen - Wikipédia

L'accident ferroviaire de Zoufftgen s'est produit le 11 octobre 2006, vers 11 h 45 à Zoufftgen en Moselle, à une vingtaine de mètres de la frontière entre le Luxembourg et la France. Il s'agit d'une collision frontale entre deux trains qui a fait six morts et un blessé grave.

Which is crazy -but proves that he could stop the train at least.

You mean, he stopped the train on the open line? That indeed is crazy, I wonder how the locomotive driver got away with it. But it doesn't follow that your family friend could sto at a platform, i.e. knlow the proper braking distance and also achieve it (and that in any weather).

I meant when you CANNOT see in the direction where you are going.

That happens a) in fog, b) in curves, c) in rain or snow if you need to see far, d) in the night for unilluminated objects not too close. I am not sure what statistics you refer to or are even relevant.

To start with, you don't have the problem that you start rotating...

LOL. Curving line on a downgrade? (One of the worst accidents in railway history: a French captain forced a train driver to continue with a train packed full of WWI soldiers from the Italian front on Christmas front leave.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 11:51:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Last lethal crash was one year ago...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 11:51:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
After some thinking, I guess you mention statistics still under the assumption that they somehow compare risk between bus and train drivers.

However, that ain't true. It's just that trains have more fail-safe systems and controls on drivers. I.e., if they don't check the brakes or ignore a signal, the train stops or the stationmaster calls them out, if a bus driver does the same, the bus lands in a gorge or collides with a train. It's not that the bus driver has to watch out more.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 12:07:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The difference is real, and huge.

In stormy weather, on an instrument approach to De Gaulle in a vehicle operating independently of any track in three dimensional space- a vehicle with a speed in the transition zone well beyond the top end for the fastest TGV--
In the world's most heavily populated air traffic environment, the pilot will fly a complex approach involving, often, dozens of changes of heading and altitude, changes of speed, of aircraft configuration, all the while communicating with and responding to typically four different radio control facilities,
En route
Approach
Tower
Ground
--- while at the same time executing multiple check lists and maintaining a mental picture of the field, the terrain, the aircraft angle of attack vs. speed equation (a life-or-death matter), our chauffer will feel his way to the runway end and "grease it on", if he is really good (and lucky)- while creating in his head a mental map of the field's complex taxiways so he or she doesn't turn off at the wrong goddamn runway exit. I speak from experience there.
After a night approach in gusty, icy weather, every approach is a clean-shirt deal- to hide the sweat stains. Never, never to be admitted to others, of course.  

I suggest that the heavy-qualified airplane driver is performing an act of real-time skill and judgment that approaches the absolute limits of what humans can do.

Also, Every Cat III approach (could be fully automatic) is monitored and in reality hand flown- hands on or near the controls, even when the autopilot is on-

I have the greatest respect for the TGV driver- or the driver of the local freight. I have shared at least a bit of his or her world, I think.
Pay the hell out of them, and don't bitch.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Sun Nov 25th, 2007 at 08:29:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also, realtors... it's a commercial job. If you sell a lot, then yes you will get more money. If not, you won't. PLUS it's in the tail end of a bubble. So yes they've had some good years, now many will be laid off. Not very comparable to SNCF.

As for qualifications, yes there are people with more qualifications than realtors at SNCF. There are, though, many more with less.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 05:30:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm interested, what do realtors do that is intrinsically worth more than train drivers?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 06:46:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did I say anything like that? No, I never did.
Besides, we would need to define "worth". The train system cannot operate for a profit. So some people may argue that it's worth nothing. I would strongly disagree with them of course.

No, I'm all for public transport and agree that it is very important. Most jobs just are not very hard (in term of competence) to do. Sometimes you have tough hours, which is a pain, but then 25 hours of work in a week (TGV driver) is not exactly taxing, so it sort of compensates. Besides, far from all SNCF jobs require a 2am alarm clock. All, though, have lots of bonuses and early retirement. All have employment for life and no competition.

Nurses do something worth at least as much as train drivers, they work longer hours, with very inconvenient times. Compensation is rarely a direct link to what something is "worth", with no effect from how many people able to do it or for commercial positions (such as realtors), how good you are at it.
Maybe it would be good if it were the case, but then you'd need a system that applies to everyone, not just SNCF. You'd also have to find a fair outcome for the people who could not get the low competence but worth a lot job simply because there were way too many candidates. As is the case for SNCF...

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 07:23:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No you didn't, but you did say that If you sell a lot, then yes you will get more money. If not, you won't,  sort of implying that as you think that train drivers don't deserve the compensation they have, then they don't work hard. Now I know you didn't actually say that, but the implication is lieing about.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 10:13:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Absolutely no such implication.
Simply, commercial jobs, usually, have a small fixed salary with a big variable part.

In a bubble, you are likely to get a big variable part. You are also FAR more likely to be fired when it deflates than is you work at SNCF. So it's only to be expected that in a housing bubbles, some realtors could make quite a lot.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 11:17:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Besides, far from all SNCF jobs require a 2am alarm clock.

Sure, there are desk jobs, ticket sellers and conductors. But then traffic controllers, shunting crews and freight train drivers do night shifts, maintenance shop workers have an alarm clock set even earlier than locomotive drivers, in fact some work only by night. By why did you took TGV drivers as example previously?

but then 25 hours of work in a week (TGV driver)

From this, I guess you are channelling an attack article circling on the French web. It is a crude spin: 25 hours is the driving time, not the work time, the work time is 35 hours like for hte rest.

Le Web des Cheminots [ www.cheminots.net ] - votre forum de discussion entre cheminots, agents SNCF et passionnés des chemins de fer

Un temps de travail annualisé
Alors, fainéants les cheminots ? En décembre, le directeur de l'Ile-de-France a mis les pieds dans le plat, affirmant que les conducteurs de RER travaillaient « 182 jours par an [...] pour une durée de service de six heures en moyenne » . A la SNCF, le temps de travail - 35 heures, calculé à la minute près - est annualisé. Certaines semaines ont six jours, d'autres deux. Mais on travaille le week-end, les jours fériés, à Noël (ou le jour de l'An), et l'on « découche » plusieurs fois par semaine. Précision : un conducteur ne conduit pas 35 heures. « Sur une journée de 7-8 heures, je fais 4 heures, calcule un conducteur TGV. Le reste du temps il faut préparer la machine. Un train, ça ne se démarre pas comme une voiture ! »


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 11:00:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was channelling nothing. I was quoting an SNCF director who came to school to present his company.

Previously, I had mentioned drivers because they only get to retire at 50.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 11:12:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then he wasn't speaking about absolute work-hours either. And you focused in on TGV drivers. It may also be that that SNCF directors' speech and reading a quote of this somewhere mixed up in your memory:

Horaire de travail: 25 heures par semaine (vive les 35 heures)

At any rate, if retiring at 50 is your main problem, I'd welcome if you would consider commuter train, freight train and regional train drivers, too...

I note for comparison that in Germany, there is no separate retirement age for locomotive drivers, but less than 5% reach the official retirement age, most go out after failing medical checks 20-30 years into service. That's quite comparable to the French limit of 50.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 11:37:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know about France, but in Germany, according to SPIEGEL, here is a comparison with other tough or early-wake-up or transport jobs:

Locomotive drivers now: as low as €1500
Locomotive drivers from 2008: €1821-2179 (I guess the difference between management offer and trade union demand is involved)
Construction machine drivers: €2310-2522
Roofers: €2415-2604
Long-distance truck drivers: €1733-1793
Cleaners: €1607-1762
Miner squad chiefs: €2475-2512
Bakers: €1518-1700
Postmen: €1740-2183
Caretakers (nurses) for old people: €1575-2081
Steel smelter worker: €1430

Note that airline pilots' pay is often scaled according to the number of potential passengers (e.g. seats) they are responsible for.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 05:56:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe the answer should be to fight for better conditions for nurses, then, rather than worse conditions for train drivers? Or do you accept the rights assertions that 'we must all work longer hours and more years' to 'save the system from bankrupcy'. Is the need for more, greater, better profits, in a more greater better liberalised reformed 'economy' to the liking of the financial 'services' 'industry' really inevitable and inarguable? Are you a supporter of the race to the bottom? Shall we go out to find the most disadvataged employment group and insist that everyone else accept those same conditions, because, after all, it's only fair that no one should benefit better than others. As long as those benefits can be seen as illegitimate workers privileges at the bottom of the pile, since under no circumstance should 'competitive' pay at the top be under similar public scrutiny?

(None of your biddniss what we pay 'em CEOs and traders and analysts and market players, or how they are taxed. After all, where would the money go to instead? Spoilt train drivers???)

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 06:15:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a complete strawman argument. The topic was not about tax breaks for super rich people, which do incense me, hence I did not talk about that.

I do think that a retirement at 50 for all, with bonuses aplenty during the working years, years during which you work something between 25 to 32 hours, is not workable barring huge levels of taxation, economic isolation, and a huge cut on production. Do you think otherwise? Would you care to explain to me what realistic system of taxation would make it possible?

Until you do, I'll assume that this system is not possible for all. Therefore, calling it comparatively generous is not exactly libertarian. Implying that I would be a brainwashed supporter of UMP is rather funny since it is opposition to UMP that made me get involved in politics...

And I'm all for improving life for nurses. And for a huge list of professions. Now, the thing is, giving EVERYONE a 10% increase is the same as doing nothing at all, because you have merely increased the quantity of money but not changed the quantity of goods...

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 07:35:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Train drivers are not paid through taxation, and SNCF is nowadays making a profit, so this system is economically workable, at least for them.

A lot of people, a bit less than half workers, are getting above median wage. It's pretty hard for everyone to be paid above median wage, thus people being paid above above median wage should not protest when their generous compensation is being cut... That's the gist of your argument. Deciding to be compensated in the form of an earlier retirement age (rather than higher wages, as most do) ought to be a possibility. SNCF workers are the one that accepted higher contributions from their wages to make their earlier retirement possible. Their early retirements are not financed through taxation, nor collective contributions.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 08:12:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a complete strawman argument.
And so was yours bringing up the nurses as an argument in favour of reducing compensations for train drivers. Look, I would be for taking an honest look at working hours, retirement details, etc. If I thought it would be an honest look. As in, we (the people) ought to have the option to consider productivity growth translating to shorter work-time commitments and, yes, along with that, fewer toys, and slower development of toys.

I see huge cuts of production as necessary for the 'west' to live within its means. And huge cuts in the externalisation of costs, in particular when those externalities are in effect off-shored to developing nations. Maybe we should not look to increase the quantity of goods, but rather the quantity of free time? Maybe all the noise about 'accelerated rates' of 'growth' being beneficial and good and necessary ought to be examined as well?

To what end are we pursuing 'growth'? I remain unconvinced the striving for the most 'dynamic' most 'innovative', most 'productive' 'economy' (or whatever are the buzzwords of today), when this seems to translate in a large part to an exploitative, resource heavy, pollution producing, worker abusing, greed promoting 'society'. And, no, I don't buy the idea that we need growth to have a healthy 'economy', and that this is an end in itself. The 'economy' is there in the service of the people, not the other way around. And, no, I don't think we need more job creation. (A benefit often pointed to as an argument for 'market' 'liberalisation' and 'reform'.) I think we need less time spent at work, and a more equal distribution of that work. Some amount of economic isolationism might be a good idea in the pursuit of the less work intensive society. I don't have a problem with high levels of taxation.

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 08:14:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A strawman argument is coming up with something that frightens but does not really exist.

So, you are saying that nurses don't really exist. Congratulations.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 11:33:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, it is coming up with something irrelevant to the issue at hand. I.e. nurses' compensation against train driver privilege.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Tue Nov 20th, 2007 at 02:23:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Straw man - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A straw man argument is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position.[1] To "set up a straw man" or "set up a straw man argument" is to create a position that is easy to refute, then attribute that position to the opponent. Often, the straw man is set up to deliberately overstate the opponent's position.[1] A straw man argument can be a successful rhetorical technique (that is, it may succeed in persuading people) but it is in fact a misleading fallacy, because the opponent's actual argument has not been refuted.


Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Nov 26th, 2007 at 07:27:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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