Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
No need for namecalling or whatever. ;-)

"The liberalisation you appear to call for as the latter seems in contradiction with your interests as the former."

Not at all. Whether at any time I'm employed or a (potential) employer, I prefer things to be flexible, as employers are more likely to offer me jobs if they don't fear court action. That flexibility is sorely lacking in the French employment market. You see from statistics (although their accuracy can be discussed) that low-regulation countries like Denmark and the UK have lower unemployment.

I have never been complaining about the risks of being laid off in countries with less job protection like Denmark, the UK or France, or the fact that I were hired on temp contracts in the UK. No one ever promised me job-for-life security; I have always assumed my responsibility for keeping myself employed, although it hasn't always worked straight away. The trouble in France is the people have been told to claim all sorts of rights from the employers, rights that small employers simply cannot provide for them.

There is indeed a need for reform of the French employment market. If you refer to "reform" in a particular context of corporate exploitation US-style, then I will not contradict that. But don't hijack the word reform to mean just that.

But as I've described in the case of public companies, worker protection is now so strong that even major public corporations will not have it. There is a need for deregulation across the board in France. Not complete deregulation, but a need for bringing regulation in step with economic reality. And a need for doing away with the French worker mentality of having the belief that their rights are sacred.

Finally, there is a need for admitting that the "social model" is far from protecting everybody but that it rather leaves the most vulnerable out in the cold (not just talking about self-employed).

There is a need to do away with the dogmas that have frozen the French job market for too long.

by skovgaard on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 08:44:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"economic reality"

"frozen the French job market"

I'm speechless.

by Laurent GUERBY on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 09:45:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently as speechless as Marie Antoinette, except her utterings about feeding the starving people with cakes. It's always difficult for people in protected and/or privileged situations to appreciate the conditions of those less well off.

The heritage of the 68 generation in France, as maintained by the so-called socialist party, is a selfish and cynical society where those who've decided how society is run serve themselves and don't give a damn about others. "Solidarity" has become a joke.

About the cynicism in France, I refer to Éric Dupin's book "Une société de chiens".

by skovgaard on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 12:39:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
those who've decided how society is run serve themselves and don't give a damn about others

I think this a good summation of the Sarkozy economic platform; it is very similar to the Villepin/Borloo approach, except that the latter serve themselves and believe that if they could they would like to help others, but they haven't the first clue about how to do so.  

Whats particularly embarrassing about your posts, my friend, is not the substance -- your points about the difficulties of starting and running a small business are important. Whats embarrassing is that you blame these problems on the socialists, who have been out of power for 5 years.

by desmoulins (gsb6@lycos.com) on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 01:01:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France has been run by socialists from 1981 to now, so I can squarely lay the blame for the state of affairs on the doorstop of the French super-cynical form of socialism, while it's obviously correct that the so-called socialist party has not been in power the last 5 years. Chirac has been conservative only by name since his election in 1995. He has kept in place the socialist state of affairs and done vitually nothing to liberalise the economy, even stating that liberalism is a dangerous ideology. It has indeed been embarrassing to watch a so-called conservative government do nothing for 5 years. My big question is if Sarkozy will do what's needed, free of Chirac's limitations, or if he will continue towards the economic disaster. With Sarkozy's obvious taste for power and somehow limited statements on economic conditions, I am far from convinced he's the right man. What I am convinced about is the Royal's tax and spend policy will just accelerate the decline. In the case where Sarkozy is not implementing the needed changes, an acceleration into decline might be preferrable, as a quicker bankruptcy might mean a quicker tidying up.

About starting and running a business, it is essentially beneficial for France if people do it successfully. Adapting the situation to allow them to function better should cost absolutely nothing for the state.

Allowing workers who currently can get only the occasional CDD to work on a CDI with less job protection instead of staying on the dole or RMI should also be beneficial. Except that those on CDIs would fear that their CDI also got less secure. Only in France have I seen such obsession with job security, btw. There are significant savings to be had on the social budget if unemployment got down.

by skovgaard on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 01:22:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You see from statistics (although their accuracy can be discussed) that low-regulation countries like Denmark and the UK have lower unemployment.

I am attracted to the "Danish model" and personally wish France would move in that direction.  However, as for the UK, I believe the reason for lower unemployment there than in France is two-fold:

  • a large increase in public, not private, sector jobs
  • although France has added more jobs than the UK over the last 10 odd years, France's active population has grown even faster than the UK's.

Denis Clerc elaborates these points as follows (afew's translation):

Hardly a day goes by without its elogy of the British employment model. Indeed, the British jobless rate of 4.6% (2nd quarter 2004) is enough to make the French dream. Ten years ago, in 1994, the two countries showed similar, poor performance: 12% for France, 9.7% for the UK. So France should be red-faced today.

Not so sure. Over the same ten years, the number of jobs in the UK increased by 11%. In France, by... 14%. That's because of a rise in the number of government employees, reply the free-marketers. Well, no, because the UK is clear ahead of France in this race: since 1997, 45% of newly-created jobs (861,000 out of a total of 1.92 million), are public-sector, while in France, the number of new non-private-sector jobs (including public sector plus ONGs, trade unions, religious bodies) increased by 300,000 during the same period. Doctors, teachers, policemen, nurses... These are the jobs that have been created on the other side of the Channel. <snip> Not surprising, since public services were particularly badly treated by the ultra-free-market governments of the '80s and '90s.

If job creation in France has been superior, how come the unemployment level remains stuck so high, while it keeps going down in Britain? Quite simply because of the increase in the active (working-age) population. The number of job-seekers rose by 12% in France over ten years, as against 6% in the UK. So France needs to create two jobs to Britain's one to bring the unemployment statistics down.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 10:20:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
a graphic illustrating the first point above that most job creation in the UK over the last ten years has been in the public sector:

(from French economy - fighting the FT version)

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 10:27:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed not ideal, but somehow not surprising under Gordon Brown's tax and spend policy. I don't have the similar figures for Denmark. Sweden has managed to drastically cut down public sector spending and employment.

As I understand the Danish 'model', the principle is to attach the security to the person instead of the job, and to give the necessary attention to unemployment benefit and finding a new job. Since laying off is not a trouble area in Denmark, businesses don't hesitate hiring, so the jobless are not jobless that long. These are simplfied descriptions, and I do not have detailed information about the 'model'. The Danish job market is strongly unionised, and many things happen on concensus. Quite possibly, one cannot just copy that model to France, but parts may be usable adapted to France.

by skovgaard on Sun May 6th, 2007 at 12:48:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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