Tuesday, April 11, 2006

French People Power Works

After months of debates and two days of the largest mass protests France has seen in decades, the French government's labor law bows to people power.

President Chirac finally repealed the law yesterday after the indubitable demonstration of its unpopularity.

Bad news for Presidential hopeful Dominique de Villepin, that feisty (then) foreign minister who brandished swords with Anglo-American diplomats at the height of the UN debates on the Iraq invasion back in 2003.

Certain quarters lament this sad turn of events. Ashley Seager on talented workers migrating to the UK to find work:
The French are valued workers in London. Many are highly qualified in maths and engineering and have easily found work in the City of London. Thus they contribute to the British economy and pay taxes here rather than at home. It is unfortunate for France that its sclerotic labour market encourages its keen, educated young workers to go abroad in such numbers.
Victor Keegan wonders at the paradox of a succesful capitalist country and the vagaries of its almost socialist-minded people:
France clearly has a serious cultural problem since, if opinion polls are to be believed, two-thirds would like to be civil servants (where their contribution to the wealth-creation process is debatable) and only a third appear to believe in a market economy. This is not an obvious model for a successful economy in a globalised era when companies are competing against low-wage economies in Asia.

No comments: