What's wrong with France? Charles Wyplosz writes:
For thirty years now, the unemployment rate has hovered around 8%, and it has been around 25% among the young. The diagnosis is well known: the labour market is highly rigid, with redundancies difficult and costly, unemployment benefits which last for years, and generous welfare payments when these run out. One can live a whole life on the dole, and we now see a second generation of people who simply do not work.
The statutory minimum wage is so high that school dropouts cannot be employed at this rate. In the suburbs where they are concentrated, drug dealing and petty crime can be the norm. High unemployment, meanwhile, feeds an anxiety which means every parent wants their children to enjoy the job security of a public servant.
For the state is huge. It employs more than 20% of the working population on relatively high salaries with lifetime employment, short working hours and long vacations. ...French distrust of financial markets has continued. When the crisis erupted in 2007, President Sarkozy famously promised the end of "financial capitalism". Hollande has announced that "finance is the enemy". I would argue that, like most French people, both are closet Marxists, even though they would strongly deny it.
The reason is that the Communist Party was the largest one in postwar France and its members then colonized the ranks of schoolteachers. You actually learn in school that markets are bad.
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