Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Decline And Fall Of Europe (Labour Laws Edition)

Revolution is nothing new in France, but I have been left gobsmacked by the latest protests over new labour flexibility laws. Essentially, the proposed laws 'would allow businesses to fire young workers in the first two years on a job without giving a reason, removing them from protections that restrict layoffs of regular employees.' By 'young workers', they mean under 26 years of age.

Well, youth unemployment stands at 23% in France. And it stands to reason that one of the biggest reasons for this is that it's impossible to fire anybody once you've hired them. Let me get anecdotal for a second: I previously lived with three French youth for a year, all of whom were in London because they couldn't find work at home. One, with a masters' degree. regaled me with stories about how he tried to work in a paper hat factory, and they demanded three years' experience (!) and references an arms' length long. That's to work in a paper hat factory.

So good luck to these protesters, who seem to have no idea why they can't find work, but want damned well to be mollycoddled once they've gotten it.

I only bring this up in the spirit of St Patrick's Day, because Ireland, and not continental Europe, is showing the way. To wit, here's a classic quote from last year, by former French Minister of Industry Patrick Devedjian:

"The French social model is not a model, since no-one wants to imitate it, it is not social since it leads to record unemployment, and it is not French since it is based on class struggle and a refusal of reformism."

So here's to the Irish model prevailing. If for no other reason than it makes Guinness go down even more smoothly, as if that were possible. Here's hoping you had your fill on Friday, MacDuff, though I have little doubt.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Here is an article from a fellow blogger that hits on the same points as you but equates it closer to the ills of socialism.


2:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Same points as Cooper, you mean (although on this we are pretty much in agreement).

Thanks for the link.

2:25 PM  
Blogger The Tiger said...

MacDuff, you're agreeing with this post by Cooper?

Your convergence with the right (classical liberal version) continues...

8:50 PM  
Blogger James MacDuff said...

I don't think you have to be a flaming free-trader-at-all-costs to agree that France needs to look at significant reforms, as Paul Wells' list of rhetorical questions on the subject indicates.

12:12 PM  
Blogger The Tiger said...

Economic liberalization... that's where it starts.

Come over to the dark side... :-)

5:40 PM  

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