Lazy French Protest Their Right to Collect
France is awash in rioting. You may recall about six months ago that rioting broke out after two Muslim youths who fled from cops got themselves electrocuted when they made the brilliant decision to hide in a power substation. Now, French youth have come out again to riot about the fact that they actually have to work.
A new proposal allows employers to terminate young employees within a two year probationary period. What that means is that France's anti-business labor laws will become just a bit more business-friendly. And it also means that hiring of young people may become more attractive, given the fact that employers would not be shackled with a dud employee for his entire vocational life.
But the French are beside themselves. For some reason, merit-based retention remains a truly odd thing for the Gauls. And the riots should make clear to employers that their reluctance to hire French youth remains a wise decision.
But this kind of thing, and the need for such a law is completely foreign to Americans. Firing and layoffs are very common occurrences here. Employers retain people based on merit, and those who deserve to be booted are often shown the door in favor of someone who does a decent job. And such a disparity in the treatment of the lazy partially explains why the United States standard of living is much greater than that of Western Europe.
I must credit the Chirac government for offering such a bold proposal. But given that the latest news Chirac, in true French form, is surrendering his position just a tad, by allowing the probationary period to be 1 year only. But the notion that socialism is bad for business seems to be getting through. Interestingly, the French seem to fear that competition from India and China will outclass them, which it very well might. But if they allow a capitalist system that doesn't punish private enterprise for doing what it does best, they may actually find themselves prospering.
Socialism is a fine plan if one wants misery spread out equally. But I wonder if the French are preferring a certain level of misery that they know over a capitalist boom that they don't.