Hogan's Alley

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

To The Barricades For Mediocrity

The French government has knuckled under to its young people, who will now be rescued from the horrid existential uncertainty of having to actually perform in their first jobs, or risk being fired if, and only if, their employer can establish that they did something worthy of dismissal.

A new standard employment contract had been proposed that would take away the guarantee of a job regardless of one's ability or performance. The intent of the government was to attempt to deal with an unconscionable youth unemployment rate of 23 - 24%, the result of anti-capitalist protections set up by prior governments.

The irony of a nation's young people using the glorious traditions of revolutionary France to protect themselves from having to deal with anything the least bit precarious in their lives is eloquently displayed by Charles Krauthammer in Time. 1968 this is not.

As Krauthammer points out:

The vibrancy of a society can almost be measured by its precariousness. Free markets correlate not just with prosperity and wealth but also with dynamism. The classic example is China today, an economic and social Wild West with entire classes, regions, families and individuals rising and falling in ways that must terrify today's young demonstrators in Paris. In France not a single enterprise founded in the past 40 years has managed to break into the ranks of the nation's 25 biggest companies.
Clearly Chirac and company have concluded that what they saw as a gathering storm of economic failure is seen by 50 million Frenchmen as a slight shower. France will not alter its ways until abject economic failure and the ire of its companions in the European Union force the French people to finally see the light. Sadly it is only a matter of time until this once great nation is surpassed by the former third world economic powers like India.

The important question will then have to asked, why is France still entitled to sit as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council?