Congrats to Loic for Sarkozy, the man he was advising in all things internet, being elected President of France. It makes all the brouhaha at last year’s Les Web 3 seem pretty small beer, six months later.
Here’s a nice article in The Guardian about what’s really at stake: “The French seem to have the perfect lifestyle: long lunches, short hours, great food and plenty of ooh-la-la. But their new president is determined to make them work harder, faster, more efficiently – just like the British and Americans. Merde alors, says Stuart Jeffries .”
It’s a tough decision everybody has to make, both as individuals and as a society. Economics vs Quality of Life. It’s the eternal conflict.
The French like their way of life, and rightly so. The problem is they haven’t quite figured out who’s going to pay for it. Of course you could say that about all Western countries to some extent, but more than others, France seems to have gotten it down to a fine art. A quality that arouses both admiration and pity in equal measure.
A foreign point of view is always interesting to hear.
Especially this one 🙂
I think I have a small idea of who is gonna pay for it…
At least, it won’t be those people who spend their holidays on yachts and have dinners at Fouquet’s, like Mr new President and his friends…
Hm, I find the Economics vs Quality of Life line puzzling. I’d say without economics there isn’t much quality of life… no dilemma there.
Good point, Adriana. Maybe “Making money vs quality of life” would have been a better word choice.
I’d say in America the French way of life arouses more resentment than anything else. They’ve chosen to work less and live more. We’ve chosen to work more and buy more. We’re all running a deficit but at least the French aren’t busting their asses to get there.
John, I agree with the thought re. resentment. I’d also wager that most Americans are blissfully unaware how simply lovely and magical France can be, on a good day.
But you’d have to pay me a LOT of money to start a business there…
I say give the French “more credit”!
More credit cards, predatory mortgage lending and out-source their jobs to China.
Viva La USA’s Quality of Life!
Americans work hard to give a BS perception that there is a better quality of life here. If Americans are having leisurely second glass of wine, it will probably the only thing that they can afford without going over credit limit on their VISA and they are drinking to numb the feeling of having way too many bills!
And that my friends, is why Americans work harder.
So, is France going to join our war, too?
Hi Hugh &all, thanks and see you soon !
Who’s wearing rose coloured specs here then? For many French people, life really isn’t the idyll Hugh suggests. I know, I’ve lived there. As Hugh says – no way would you set up business there unless you have very deep pockets.
Their main problem is one of being schizophrenic about their social security system. It’s very, very good, but it is expensive to run (as is the case everywhere.)
Stifling entrepreneurship with a heavy tax burden exacerbates the problem yet successive governments have been too frightened of dealing with public service unions who think they can hold the country to ransom when it suits them.
Sarkozy has a tough job on his hands. It’s really a matter of the extent to which he has the will to introduce what for many will be unpopular reforms.
Glad you posted the cartoon again, Hugh. I spent a while looking for it on your site last week to link to my post about Loic speaking at IW 2007!
now I can!
The French get a raw deal in the press. The people are actually delightful (in a rude french sort of way). I was there two years ago and only encountered genuine people who love life (and did not resent me for being American!). I like France and the people of France. I intend to go back again for a longer visit, but not to start a business!
That being said, it all comes down to economics for a country. If 15 years ago you had told folks to look at Ireland as and economic leader in the EU, everyone would have been puzzled. Yet the Irish have made changes to their economics and their economy is doing well. Yet, I do hear that the traffic in Ireland is now a mess due to the growing population and growing middle class buying more cars. I guess there is a trade off to everything!
Oh Hugh, surely with a Global Microbrand you wouldn’t need to be paid a lot of money to start a business there?
Isn’t that what Cumbria was for you – until you decided you wanted more, of something Cumbria couldn’t give you?
Dublin traffic isn’t half as bad as it is in other capital cities of the world. The city is crowded, but what can you do, somewhere needs to accomodate all the migrating French, escaping from “very, very good social security system” 😉
actually, the “migrating french” (around 800 000), come back in France for the caring of the social system.
Anyway, 35 hours is way too much.
Great cartoons, but maybe a little quick judgement and a quick summary of “french way of life”.
Snails, anyone ?