Saturday, August 24, 2013

France "in decline"

A NY Times article finds the French lamenting their country's alleged slow decline and provides a laundry list of economic woes. Way down in page 2 one finds a few caveats... yes, the French economy "retains plenty of strengths." Sneering a little at those generous vacations, the reporter concedes that "When the French work, they work hard.... labor productivity... is still relatively high..."

Actually, France's real output per work hour in 2012 was sixth highest in the world, ahead of Germany, Sweden, the UK, and Switzerland. Not so shabby for a bunch of wine-swilling slackers!

Update: Dean Baker has more, and is more explicit about the not-so-subtle agenda behind the article. Here's a typical line, without any indication or evidence whatsoever regarding whose "underlying understanding" this is: "There is nonetheless an underlying understanding that there will be little lasting gain without structural changes to the state-heavy French economy." My guess is that it's the underlying understanding of people who would like to gut the French welfare state.

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