Saturday, March 25, 2006

"The foreign press, the Americans in particular, do not understand the students"

Along with an evasive roundup of the US press by Marie Béloeil writing in Le Monde, the FT’s Philip Stephens is cited. The WAY it’s looked at, though, says on simple thing about the writer: I just DON’T get it.

«”France is afraid", writes Philip Stephens in the Financial Times of London. Where Thursday’s demonstrations smoldered out in several French towns, it paints the portrait of a nation which fears everything and anything. A divided nation, divided by many things: between those which are in and out the system, between the "cherished" civil servant and the employees of private enterprise who are "exposed to the harshness of international competition", between the unemployed and the others. Especially, Philip Stevens describes France where equity between generations is no longer rule: "the students [who demonstrate against the CPE] are correct up to a point. The burden of the insecurity is distributed in an unjust way (...). If it is probable that the young people will not find some of their own, they will have to pay the generous retirements that their parents secured for themselves. Something doesn't quite compute there."

"It is too late to return towards the past" , and it’s the typical French soap opera: "the aversion to change" appears "at the precise time where it becomes impossible to resist it" . The anti-CPE movement is as futile as the economic protectionism of the government. "France must change if she does not want to continue to be fear ridden", Stevens insists.»

A further case of Al-Jazeera sur Seine just not getting it, sufering from "false conciousness" or having a case of that bad juju following them around:
«The least one can say is that the foreign press, the American press in particular, does not understand the students. The leader-writer of International Herald Tribune is being ironic about it: "another French exception: a rigid fair labor act". Chicago Tribune summarizes the situation in these terms: ”employees in France are protected to such a degree that when somebody is hired, it is practically impossible to lay them off, even if they are very inefficient." The problem is that the final analysis get lost here: "job security of American workers is less than that of the French... but there are more jobs."
The Chicago Tribune shells out numbers: 4,3 million jobs created in two years in the United States, and a rate of youth unemployment half than that of France, and a more robust rate of growth.
Under these conditions, the anti-CPE demonstrations concern themselves with nonsense: "Job security is meaningless if you can’t find a job. The young can protest all they like, but the CPE would give them something a lot more gratifying to do."»
I’d hardly call extending the French exception to one more thing that makes them not fit into Europe an object of irony. The exception taken IS the irony. Identifying it and getting through the cultural bait-and-switch of how it’s discussed is the struggle. The Trib was right on the money here: it IS a social choice over whether or not to let an economy function naturally or burden it with every fool’s hope. Saying that high unemployment isn’t tied to this sort of anti-gravitational social intervention is an obvious sign of emotional resistance to reality.

Think about it: forcing an employer to keep an employee who isn’t working out is considered a social protection. It’s self-evident that a good employee is worth their weight in gold. Losing THEM is a nightmare. Having to carry the inept for 18-30 months after they’re ruining your business only assures one thing if you’re a difficult person or an idiot - that there’s less of a motive on anyone’s part to learn from your own mistakes and improve.

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