Deep in the Gallic soul resides the notion that work is exploitation, a ruse concocted by American robber barons, best regulated and minimized and offset by hours of idleness. The demise of the Soviet Union left France leading the counter-capitalist school.Thus speaks Roger Cohen in his article of Christine Lagarde, France's finance minister aka "the anti-Descartes by declaring the French should think less to work more."
In an interview, Lagarde says that more than two decades at a U.S. corporation taught her: "The more hours you worked, the more hours you billed, the more profit you could generate for yourself and your firm. That was the mantra."
The equivalent mantra in the French bureaucracy might be: The fewer hours you work, the more vacation you take, the more time you have to grumble about the state of the universe, and the smarter you feel, especially compared to workaholic dingbats across the Atlantic with no time for boules.