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April 08, 2006

France: Civilized, Educated, Talented, Proud - But Not Like Us?

As modes of work and workplace, including their definitions, keep changing, "work ethic" is never an easy subject. And France is my second favorite country. Justin Patten Human Law, in his very fine UK blawg, comments on a recent cover story on the future of France in The Economist. Recently, business-friendly French labor legislation, which lets employers to fire workers under 26-years-old without cause for the first two years of their tenure, has triggered demonstrations throughout France. The French have a 10% unemployment rate. Here is just one interesting excerpt from Justin's post about the article in The Economist:

1. According to the Economist, in a new poll whereas 71% of Americans, 66% of the British and 65% of Germans agreed that the free market was the best system of all, only 36% of the French believed this.

2. The Economist also cites that in one poll 3/4 of young French people would like to be a civil servant, mostly because it would mean a "job for life".

Amazing statistics--and had it not come from The Economist, I would not have believed them. But the French, like Americans, have a little of everything and everyone, do fight among themselves about ideas, and have a history of getting to the right answer in time. Still, these are disturbing numbers. How many of your clients so far this year asked you to help establish a sales or distribution office or light manufacturing plant in France with 20 to 30 employees?

Posted by JD Hull at April 8, 2006 03:03 PM


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