Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Not All Americans Do French-Bashing.

It seems that, after the intitial (expected) French-bashing, the blogopshere and the (more liberal) US media are now engaged in a more interesting discussion on the context of globalization and French policy.
While Matthiew Yglesias considers that the CPE (First Employment Law) is probably as good an attempt as any to combat the problem of youth unemployment, he also sees some good elements in the French economic choices :
On the one hand, French policy encourages job stability at the price of higher structural unemployment. On the other hand, French policy encourages more leisure time at the price of lower incomes. The first set of policies is a bad idea (though going all the way over to the American side also seems like a bad idea, the French left doesn't seem to appreciate the possibility of a middle ground) but the second set of policies has a great deal to be said in its favor.
In this article in The International Herald Tribune, William Pfaff sees in the whole protest more than fight for job-security, he sees "the French resisting not simply capitalism but a certain model of capitalism, which has managed to take wealth from workers, and from the funding of government, and transfer it to stockholders and corporate executives.”

As for Jim Hoagland in The Washington Post he goes even further (here). He sees the French struggle as a fight for identity:
The French are a society of individualists who take pride in an ideology of solidarity. Their idealized concept of social cohesion is under such intense pressure from the forces of globalization that it must be proclaimed in the streets if it is to survive at all.
His article has some very good background information and a fair analysis of the political aspect of the French crisis. He ends his column on a cdaring omparison between the French protest and the American demonstrations against the anti-immigrant laws proposed by the U.S. House of Representatives:
It is time to forge global and generational social contracts to recognize and mitigate the inequities that a new world of change fosters. By raising their voices, France's young and America's migrants have called attention to that need.
Woa, that last part sounds dangerously 'socialist' now doesn't it?

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