Just on general principles if nothing else…

The comparison between France and the US is a good one, because the two countries have about the same level of productivity, or output per hour. This means that they have the economic capacity to enjoy about the same living standards. The French have chosen to take their productivity gains in the form of shorter work hours, longer vacations, universal healthcare, free college education and childcare, and a more equal distribution on income. By contrast, in the US more than 60% of the income gains of the past three decades have gone to the richest 1%.Poverty is now back to the rates of the late 1960s; college tuition costs have soared, we have no legally mandated paid holidays or vacations, and 52 million Americans remain without health insurance (although this could be reduced in the coming years, depending partly on the supreme court).

England is an empire ; Germany, a country — a race ; France is a person.
Jules Michelet

France, and the whole of Europe have a great culture and an amazing history. Most important thing though is that people there know how to live! In America they’ve forgotten all about it. I’m afraid that the American culture is a disaster.
Johnny Depp

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9 Responses to France: WINNING!

  1. Anon says:

    Is this suppose to be funny? I don’t want to start telling you how wrong you are if you’re being sarcastic…LOL.

    • Phil Scarr says:

      Not sarcastic at all… Bring it. But remember, the point I’m making here is that the French are, overall, spending their GDP growth more wisely than we are and their people are happier, healthier and better educated than we are.

      Start with the Global HPI data (the Happy Planet Index). The US scores 30.7 while France scores 43.9.

      Then look at the HDI (Human Development Index). The US raw scores a .902 and France a .872. But when adjusted for inequality, the US drops 11.4% to .799 while France drops 9.4% to .792, nearly equal.

      Overall, when not adjusted for sustainability, France and the US are nearly equivalent. But once you adjust for sustainability, France (and the rest of Europe) pulls past the US without question.

      No doubt, as part of the Eurozone, France faces ongoing economic turbulence. But that’s not the point I was making.


      • Anon says:

        Your label said humor…so I wasn’t sure. Too late in the evening to debate this…I’ll try my best tomorrow.

        • Phil Scarr says:

          That’s ’cause it’s funny that conservatives think France is some kind of hell… Most of them have never been there, of course.

          • Anon says:

            Oh…well that makes more sense. I was going to say my cousin who has lived in France for years would post comments about how they strike all the time…not very productive. And…more recently she was posting about a politician named Marine Le Pen. I guess she’s who the conservatives are listening to. It seems France is have somewhat of a conservative (backwards) movement of their own right now. Top on the list of evils are the immigrants. Sound familiar?

  2. Pete says:

    “The French have chosen to take their productivity gains in the form of shorter work hours, longer vacations, universal healthcare, free college education and childcare, and a more equal distribution on income.” They chose to place restrictions on opportunity. All these seems like they are there to help you in life. But in reality they are the reason it is hard to get ahead in Europe.

    • Phil Scarr says:

      Yet they’re happier than we are… But by what measure do you say

      it is hard to get ahead in Europe

      The World Bank GINI coefficient for France is 33 while the US is 41. France’s commitment to equality makes for a happier, better society. Oh, and in case you hadn’t heard, Europe is far better at creating new businesses than the US.

      The United States has the second lowest share of self-employed workers (7.2 percent) – only Luxembourg has a lower share (6.1 percent). France (9.0 percent), Sweden (10.6 percent), Germany (12.0 percent) the United Kingdom (13.8 percent), Italy (26.4 percent) and 14 other rich countries all have higher proportions of self-employment.

      And the explanation? Well, the one that makes the most sense is the stability and availability of their universal healthcare system.

  3. Cat Kin says:

    The United States has the second lowest share of self-employed workers (7.2 percent)
    Reason, Phil: “…the stability and availability of their [Europe’s] universal healthcare system.”
    Bravo, mon ami! It’s outright scarey how the anti-France, anti-Iran sentiment defines public opinion in this country.

  4. PJ says:

    The U.S. would be wise to start taking some cues – no – a lot of cues from the rest of the world in matters foreign and domestic. We are losing our status in the world largely due to conservative and neoliberal policies. Toxic competition manifested as “free market” neoliberalism is leading us into oblivion at home and abroad. We were the laughing stock of the rest of the world during George W.’s regime, but the world isn’t laughing anymore. They’re fearful of our politicians and pitying of our people. And that’s the European upside. The downside is what our policies have done on this side of the pond. Has anyone noticed that the Western hemisphere has soundly rejected U.S. economic imperialism and the “war on drugs” at the Summit of the Americas? The U.S. and Canada may just be excluded from future summits. Why? We’re a neoliberal anachronism. But nowhere is that more apparent than in how we regard our own citizenry with respect to labor, education, and healthcare. We stopped leading the world a long time ago, decades ago. When the new leaders were busy building a solid societal foundation we were busy dismantling ours. Those nations who concern themselves with more than what’s best for the profit margin will be leading the free world.

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