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The Root Problems with the French Economy and Rioting

November 6th 2005

The Root Problems with the French Economy and Rioting

France in Crisis

Northwest Paris has been the scene of continued violence and rioting.  Many immigrants live in this section of Paris, but the violence has spread throughout the country including Normandy and along the Mediterranean.

At least 607 vehicles have been burned according to Canada’s CTV.  Patrick Hamon of the French national police said the figure will likely rise. 

France has a problem with simmering anger in the suburbs by African and Arab immigrants.  Many immigrants are complaining about unemployment and poor housing along with being discriminated against.  This is according to CTV.

Let me ask you a question.  Why is it the government’s fault that unemployment is so high?  It appears to me that the socialized and highly regulated French system is to blame. Also it is not the government’s responsibility to ensure that everyone is employed.

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Maybe the French should rethink the burdens they place on their economy.  In 1996 the French government began to offer incentives to companies to reduce the work week to 35 hours from 39. 

While looking out for the worker the French government has neglected smart business practices.  Also according to the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) “hourly workers now have less control over when they can take vacations than their white-collar counterparts.”  And worse yet many workers complain that they have to work much harder now than they did.

In a book by Timothy B. Smith call France in Crisis he claims that among the rich Western European and North American nations France has had the poorest record of job creation and most drastic increase in unemployment during the last quarter of the twentieth century.   

It is speculated that one of the reasons for the poor economy is the dramatic increase in social spending.  Government spending in France went from 46% of the GDP in 1980 to over 54% in 1998.  Even with all the spending poverty increased and income equality remained high. 

The unemployment rate reached 12.6% in 1995.  Worse yet the youth unemployment rate reached 30%.  These are the official numbers according to Smith. According to Smith the French system is not necessarily a socialist “state” as it was in 1980, but has now become a welfare state. 

Whatever you want to call the French system it is pretty obvious it is not working. Hopefully Americans watch the news casts with an understanding of their history.  If so the conclusion should be that excessive regulation and collectivism does not work.


By Tom Madison
Tom is freelance writer

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Keywords and misspellings:  sosialism french

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