Saturday, June 30, 2001

America, faites-attention!

35 Hour Work Week Does Not Destroy France. The reporting in this article is a little light in the loafers. Witness: "There is even anecdotal evidence that French male, blue-collar workers are doing the midweek shopping; or learning how the iron works." Still, there's a valuable lesson to learned from the French. (Never thought you'd hear that, eh?) People can have more free time without the country falling to pieces. Despite dire forecasts, going to a 35 hour work week didn't make France into Germany's bitch. (link via the web today)

Looking for other reporting on the change to shorter work week, I found an interesting article at The Economist's website about another change to French labor law recently passed by the National Assembly to make it more difficult for employers to lay off workers when their business is profitable. The conflict between the ideals of social justice and economics are fascinating. As with the 35 hour work week, business types are predicting this will hurt the competiveness of French industry and reduce foreign investment. It may be too soon to say if the 35 hour work week is a success or not, but it seems to me you have to applaud the French for at least trying to make business act like it's part of society (which it is) and bound by rules other than the those of the markets.
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