Back in November last year the French Agency for International Investment (IFA in French) released its latest "Index of French Attractiveness". This index measures nine "determinant of attractiveness" of 14 OECD countries in terms of labour competitiveness. Luckily enough for French workers, it would seem that this critical issue is improving. France went from the 13th to the 10th position. You can read it all in the article "France wins attractiveness" published by the Le Monde - France newspaper.
Which begs a question. Why would French employees need this index in the first place? It would seem obvious to us that French employees are lazy, stupid, unreliable, and generally speaking, incapable of work right? No. That can't be it. Maybe they are overworking, hyper-intelligent, extremely reliable and generally speaking, too capable of work and this handicaps them because they are viewed with suspicion, right? No. This can't be either. It would seem that they are not either super people or morons. It would seem that they are just regular people who happen to live in a place called France. If they are just like everybody else on the planet, why the necessity for the index? Where does the difference comes from?
In order to answer this question we need to take a look at the determinants of the index. They are:
- large and dynamic market
- education and human capital
- research and innovation
- administrative and regulatory environment
- financial environment
- costs and taxes
- quality of life
- green growth
Well… nothing so far. How about if we take a look at the index from a different perspective. Since it is obvious that geopolitics affects this index, let's take a look at its influences:
- large and dynamic market <-- government controlled/depressed
- education and human capital <-- government controlled/depressed
- research and innovation <-- partially government controlled/depressed
- infrastructure <-- government controlled
- administrative and regulatory environment <-- government imposed
- financial environment <-- government controlled/depressed
- costs and taxes <-- government imposed
- quality of life <-- government controlled/depressed
- green growth <-- government controlled/depressed
Hummm…. do we begin to see the culprit? We think so. It turns out that this index is necessary in order to measure the negative influences that the French government is having over the labour market in France. This index does not measure French labour condition "attractiveness"; it measures the degree of French government meddling in labour markets.
THE UGLIER ANSWER
Which begs a follow-up question. Why would French labour markets be so much worse than other OECD labour markets? And the unavoidable answer would be because of the French government. And why would the French government make labour conditions worse hence making French labourers less competitive than what they would normally be therefore creating an artificial problem? Because they are dampening labour market conditions through taxation and bureaucracy. And why would the French government do so? Because politicians want to stay in power but in order to accomplish this they must provide cushy jobs for the -vast- French bureaucracy while at the same time maintain "high standards" of "social welfare" French people are accustomed to, in order not to get kicked out of office.
And here we have the key to the problem. French workers are screwed because they believed that they can live beyond their means. They believed so because politicians said and promised so. But promises mean nothing, what means something are deeds. And so French politicians did. French politicians are the enablers of such ridiculous promises and French workers are now paying the consequences. Not only is the French labour market less "attractive" than other markets, it will continue to be less "attractive" for as long as French politicians mess with it. The root cause of the problem is that French people are not yet ready to get rid of all politicians and until such time nothing much will really change.
Of course this is not an exclusively French problem. That's right. We are all screwed because we all live under the iron thumb of politicians. In a typical fashion for our articles, we began with a specific problem and we stumbled upon a generic one. As French people would say "merde!".
Next time you look around asking yourself why you can't get a job or why the only available jobs suck or why life -in general- sucks, take a look at the economic conditions prevalent in your country. Take a look at what politicians have accomplished, regardless of what their propaganda is telling you. Remember, it's not what they say they will do or will happen, it's what is really happening today all around you. Effects not promises. Politicians had 200+ years to get it right and they could not. Remember that all progress (with very few exceptions) came from people working on their own. Almost all the technological wonders that surround us today came from people just like you or us, not from governments. As governments produce nothing, they can only shift resources from one place to another at a monstrous expense. Which means that at best they are incredibly wasteful of your money. But this process does not end here. In shifting resources from one place to another, they are actually modifying the structure of market conditions creating an artificial one which derails and confuses entrepreneurs. In so doing they are preventing the relentless race towards better and cheaper goods and services which would negate the need for governments in the first place!
By doing what they do, governments are creating the miserable conditions necessary for people to need them and demand of them to "redistribute wealth". In other words, governments are self-fulfilling nightmares, and the best political system that does so is socialism (see Socialism - The Most Addictive Drug).
French workers, just like any other people in the world, are no better or worse than everybody else. What makes them different is the actions of the French government, just like your labour properties (hard work, cleverness, dedication, intelligence, etc.) are twisted and shredded by the actions of your own government. Understand this; no matter how hard you work and how good you are at so doing you are not in control of your employment conditions, your government is. It is out of your hands. Wake up and take a look at what's happening all around you. The entire world is circling in the toilet after politicians flushed it. Do you seriously believe that Afghani workers are better workers than Chinese ones? Or that Brazilian people work less than US people? Or that South African citizens are less productive than Russian ones? No. They are all part of the human race and as such their potential is determined by genetics, not governments. Although it is true that in different countries different conditions (education, health care…) apply and this does have a significant effect on the outcome of people but not their potential. If this would be so, all scientific and technological advances would have been made by a fistful of cultures or races. Let's not be ridiculous. It is politicians that create the conditions for people not to be able to fully express their potential. Some politicians are worse than others, this is clear. But what is also clear is that no matter what they do, they can't do better than truly free markets and unleashed entrepreneurial activity. Markets are already optimized systems and any tampering only makes things worse; far, far worse. Welcome to your labour market.
But then again, maybe you enjoy being unemployed or underemployed. Maybe you enjoy having no future at all. Maybe you enjoy having no means and are looking forward to a prosperous carer as beggar. That's OK. That's your choice. Just don't drag us with you.
Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.