Thursday, October 18, 2007

I'm with the French People! Resist Change!

Sarko and his Finance minister, Christine Lagarde, want to impose on France the American work ethic. My heart goes out to the French. Their sweet, unhurried life is about to come to an end, (and now we're going to have to deal with French disgruntlement that is actually justified. I shudder to think).
As Roger Cohen writes in the NYT:

Deep in the Gallic soul resides the notion that work is exploitation, a ruse concocted by American robber barons, best regulated and minimized and offset by hours of idleness.
And what exactly is wrong with this assessment? Voltaire couldn't have been more accurate.
Lagarde says that more than two decades at a U.S. corporation taught her: “The more hours you worked, the more hours you billed, the more profit you could generate for yourself and your firm. That was the mantra.”

The equivalent mantra in the French bureaucracy might be: the fewer hours you work, the more vacation you take, the more time you have to grumble about the state of the universe and the smarter you feel, especially compared to workaholic dingbats across the Atlantic with no time for boules.

Exactly. But you have a life. A good life. With seventy hours a week spent in a cafe drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes, while your taxes pay for your school, your healthcare and your vacations and your culture. The French are smart.

And by the way, Sarko is the President of France and he is getting a divorce. Apparently, they are grown up enough over there, that nobody gives a damn. Imagine an American president getting a divorce while in office. It would never happen. Bunch of hypocrites.

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