What's the matter with the French?

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sublimit said:
I've given up on any British government as its just too depressing to think about it.. I try and think about cycling or women or anything else and blank out the the tw*ts that supposedly run the country.

When we had a fuel tanker strike a few years back here I thought it the best thing ever, it was completely brilliant because the country almost ground to a halt within 7 days, and the morons running the UK panicking bigstyle.. all good stuff. :)
I remember that fuel crisis quite well. It was brilliant for me too because I was too poor to afford a car at the time so it didn't affect me personally. I could just spectate ;)

I had a small consulting company in Britain and we did well but we had to kill ourselves to get ahead. Everything we gained, we lost in other ways. We were doing long commuting days and paperwork nights. Our personal lives suffered incredibly. Labour just wouldn't let us be. They taxed us like crazy and yet they were still borrowing enormous sums for their ridiculous IT projects and their illegal wars.

The French still put their stock in family and community. They don't stand in train stations, pretending to send SMS to avoid catching your eye and wondering all the while why their lives are turning into a Pink Floyd song (there aren't any trains to catch anyway right now ;)).

I say good on them for looking to the spirit of '68 when all of the original '68ers are now quietly comfortable behind their executive and political desks or else the wheel of their golf buggy. :)
 
Jul 6, 2009
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sublimit said:
They get so many days off on strike and retire at 62 with loads of public holidays and better working conditions and less hours etc etc than the the UK and they are still complaining..:rolleyes:.

Bringing down governments should be encouraged but really.. The French are in a fantasy world.
exactly we need more protests and demonstrations people are lazy in the us we dont do **** just watch freedoms get chipped away at while trying to buy something we dont need that we think we do. governments must be kept under control somehow for america it is too late though this country is very sick and deeply troubled sad to watch really:mad:
 
The Hitch said:
Sarcasm is difficult to detect on internet forums, since the reader will often read a sentence in a different way then the writer intends them too.

Hence Smilies exist. Like this

If you dont include a smilie in your post how are people meant to tell that your joking
I put the wrong damn face. :p,;),:D

Should have been this, ok. :)
 
If you think that the current demonstrations are just about retirement you are seriously misinformed!
If they aren’t about retirement to a large degree, then all the media I have followed are seriously misinformed.

This is not about retirement people, it’s a statement of dissatisfaction and discontent with our law-makers, our politicians (who BTW are all well paid, will retire earlier than most, ferried around in nice cars, and work in a palace).
And it took the French centuries to figure this out, and by coincidence, they discovered this great secret at the exact same time that a proposal to increase the retirement age was put forth?

I think what you and the other poster I quoted are getting at is that this is the straw that broke the camel's back. But it is a pretty weighty straw.

it’s just that they don’t agree with giving up the rights of the people
Where exactly is it enshrined that people have a right to retire at 60 and not 62?

However, if you look at the real crux of the problem in France and in Europe in general it is unemployment. By raising retirement age you also add to this problem by keeping people in work longer and not making openings for the youth.
Yes, I understand this is a problem, but somehow, I can’t see massive protests over that. When the stock market dropped precipitously in the U.S. a few years ago, many older people put off retirement plans. In fact, that has been going on for about a decade. I haven't noticed any younger people taking to the streets to complain about how that is hurting the job market. Though to be fair, our population may be more apathetic. It takes something much more serious, like universal health care, to bring on the riots.

As far as I'm concerned, it's their business and they should do what they feel is right. I'm all for that. France is doing this for France, not anyone else.
As an American, I welcome criticism of our country from people abroad (as if we ever had to ask! I believe de Tocqueville might have been French?). Obviously what we do here is not just “our business”. The world is deeply interconnected, one would have to be very naïve to think that changes in one economy have no impact on other countries. Think Greece.
 
Jul 17, 2009
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My then fiance (now wife) and I spent 7 months traveling through France skiing the Haute Savoie

with the exception of the lady selling tickets at le musée du Louvre everyone we met, worked with and partied with was awesome.

I have never liked this generalization of all things french we read here.
 
Merckx index said:
If they aren’t about retirement to a large degree, then all the media I have followed are seriously misinformed.



And it took the French centuries to figure this out, and by coincidence, they discovered this great secret at the exact same time that a proposal to increase the retirement age was put forth?

I think what you and the other poster I quoted are getting at is that this is the straw that broke the camel's back. But it is a pretty weighty straw.



Where exactly is it enshrined that people have a right to retire at 60 and not 62?



Yes, I understand this is a problem, but somehow, I can’t see massive protests over that. When the stock market dropped precipitously in the U.S. a few years ago, many older people put off retirement plans. In fact, that has been going on for about a decade. I haven't noticed any younger people taking to the streets to complain about how that is hurting the job market. Though to be fair, our population may be more apathetic. It takes something much more serious, like universal health care, to bring on the riots.



As an American, I welcome criticism of our country from people abroad (as if we ever had to ask! I believe de Tocqueville might have been French?). Obviously what we do here is not just “our business”. The world is deeply interconnected, one would have to be very naïve to think that changes in one economy have no impact on other countries. Think Greece.
A couple of comments MI: firstly, in regards to the French reacting against the unjust privileges of the ruling class "taking a few centuries to figure out," have you not heard of the Bastille and the Revolution? It has to be said that theirs was much more historically significant than ours, because it struck at the core of the ancient regime. Ended up cutting off it's head and was not merely a war of colonial independence (and only with the help of the French, oh my!). De Tocqueville then came abroad to study how a colonial project, without the weight of history on its back, might be useful. The weight of the straw has always, therefore, been heavy in France.

Secondly you seem to forget that the stock market's precipitous fall was directly connected to the US housing market. That the Americans didn't start a revolution against the criminals, seems to me potentially far worse for the future of democracy than a few French students exercising their democratic right to occupy the public square and make their voices heard (raging against the machine). I'm all for it. The machine is the problem, like the ancient regime was back in 89, not the people's voice.

If America is so inclined to accept all the hardships with apparent stoic heroicism, it is precisely because they have been utterly cowed and beaten into submission. How much more will it take for them to get truly riled up?

The French say if our leadership has systematically defrauded us for years (and no worse is this the case than among the US leadership toward the US people), then why should I just submissively fold to whatever helps clean up the mess they have made. In the end the differences between the US and French position are profoundly cultural, though you seem to take no account of this, or rather are willing to only take into consideration America's and its way of dealing with things. As if they are "wrong" simply because behaving "differently." But the world is beautiful, MI, because varied. ;)

In a world where politics has been given the homework by industry and finance to adapt society to the globalizzation of the economy - and thus must enact policies which promote competitiveness, while at the same time has to try compensate for the negative consequences for society caused by opening up to the global market - its nice to know there are still some who remind them that there are other concerns of a more fundamentally human nature such as the rest of life.
 
The retirement age must increase because the fertility rate is too low, how else are they going to take care of the elderly? Either you raise the retirement age, or old ppl will die - your call France.
 
Sep 13, 2010
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I'm having a hard time believing that these young hooligans are truly concerned about their retirement benefits age. You sure don't see a lot of 60 year olds in these reports. Something's amiss there.

http://www.humannaturemag.com/index.php?option=com_lyftenbloggie&view=entry&year=2010&month=10&day=20&id=26:youth-at-the-forefront-of-french-protests

It's funny that there are still people who think that the European economic model is superior. Perhaps they should allow people to just print their own money. After all, what's the difference who prints it? This would only speed up the process of self-destruction and be very educational for the socialist fanboys... Or would it?
 
TheDuke said:
.............
As a resident in France, and not being French, I think I am well placed to give you a better insight about why the French do what they do...........
Vive la France!
Congratulations TheDuke on a very well written and thought out post. Usually I skip when it's long, but I read your's till the end.

Since you put your kids in French schools I assume you read French. Did you read Peter Gumbel's book "On achève bien les écoliers"?

Cheers
 
Sep 13, 2010
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TheDuke said:
...it’s a statement of dissatisfaction and discontent with our law-makers, our politicians(who BTW are all well paid, will retire earlier than most, ferried around in nice cars, and work in a palace).

...

Vive la France!
LOL, le mouvement thé français! :D I wonder how many would resent that comparison more, conservatives or liberals?

BTW, thanks for answering some of the questions I had above (I hadn't read your response before posting it).
 
i hope Sarkozy goes away soon. neofascism is rearing it's ugly head everywhere
the Tea Baggers here are showing up in Europe. the IMF and World Bank are
behind these "austerity" measures. what it really means is they want you to get less and they get more. simple,mean,evil.
 
usedtobefast said:
i hope Sarkozy goes away soon. neofascism is rearing it's ugly head everywhere
the Tea Baggers here are showing up in Europe. the IMF and World Bank are
behind these "austerity" measures. what it really means is they want you to get less and they get more. simple,mean,evil.
Seems to me that the Tea Baggers and the French protesters have a lot in common. They both resent the government making decisions designed to ward off economic collapse.

in regards to the French reacting against the unjust privileges of the ruling class "taking a few centuries to figure out," have you not heard of the Bastille and the Revolution?
Tell me you're joking. My whole point was that this protest was not about something the French have known for much of their history.

Secondly you seem to forget that the stock market's precipitous fall was directly connected to the US housing market. That the Americans didn't start a revolution against the criminals, seems to me potentially far worse for the future of democracy than a few French students exercising their democratic right to occupy the public square and make their voices heard (raging against the machine). I'm all for it.
Again, you make a point that should be directed against someone I was responding to, not to my post.

If America is so inclined to accept all the hardships with apparent stoic heroicism, it is precisely because they have been utterly cowed and beaten into submission. How much more will it take for them to get truly riled up?
If you mean by that, burning stuff in the streets, I hope it will take a lot more. But the Tea Party is pretty close to that now.

In the end the differences between the US and French position are profoundly cultural, though you seem to take no account of this, or rather are willing to only take into consideration America's and its way of dealing with things. As if they are "wrong" simply because behaving "differently." But the world is beautiful, MI, because varied.
I've seen too many McDo's in France to buy that. Of course there are some important cultural differences, but again, I'm used to people abroad criticizing what we do here, and I'm not going to refrain from criticizing what some people abroad do. Particularly when it is so blatantly obvious that it impacts the world economy, and therefore me.

The day is long gone when people in France can pretend that their economy is insular, isolated from the rest of the world's. How they run it has major implications for what happens over here, and vice-versa. Better get used to that.

its nice to know there are still some who remind them that there are other concerns of a more fundamentally human nature such as the rest of life.
as evidenced by lighting fires in the streets?
 
all relative

L'arriviste said:
................
(there aren't any trains to catch anyway right now ;)).
Of course, less people think the country is at a complete standstill, you should perhaps mention that "any" really still means that even on such a strike day there are far more passenger trains running in France than, say, in the US or maybe even in the UK.
 
Merckx index said:
Seems to me that the Tea Baggers and the French protesters have a lot in common. They both resent the government making decisions designed to ward off economic collapse.
....
Gauging French politics through a US mirror is bound to give the result you demonstrate in the rest of your post : utter nonsense.
 
Jul 2, 2009
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The Hitch said:
FFS it was a joke. Hence the ;)

People like you know it is a joke, though find it much more convenient to jump at it and lecture the op, because it works out best for you. :rolleyes:

bait and switch' ,

just a thought
 
Merckx index said:
Seems to me that the Tea Baggers and the French protesters have a lot in common. They both resent the government making decisions designed to ward off economic collapse.

If you mean by that, burning stuff in the streets, I hope it will take a lot more. But the Tea Party is pretty close to that now.

I've seen too many McDo's in France to buy that. Of course there are some important cultural differences, but again, I'm used to people abroad criticizing what we do here, and I'm not going to refrain from criticizing what some people abroad do. Particularly when it is so blatantly obvious that it impacts the world economy, and therefore me.

The day is long gone when people in France can pretend that their economy is insular, isolated from the rest of the world's. How they run it has major implications for what happens over here, and vice-versa. Better get used to that.

as evidenced by lighting fires in the streets?
I find it difficult to believe how much of a blockhead you are. Comparing the French political demonstrations with those of the Teabaggers is utterly moronic. For the simple reason that the former is doing so within a tradition of descending upon the public square based on enlightenment principles of social justice, the latter are a bunch of cultureless idiots who have no concept whatsoever of neither the enlightenment principles, nor social justice and represent the most miopic, egotistical and obtuse side of America.

Burning things on the streets today is a far better option than slavery to the capitalists and their political cronies tomorrow. Potentially this is what is at stake, as the way the entire Wall Street debacle was handled after the great fall. Now I realize from the comfort of your world, such subversive action toward government is utterly terrifying, but as someone else said, the only other alternative is to become sheep. Democracy is a gift for those worthy of recieving it, and at times necessitates being willing to take risks to support a moral cause. The disobedience of the weak and numerous, while the more arduous position, is thus at times by far the more noble choice than easy submissive obedience to the few who are powerful.

In any case the real issue isn't about raising the retirement age, but pension reforms. All over Europe, and not just in France, we are witnessing a systematic dismemberment of a more humane capitalism, because more social and more civil, that was born in the decades following WWII. And this represents a return to a cruder and more savage, because preditory and anti-social, form of capitalism, more in line with the US system and of a more industrial age mentality now utilized by China. The result is a mad, precipitous rush toward broad social spending cuts to redimension the State in the interests of global competitivity. Well if this form of regime capitalism is allowed to assume total control of the State, which is the direction we are headed, then we can also kiss good-bye all the gains in terms of liberty, equality and democracy that many gave their lives for between the XVI-XX centuries. This crisis of Western democracy and capitalism, now in the midst of the globalizzation of the markets, had been accelerated by the "reform" process promised by the deregulatory policies of Regan and Thatcher in the 80's and by the fall of Communism, once seen as both an antagonist and rival.

Sarkozy had been elected with promises like "If you work more, you earn more." In short, an American. Yet the crisis has demonstrated that this is not the case. Indeed what happened is that you simply have to "work more," but there are no gains in the society of today. It as well as the society of the immediate future, will only be paying for the mistakes and greed of yesterday's and today's rich. For this reason it has been devastating to Sarkozy's public immage the president's being aligned so tightly to the world of the rich: always making appearances with finacial bankers and "traders," his party at Fouquet's on the Champs Elissè with billionaire friends, his vacation aboard the billionaire Balloré's yacht; but above all his fiscal policies in favor of the super rich a là Regan have seemed during the crisis like a smack in the face to the working class and the emerging youth society in France. And this goes for the entire present French governmental apparatus and its lawmakers.

In the manifestations of Place de la Rèpublique, Place de la Nation and between Place d'Italie and Les Invalides over the last days, Sarkozy and his policy makers have thus been branded by the angry and struggling masses as "friends of the rich."

30 years to build a more social and civil capitalism, is being dismanteled in just a couple, by the same people who took full advantage of it and who now expect the rising generation to make the hard sacrifices for the their excesses. A new Middle Ages is just over the horizen and this is what the French protesters can't put down without a class and generational gap struggle. And they are doing simply what democratically must be done.
 
rhubroma said:
...30 years to build a more social and civil capitalism, is being dismanteled in just a couple, by the same people who took full advantage of it and who now expect the rising generation to make the hard sacrifices for the their excesses. A new Middle Ages is just over the horizen and this is what the French protesters can't put down without a class and generational gap struggle. And they are doing simply what democratically must be done...
As someone who would probably be a member of this "rising generation" I tend to agree with this synopsis.

What has the reckless profiteering of my parents' generation and their slightly younger lackeys who've been promised the scraps brought me?

My job, which consists of managing things that don't actually exist, is at permanent risk from being sold out to contractors or offshored to the Far East by some fat corporate funk just to make his CV look good (and it is a 'he', of course, it always is).

I'll probably never be able to retire but if I do, there'll be no state support despite all the contributions I'll have paid in by then.

I could not think of buying a house even if I wanted to.

I have to pay huge taxes to fund illegal wars started for bald profit and a multitude of vote-winning scroungers.

The list goes on and on and on.

And now I have to have my balls scanned by airport technology.

I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take this anymore!

So I'm proud of what has been done so far to counter these excesses, whistleblowing, satirising and using the Internet to try to dismantle media domination and the bloated music and film industries. One result so far is that very few of us believe in anything we're told. I hope there will be many others to come.
 
L'arriviste said:
As someone who would probably be a member of this "rising generation" I tend to agree with this synopsis.

What has the reckless profiteering of my parents' generation and their slightly younger lackeys who've been promised the scraps brought me?

My job, which consists of managing things that don't actually exist, is at permanent risk from being sold out to contractors or offshored to the Far East by some fat corporate funk just to make his CV look good (and it is a 'he', of course, it always is).

I'll probably never be able to retire but if I do, there'll be no state support despite all the contributions I'll have paid in by then.

I could not think of buying a house even if I wanted to.

I have to pay huge taxes to fund illegal wars started for bald profit and a multitude of vote-winning scroungers.

The list goes on and on and on.

And now I have to have my balls scanned by airport technology.

I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take this anymore!

So I'm proud of what has been done so far to counter these excesses, whistleblowing, satirising and using the Internet to try to dismantle media domination and the bloated music and film industries. One result so far is that very few of us believe in anything we're told. I hope there will be many others to come.
I share your sentiments entirely.

It is this complete and utter loss of a "hope" in the future among the emerging societies in Europe today, together with the awareness that the last generations grew up with great hope in potential better living conditions for their futures (the posibility of buying a home, having a retirement pension provided by their tax contributions and all the other things you mentioned, etc.) that is at the heart of the crisis. This while the political class continues to safegaurd the interests of the big players in the markets and protagonists of the economic scene, while leaving the masses to fend for themselves and foot the bill of growing debt caused by them.

Which only demonstrates how profound the crisis of capitalism and democracy is in the West today. For an emerging generation that can't place hope in the future is destined to be condemned by it. We expected so much more from democracy, but this is what we get. The widening margin between the haves and the have nots, the erosion of the middle and working classes, set against the gargantuan profits of the few. All while the politicians enjoy benifits worthy of kings and seem to live in a world out of touch with reality, as they continue to court and be courted by the magnates of industry and the financial markets. Yes, mad as hell, indeed.
 
Merckx index said:
I've seen too many McDo's in France to buy that. Of course there are some important cultural differences, but again, I'm used to people abroad criticizing what we do here, and I'm not going to refrain from criticizing what some people abroad do. Particularly when it is so blatantly obvious that it impacts the world economy, and therefore me.

The day is long gone when people in France can pretend that their economy is insular, isolated from the rest of the world's. How they run it has major implications for what happens over here, and vice-versa. Better get used to that.
You're kiding right? You have the gall to talk about France's economy placing in danger yours! As an American?! :eek: After deregulation, the housing crisis, toxic portfolios, banking fraud, "creative financing" and Wall Street, and collectively how these things impacted upon the global economy. Get real! I didn't think my countrymen could be so confused and see the picture all wrong.
 
rhubroma said:
I find it difficult to believe how much of a blockhead you are. Comparing the French political demonstrations with those of the Teabaggers is utterly moronic. For the simple reason that the former is doing so within a tradition of descending upon the public square based on enlightenment principles of social justice, the latter are a bunch of cultureless idiots who have no concept whatsoever of neither the enlightenment principles, nor social justice and represent the most miopic, egotistical and obtuse side of America.

Burning things on the streets today is a far better option than slavery to the capitalists and their political cronies tomorrow. Potentially this is what is at stake, as the way the entire Wall Street debacle was handled after the great fall. Now I realize from the comfort of your world, such subversive action toward government is utterly terrifying, but as someone else said, the only other alternative is to become sheep. Democracy is a gift for those worthy of recieving it, and at times necessitates being willing to take risks to support a moral cause. The disobedience of the weak and numerous, while the more arduous position, is thus at times by far the more noble choice than easy submissive obedience to the few who are powerful.
I went to jail as a political radical back in the day, so I do have some experience of these things. One of the things I learned is that regardless of the principles motivating some cause, the cause always includes a lot of "cultureless idiots". I also found that "sheep" are not the province of a single party or a single world view, they're found in abundance in any mass movement. The term "mass movement" basically implies the need for sheep.

The contents of the rest of your post I'm very familiar with. As I say, I was a radical once. Violence in the streets didn't work for us back then, it very likely won't work in France now.

You're kiding right? You have the gall to talk about France's economy placing in danger your's! As an American?! After deregulation, the housing crisis, toxic portfolios, banking fraud, "creative financing" and Wall Street, and collectively how these things impacted upon the global economy. Get real! I didn't think my countrymen could be so confused and see the picture all wrong.
I didn't say that America doesn't share a lot of the blame for what's going on. I simply said that what goes on in either country affects the other.
i
 
Merckx index said:
If someone here wants to present a reasoned argument why an increase in retirement age in France is not only unnecessary but unwise, or evidence that the protests are really about something else entirely, I will certainly listen.

Not to mention an argument supporting the premise that what the French do has no impact whatsoever on what happens in the U.S. (If that were really true, all the major news media in the U.S. could fold up their foreign bureaus, as the main purpose of them is to help Americans become informed about what's going on in these countries, on the rationale that this information is relevant to our lives here). But I haven't heard any such arguments yet.
Part I: Is it so difficult for you to fathom a concept of anger over what has been done, which refuses civil conquests and social garauntees to an emerging generation, by those who got to enjoy them among the last generations who are making policy today? And by the latter's mismanagement of funds and resources, their squandering of a surpless they depleated for their own frivolous enjoyment and which no longer exists.

Part II: Your analysis is an insult to intelligence.
 
Merckx index said:
I went to jail as a political radical back in the day, so I do have some experience of these things. One of the things I learned is that regardless of the principles motivating some cause, the cause always includes a lot of "cultureless idiots". I also found that "sheep" are not the province of a single party or a single world view, they're found in abundance in any mass movement. The term "mass movement" basically implies the need for sheep.

The contents of the rest of your post I'm very familiar with. As I say, I was a radical once. Violence in the streets didn't work for us back then, it very likely won't work in France now.



I didn't say that America doesn't share a lot of the blame for what's going on. I simply said that what goes on in either country affects the other.
i
So typical. The ones who were starting the fires decades ago in their youth, have sold out and have become the firemen of today. I'm not an advocate of violence, but your transformation is rather pathetic and so typical.

PS. What lacks in your final statement is any sense of proportion and measure. While each nation contributes to the totality, there are different quantities among the contributors. Thus your comments are being announced form the last pulpit that has a right to be preaching in this regard.
 

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