Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Whither France? (Part Deux)

Having heard from Jabawacefti on the French employment riots, I thought I'd give our readers the patented Codemorse "liberal" perspective.

I should state, right off the bat, that I have very little detailed understanding of the employment laws in France, or of exactly what's going on over there. This should come as no surprise.

But I am more than familiar with the basics, and, armed with those basics (along with Msr. Jaba's commentary and a strong cup of Kona coffee), I am prepared to say....

1) Rioting is dumb.
Who are you impressing? Whose minds are you changing? The answer: no one.
Starting fires and running around in the streets makes you look like an idiot. And a child.
And, frankly, if you act like a child, you should expect to be treated like one.

2) This law, as far I'm able to tell, does absolutely nothing to help young french workers.
It does, however, do a lot for french companies. Thus, one presumes, the rioting.
I fail to see how the creation of a law that essentially destroys job security (deserved or not)
is a boon to young french workers. How does this law help unemployment?

Here in America, businesses hold all the cards. Take a Biz Org or a Corporations class in Law School and marvel at how American corporations have managed to legally make themselves people, with few-to-none of the moral or ethical standards we naturally expect from actual people. Glance, if you will, at the golden parachutes, glittering in the sun, as executives with track records of unassailable failure make off with millions, and their secretaries ponder how they'll spend their retirement money: on food? Or on medicine? Decisions, decisions.

This colors my views toward France's current troubles, and it makes me (partially) sympathetic to those protesting the implementation of this law. Allowing businesses to fire people within the first two years of hiring them probably makes things much easier on those businesses. But how, exactly, does it promote employment in a concrete sense?

And all of you wannabe la resistance members - listen up: setting fires is ridiculous, inane behavior. You want to change something? Then work to change it. This isn't V For Vendetta. Anarchy is not a viable solution.

11 Comments:

At 8:50 AM, Blogger Ben Miro said...

I don't condone or endorse starting fires or destruction of property of any kind....BUT it makes good copy and it scares the people that hold all the cards.

Always has, always will.

I'm all for dousing those in power with a bit of fear now and again, non?

Has a system of government ever peaceably been overthrown? (honest query, not rhetorical)

 
At 8:55 AM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

Someone's been reading their Karl Marx.

I should have actually been more specific. The law helps "competent" workers.

The problem with the law as it stands (from what I understand), is that if worker is hired in France, that worker is virtually impossible to fire, regardless of that worker's competence.

The economics of how this plays out is actually fairly simple. Employers will basically hire the absolute least amount of people they need because they know that absent any extraordinary circumstances, they can't fire these people. So the youth unemployment rate currently stands at a staggering 22-23%.

By allowing for employers to fire the incompetent, since an assumed self-interested employer will maintain the employment of the competent, they will hire more employees.

It's called capitalism. It encourages innovation and growth.

And that is what's so ridiculous about this whole thing. We sympathize (by "we", I mean, not me) with the French workers. But the sympathy doesn't create jobs. In attempting to subsidize everyone, you end up subsidizing no one. Alas, the high unemployment rate in France. Instead of attempting to solve their problems by opening up their markets to capitalist forces, they're fighting to keep them closed. And it's a recipe for disaster.

 
At 8:59 AM, Blogger Ben Miro said...

Nope. Never have, actually. I stick mainly to Groucho.

 
At 9:15 AM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

Actually, I was writing my post while you were posting yours, so I didn't know you'd be above mine. Which makes it appear that the Marx reference is to you. It was to Codemorse. In any case, it's just my cheeky Commie jab, and Codemorse and I have a long history of the same.

 
At 9:21 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

The economics of how this plays out is actually fairly simple. Employers will basically hire the absolute least amount of people they need because they know that absent any extraordinary circumstances, they can't fire these people. So the youth unemployment rate currently stands at a staggering 22-23%

What I don't understand about this reasoning is how giving employers the ability to fire workers of an incompetent nature is incentive to hire more workers.

I'm not being purposefully slow, I just don't see the correllation (sp?). Businesses, especially of the sort affected by this law, don't want to hire more workers than they absolutely have to anyway. You've met Kate's friend, Laura. She's doing the work of three people in her position right now.

Her company could easily hire more people to fill those positions. But they don't. Why? The bottom line. Having Laura do that work is more cost-efficient.

So, my basic question is, what leads you to believe that having the ability to fire people is going to lead to the creation of jobs?

And to answer Katanga - I'm all for shaking things up. Viva La American Revolucion. But in instances like this, where it's assumedly possible to have influenced the course of this law beforehand, rioting is impotent and ineffectual. You're hurting your cause.

As much as I can appreciate Malcolm X, I'll always be a King man, first and foremost.

 
At 9:24 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

And come on, Jaba!

This isn't even remotely socialist thinking!

You Fascist!

Love,

Karl.

 
At 9:28 AM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

Ok. To follow up.

The economics of it goes like this:

The American companies will always hire the least amount of people to do a job, because they will do what is the most efficient. But they also need to think about retention. Because in the United States, most companies have been over the last several years, expanding their business. They have been hiring. And in comparatively staggering numbers. The failure to retain good employees is also inefficient. And why have they been hiring? Because they have the flexibility to hire and fire, which allows for (amongst other things) growth.

The French, on the other hand, can't fire anyone. So, they don't hire anyone. And if no one hires anyone, then no one has a job. And there's no growth. Which is why, over the past several years, the U.S. economy (by per capita GDP), has grown over 3.5% a year. While the French economy has grown a paltry 1.5%. When your economy isn't growing, you don't hire people.

So, the short term seeming inequity in allowing for employers to fire their employees allows in the end, for more employees to be hired.

 
At 9:29 AM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

Karl,

All the love,

Benito.

P.S. It's hard out there for a pimp.

 
At 9:30 AM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

And I meant to say, the French economy has been growing by 1.5% per year.

 
At 9:48 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

Because in the United States, most companies have been over the last several years, expanding their business. They have been hiring. And in comparatively staggering numbers. The failure to retain good employees is also inefficient. And why have they been hiring? Because they have the flexibility to hire and fire, which allows for (amongst other things) growth.

Whereas, economically impaired as I am, I'd think they were hiring because they were expanding.

There isn't much I disagree with in what you've said, but I still don't see how the ability to fire enables an ability to hire. I may have slept through that portion of class (They call me Mr. Sleepy).

 
At 12:41 PM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

Right or wrong, here's my take in as simple a form as I can make it:

Ability to fire (flexibility) leads to efficiency and growth leads to more hiring at the end of the day.

Inability to fire leads to inefficiency and stagnation leads to no hiring.

After that, it's all sort of, capitalism good, socialism bad.

I hope that helps, because I am starting to question my ability to convey thoughts.

 

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