April 21 Sources: France & the Crisis of Aging Populations

France is a great country in need of a great change. This post features a article about the French elections and one about changing relation with Arab powers. There is also an excellent article about a problem facing France and the whole world: aging population. This will certainly tax social programs and perhaps reduce world living standards for the first time since the industrial revolution.

These articles and more are a click away.

U.S. Society & Politics

A Mixed 100 Days - One hundred days is not long enough to judge the legislative success of a Congress.

Biologics Legislation Will Speed Progress - Legislation to expose today's biologics to easier competition, after legitimate patents have expired, is going to accelerate development of improved products.

How Aging Will Reduce Global Wealth - The world's population is aging. Bank balances will stop growing and living standards, which have improved steadily since the industrial revolution, could stagnate.

Large Numbers of People Believe that Direct to Consumer Advertising of Prescription Drugs Influences their Behavior, Attitudes and Knowledge

Mad Race to Be First - In the mad scramble among states to determine which will play a major role in the 2008 presidential primaries, we may be doing serious harm to our presidential nominating process.

Money Walks - The latest Pew surveys find Democrats pulling even with Republicans among registered voters with annual family incomes in excess of roughly $135,000 per annum.

No Policy Can Outwit the Grim Reaper - Because stories like the Virginia Tech shootings are so terrifying, we attempt to put these crimes into our pre-existing categories and use them to advance agendas.

Politics and the Justice Department: Finding a Path to Accountability - - Capitol Hill continues the scrutiny of U.S. Attorney General Gonzales, who is expected to discuss the firings of eight deputies before a Senate panel this week

Protecting Online Identities and Privacy In the Age of MySpace - A new survey and a series of focus groups, conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, study teens' online management of their personal information on social networking websites.

The Medicare Fair Prescription Drug Price Act of 2007: A Step Towards Government Interference - Government negotiation of drug prices would substitute regulation and access restrictions for market competition and consumer choice in Medicare.

Top American Research Universities - This seventh edition of The Top American Research Universities contains comparative tables of performance based on nine criteria.

What Americans Know: 1989-2007 - On average, today's citizens are about as able to name their leaders, and are about as aware of major news events, as was the public nearly 20 years ago.

You Might Be Paying Too Much for Your Mutual Fund; We Figured Out Why - Why would it be that in the mutual fund industry, the principal players--the investment advisers of mutual funds--refuse to compete on price with one another?

Foreign Policy

Financial Times/Harris Poll: The French Presidential Election

Impasse over Iraq Deepens - There was no apparent softening of views on the war in Iraq when President Bush and Democratic congressional leaders sat down in the White House to discuss an emergency funding bill.

Is France Cooling Toward Its Arab Friends? - France’s strategic alliance with the Arab world could unravel after the presidential election

North Africa’s Rising Radicals - On April 11, simultaneous suicide bombings (CNN) in Algiers killed thirty-three people and injured hundreds, while ripping the facade off the prime minister’s office building.

RAND Proposes Blueprint for Building Moderate Muslim Networks - This research brief summarizes work to develop a road map for building moderate Muslim networks to counter the message of Islamist radicals in the war of ideas within Islam by drawing on the U.S. Cold War democratic network-building experience.

The World’s Growing Nuclear Club - India can offer some lessons on non-proliferation in a new nuclear age

Two Protests, One Sign of Hope - Two recent demonstrations highlight both progress and lack of progress in Eastern Europe.

World Publics Reject US Role as the World Leader - Majorities Still Want US to Do Its Share in Multilateral Efforts, Not Withdraw from International Affairs.

Energy, Economics & Environment

Calibrating Macroeconomic and Microsimulation Models to CBO's Baseline Projections - Dynamic analyses capturing such interac tions between taxes and the economy are facilitated by integrating macroeconomic models of the econ omy and microsimulation models of taxation.

Discussing Global Warming in the Security Council: Premature and a Distraction from More Pressing Crises - The projected threats of global warming do not rise to the level of Security Council consideration.

Fission for Answers - While ethanol captures the imagination of energy officials in the Western Hemisphere, a familiar fuel source—nuclear power—appears to be stirring excitement on an even broader scale.

Globalization and the Environment: Why all the Fuss? - The relationship between globalization and environmental policies is not just “free trader versus self-serving protectionists.” This report sets out a structural and analytical framework for addressing some of the major issues between these two views points.

Greenhouse Gas Reductions: California Action and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Summary - In the absence of a federal program requiring greenhouse gas reductions, a growing group of U.S. states are taking action in this arena. Significant actions have been undertaken in California and by a coalition of states from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

AFL-CIO Aims to Capture Congress on Financial, Not Intellectual, Grounds - Financial capital, in a cash-dominated society, always wins over human capital.

Policy Issues for Oil Shale Development - Testimony presented before the House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources on April 17, 2007.

Why Free Trade Works for America - Renewing the President's trade promotion authority, reforming and reducing the scope of the farm bill to promote a successful conclusion to the WTO Doha Development Round, and guarding against populist, protectionist trade policy changes would go far toward expanding economic opportunity in the U.S. and around the world.

Posted by Jack at April 21, 2007 5:46 PM
Comments
Comment #218054

I heard a French history teacher interviewed the other day. He stated that they had become a very weak military power with a second tier nation with a weak economy. Their president is famous for his corruption, the French have taken bribes to support terrorists and brutal dictators. As evidenced with both Arafat and Saddam. They have dreams of glory and view themselves as the leader of a great Europe attempting to oppose and offset the US militarily and economically.

Political correctness however is leaving them prostrate before a massive, hostile, intolerant illegal Muslim immigrant invasion.

Some European leaders have said privately they feel that Europe is already lost. And some have publicly stated that to do anything to oppose the Muslim take over would be racist. Their political correctness dictates that they essentially allow an Islamic take over.

Hopefully we will not follow Europe (as so many on the left want us to) down this path of socialism, weak economies, and despair into the waiting arms of intolerant Islam.

Posted by: StephenL at April 22, 2007 7:24 AM
Comment #218064

I can’t feel sorry for them, because if they had been at all smart they would have put money away and invested it to provide a safe return. The money should have been in an account that could not be touched except for this purpose. If they wanted a name for that account, they could have called it a “lockbox”.

Posted by: Max at April 22, 2007 11:05 AM
Comment #218065

The French are the best lesson for not what to do for the United States. The French are for everything, and, yet stand for nothing. The French brought their problems on themselves. For instance, both Presidents truman and Eisenhower repeatedly not to go back to their colonies the lost control of during World War II. They did just the opposite and caused themselves and the world alot of heartache,ie. Vietnam and Algieria.

They have traditionally been for everything the US is against, and against everything the US is for. Their aging population problem is theirs to figure out. But they will have more than enough Middle Eastern Muslims who are now Frenchmen to pick up the slack. France is a museum to the past and not a role model to the future.

Eventually, the French tr-color flag will always have a star and cresent attached to it.

Danny L. McDaniel
Lafayette, Indiana

Posted by: Danny L. McDaniel at April 22, 2007 11:27 AM
Comment #218068

We can use the French mistake to prevent this from happening to us. The younger generations shouldn’t pay for the older generation’s health care. What will happen to the younger generations when they age? Let’s go back to the old-fashioned way of saving money. We don’t need a bunch of stuff.

Lower paycheck taxes and get rid of programs. That will keep more money in people’s pockets. Since Europe will be Islamified, we shouldn’t pay for their military anymore. We never should have done it in the first place. In an increasingly US-hostile world, we should drop funding for the UN.

Posted by: stubborn conservative at April 22, 2007 1:27 PM
Comment #218093

4th first posters,

First, as a french poster here, I must thanks you for wasting your time on commenting about the obvious irrevelent France. You definitively show it.
Second, your doom saying to french is very kind of you. I know french bashing is becoming the newest US national sport (one more french thing that will
stick to your culture, I guess), but may I suggest you to find the nearest bashing club in you area, I’m sure there many. You seems to be quite good at it, maybe you could do some money of this skill?

StephenL,

Nice anonymous opinions. I love the one about supporting brutal dictators, in particular.

Max,

Do you really think that the concept of money saving is ignored in France, or what?
It’s not because some money is mutualized at the national level, not the individual one, that there is no saving. In fact, there is more.
What applies to edge funds works here too. Money don’t care about being private or public. Money is money is money. As is saving.

Danny,

Thanks you for confirming me that the french standed for nothing at YorkTown. From someone living in a city named Lafayette, I’m sure you know that better than everyone.
Oh, BTW, Indochine was a french colony. Vietnam never was.

stubborn conservative,

Younger generations don’t pay older generation’s health care. All generations pay for everyone health care. That’s called an universal health care system. Anyway, what’s the younger generations are paying for the older ones is retirement.
When younger generations will age, the new younger generations will do the same, and this cycle could goes on until demography or economy become too weak. It’s not an issue of generation offset, it’s an issue of generations volumes. France, like the US and others nations BTW, is facing the massive babyboom generation acceding retirement. Allowing people to keep more of their own money in their own pockets won’t help people without money and/or pockets. That’s weird, but the french do think that not just the wealthy should live longer and well. So far, it worked fine: average lifetime is higher in France than in US, for example.

Last but not least, US didn’t pay for France military since a very long time. As to drop US funding for the UN, be my guest, as you don’t actually pay it already, arguing that you pay way more by supporting pretty much all logistic costs of UN operations you joins (politically, economically and logistically).
Since you don’t join UN operations anymore, your costs/funds have already dropped.

And that’s welcome, as your unilateral Iraq War costs are skyrocking, I’ve heard.

—— Your soon islamified french blogger.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 22, 2007 7:17 PM
Comment #218101

Have all the digs you want at France. France today is at a crossroads. It is a time of crisis for la republique. Many French people are filled with fear; fear of the future, fear of change. It is a crisis of confidence for France. At a time like this, it needs a leader of vision and courage, a leader with a spine of steel. Come the hour, come the man, even if its not this time.As the more astute of you will know, crisis is a time of opportunity. Will the French funk the opportunity this time? Can either of the surviving candidates maximise that opportunity for France? Time will tell. Sooner or later however, France will have to seriously deal with its problems, and then it will.

But lets not gloat. France has contributed so much to western civilisation, in so many ways. And for all of its present neurosis and its sometime philosophical existential paranoia and even schizoprenia, when it runs out of places to hide, it will stand and face the future, just like anyone who has lost faith in the future and in their own power to influence it.


Vive la belle France!

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at April 22, 2007 8:52 PM
Comment #218105

Philippe & Paul

I was not gloating and I meant no disrespect for France.

In fact, Paul, my feelings about France are very similar to yours.

Philippe

France has a choice. I hope you will make the right one.

P.S. I heard Francois Bayrou wrote a book about honeybees. He would have made an interesting leader.

Posted by: Jack at April 22, 2007 9:28 PM
Comment #218107

I wonder what, in the opinion of posters here, IS the right decision for France in their election?

I for one find French politics utterly confusing, as the right-left divide there seems to contain far different dimensions that it does elsewhere—especially the United States.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at April 22, 2007 10:22 PM
Comment #218108

LO

Right & left do not apply the same in France as in the U.S. Nobody is the perfect candidate but Nicolas Sarkozy is their best bet. Segolene Royal is a fuzzy headed socialist. Everybody else is out.

Posted by: Jack at April 22, 2007 10:46 PM
Comment #218119

Jack, on balance I agree with you about the candidates. However, I think there is something dark about Sarkozy, something frenetic and possibly dangerous. As one British politician said about the former Tory leader in Britain, Michael Howard, there is something of the night about him…… a kind of Vampire maybe!

LO, you are right about the difference in politics in France and the US. In the US, you don’t have a left party. You just have right, and righter! Right?

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at April 23, 2007 4:24 AM
Comment #218120

Jack,

I’ve voted Bayrou sunday.
But I’ll not make your “right choice” as you hope.

I have absolutely no trust in Sarkozy.
He have too many times show what an power-hangry, self-centered opportunist he his. He say to one audience the exact contrary of what he have said days before to another audience. He behave like an arrogant lawyer (which is his real job, btw), not like a uniting leader.
He barely control his neirves most of the time, and every harsh critique fire him to a point never seen with any previous french politician I know.

Even The Times recognize its brutal personality.
It’s a mix of Cheney (not Bush, Cheney! - exploit fears and lie), Berlusconi (control on media; muting/firing opposite opinions; clueless insults) and Napoleon (I can’t have too much power).

Last but not least, he’s an (the only) incumbent: he got 5 years to already change France policies, as interior minister (security, cops) and budget minister. And the output is not shiny: french still fear insecurity, the number of physical aggressions have increased (but the non-violent robery acts dropped, I’ve less chance today to be robber *without* being agressed, hurray), the cops are less respected than before, the number of police abusive behavior have increased, himself couldn’t go in many suburbs areas during the political campaign without an huge (over 300 policemen!) taskforce to secure him, while no other candidates needs any. And France debt *increased* at an even faster rate than before, to the sadness of EU commission.

And, considering all these, I should trust him to continue for the next 5 years?
I don’t fall in such trap.

I’m not happy about Segolene Royal even. She failed to recompose the socialist party into a missing modern social-democrats, as it exists already in the rest of Europe nations or in the US for example. She failed to offer a younger mind and more charismatic image in the campaign, just because she believes that her credibility for the president job needs a distant stance.

I wanted Bayrou, like 1 on 5 french. But between Sarkozy and her, I knows who I don’t trust the most. If nothing change, I’ll vote Royal in two weeks. And vote again for Bayrou party in the parlement election in June, to force the new president, whoever he/she is, to consider my opinions.

Heck, that’s the purpose of democracy, right?

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 23, 2007 5:04 AM
Comment #218121

Paul,

However, I think there is something dark about Sarkozy, something frenetic and possibly dangerous.

Indeed. I will do democratically what I’ve to do to deny him access to the Red button. France have nukes. I don’t want any nut unable to control itself to have such power in his hands.

Next month, Sarkozy have to wait a little for a make-up room to free before attending a TV talkshow. He goes crazy and many witnesses heard him doing this threat to the channel direction: “You must be fired! I can’t do that yet, but soon I will”. And I know he will, as his control over media already allowed him to pressure several newspapers (but not TV yet) to fire or at least mute journalists that were reporting too much bad numbers about his 5 years in the current government. And he’s not *yet* president.

Me, I’m for firing him.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 23, 2007 5:21 AM
Comment #218122

LAST month, not “next”. Sorry.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 23, 2007 5:23 AM
Comment #218123

Ouch.
I’m sorry for my bad english these days. It’s cycle, IMHO. I’m in a small regression phase. Logically, the next one should be an improvement step. Cross your fingers, guys ;-)

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 23, 2007 5:27 AM
Comment #218125

Philippe

Thanks for the comments. Anybody who can write anything in a foreign language is admirable. Your English expression certainly puts you in the top half of our commentators, anyway. Everybody understands what you mean.

I do not know about this darkness thing. I think France needs some fairly strong economic reforms. The big pension crisis has not even hit. All of us will face very big challenges. Read that article about aging. It will be very hard for the U.S. to reform entitlements, and we have a lot less.

Posted by: Jack at April 23, 2007 7:46 AM
Comment #218132
I do not know about this darkness thing.

Here some major controversies about Sarkozy.

I think France needs some fairly strong economic reforms. The big pension crisis has not even hit. All of us will face very big challenges. Read that article about aging. It will be very hard for the U.S. to reform entitlements, and we have a lot less.

I’ve read the article, and I undertsand we needs a stronger economic to substain our aging generation. But France is no more a nation *alone*. She’s also one major EU member. Whatever economic policy we will follow in the next years will affect our EU partners, as Germany have impacted us recently for example. Both in positive (strong economic) and negative way (lower wage to increase competitivity against neighbors).

Try to think how one state of the USA could shift drastically its policies without affecting many others around him, if not all.
France economic is no more limited to its borders, and is not anymore totally in its hands.

Today’s Europe doesn’t looks anymore like Aznar or Berlusconi’s dreamed one. EU is more social-democrat than ever.

And Sarkozy’s program, using fear of aging voters and free-market magic of wealthy voters, doesn’t like one.
Royal either, but previous socialists didn’t do a socialist program during 1997-2002, they did a far more liberal, modern one, privating former national industries like never before.
They just refuse to acknoledge it for ideologic reasons. They’re afraid to move on idealogically, even if, pragmatically, they’ve already.

I intend to do my best, aka my ballot, to force them to reform themselves. Segolene Royal is considered at the right of the left. The french have moved to the right already. Only the exterme don’t move, ever. There’re the big losers last sunday.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 23, 2007 9:28 AM
Comment #218136

Philippe-

Thanks for reminding me of the name Lafayette. I remember my history and how the French treated him when he returned to France from America, not well.

I also remember how France blocked American bombers from not flying over French airspace in the mid-1980’s when the great Ronald Reagan ordered Libya’s Momar Gadaffi bombed. That changed Libya’s attitude towards terrorism, but the US couldn’t count on the French. Remember, the TWA airline that left France and blew up over Lockerbee, Scotland. The French did NOTHING! Oh, they did coddled the Libyian terrorists.

Remember the American liberation of Paris and France. If not for the Americans the French would still be under the yoke of the Germans and you would be speaking German. Americans have historically spilled more blood for France than the French for the Americans. The French could have never liberated themselves. NEVER!

Posted by: Danny L. McDaniel at April 23, 2007 10:59 AM
Comment #218138

Danny,

“but the US couldn’t count on the French. Remember, the TWA airline that left France and blew up over Lockerbee, Scotland.”

If you want to rail against the French, at least get your facts straight.

Pan Am 103 originated in Frankfurt, with a stop off at Heathrow outside of London before the crash.

Posted by: Rocky at April 23, 2007 11:33 AM
Comment #218140

Danny,

Thanks for reminding me of the name Lafayette. I remember my history and how the French treated him when he returned to France from America, not well.

I can tell you that this statement is inaccurate, except for the period during the Reigin of Terror during which Lafayette was targeted due to his membership in the French Aristocracy Lafayette was highly regarded in France throughout his life, especially for his contributions early in the French Revolution. Although he was imprisioned by Prussia and Austria while he was living in exile during the Reign of Terror, Napoleon freed him in the treaty of Campo Formio. After he returned he attempted to retire, but by 1825 he had returned to the French Government where he served until his death in 1834. Source:Wikipedia

I also suggest you read about Rochambeau


emember the American liberation of Paris and France. If not for the Americans the French would still be under the yoke of the Germans and you would be speaking German. Americans have historically spilled more blood for France than the French for the Americans. The French could have never liberated themselves. NEVER!


Are you implying that all of Europe that was occupied by Germany should be scorned because they could not liberate themselves? At least France had the guts to declare war after the invasion of Poland while the United States watched idly.

My opinion on the French election is that I’d rather see anyone elected than Sarkozy, so I guess that means I prefer Royal, although I have not learned enough about her to endorse her. (I believe all the other candidates have been eliminated already, correct me if I am wrong)

Philippe Houdoin, thank you for sharing your insight on this election in your home country, the opinions of a Frenchman are very helpful when discussing French politics.


I personally am disgusted by the general bashing of France; the United States has a lot to learn from France and the rest of Europe and vice versa. Both regions (Europe and the United States) have their strong and weak points and it is only through dialouge that one can learn how to minimize the weak and maximize the strong.

Posted by: Warren P at April 23, 2007 11:52 AM
Comment #218141

A couple of years ago France experienced a brutal heat wave in the month of August.

Of course August is when “the French economic enging” simply shuts down (because they are all so well off I guess). Elderly people died in quite startling numbers.

How many elderly had to be stored in freezers until their “families” returned from their “vaca”?

Just curious if any of you have the answer AND what your explanation of what causes such pitiful behavior.

Posted by: curiousgeorge at April 23, 2007 12:04 PM
Comment #218145

Danny,

Lafayette. I remember my history and how the French treated him when he returned to France from America, not well.

Which had nothing to do with him being back from America and everything to do with him being a marquis loyal to the king that french revolutionaries were contesting.

I also remember how France blocked American bombers from not flying over French airspace in the mid-1980’s when the great Ronald Reagan ordered Libya’s Momar Gadaffi bombed. That changed Libya’s attitude towards terrorism, but the US couldn’t count on the French.

Yep. Spain also denied access to their airspace. And the French embassy at Tripoli was hitted by bombed “missing” their intended targets. French can always count on US.

Remember, the TWA airline that left France and blew up over Lockerbee, Scotland. The French did NOTHING!

Maybe because the Pan Am Flight 103 never landed in France?
This flight departed at Frankfurt, Germany, to London, UK, with a Boing 727. There, passengers switch to the Boing 747 coming from San Francisco that was scheduled for the London -> JFK flight section.
It’s during this switch of plane that a bomb entered the plane, barely unwatched.

How could France did anything !?!
Except, obviously, being confused two decades later with the british security at Heathrow airport. I know french bashing is fun but, please, check your fact FIRST.

Remember the American liberation of Paris and France. If not for the Americans the French would still be under the yoke of the Germans and you would be speaking German.

*sigh*

I was not born then. I’ll bet you neither. But, anyway, I thanks your boys for helping a lot to free my country. If you ask me to do that for the rest of my life, could I ask you to thanks french for defeating the British at YorkTown?
Because, you know, if not for the french navy, American would still saying God Bless The Queen.

Since 1776, the US has been at war with Japan, Germany, Spain, Mexico, United Kingdom, North Vietnam, North Korea, Iraq (twice), Afganhistan and numerous countries for periods lasting from a few weeks to a few years. With France: 3 days only, in November 42 in Casablanca during Operation Torch.

But France is the enemy.
Yeah, right.

Americans have historically spilled more blood for France than the French for the Americans. The French could have never liberated themselves. NEVER!

And the price for this liberation is to NEVER disagree with your leader’s foreign policies?

There is a difference between being an allied and a servant nation. French could agree on the first, on a per situation basis, they’ll never agreed on the later.

France, that “pathetic socialist nation” of “cowardly monkeys” with “faggots as soldiers” and “arch-enemy of the United States”, has been a united nation-state for 1,504 years, during which its people knew all the glory, all the humiliation, all the success, all the ridicule, all the genius, all the stupidity, all the heroism and all the shame, all the political systems from the worst to the best, all the selfless dedication and shameful corruption mankind could experience. Yet, at the end of the day, the French are free, prosperous, and masters of their destiny. As an American, you could pray that the same will be said of the American people in the year 3,280, and I trust that it will be for the good of mankind.

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy your french-bashing.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 23, 2007 12:21 PM
Comment #218149

curious,

The European heat wave of August 2003.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003_European_heat_wave

20,000 people died in Italy during the same period.

Doctors in France were on vacation as well.
Many companies close their doors for the month of August. As a result many workers don’t get to choose when they go on vacation.
Because of the mildness of the typical French (especially in the North) summer there is little air conditioning, and people don’t know how to deal with the heat.

It was over 100F in Southern England.

It was 118.4F in Portugal during the same period. Fires consumed nearly 10% of the forests there.

Posted by: Rocky at April 23, 2007 12:36 PM
Comment #218151

Phillipe / Rocky

Maintaining a steady population requires a birth rate of 2.1. In Western Europe, the birth rate currently stands at 1.5, (France is at 1.6 I believe) or about 30 percent below replacement. In 30 years there will be 70 to 80 million fewer Europeans than there are today, which has a huge impact on the economy.

Your “model” of western civilization seems to have forgotten what every primitive society understands. You need kids to have a healthy society. Children are huge consumers. Then they grow up to become taxpayers. That’s how a society works, but the post-modern secular state seems to have forgotten that.

Europe is dying because their populations are aging and shrinking. Birth rates in these areas are so low it will take two generations to turn things around. No economic model exists that permits 50 years to turn things around.

It’s also a lifestyle issue. Europeans aren’t willing to give up their comfortable lifestyles in order to have more children I guess.

Most in Europe seem to just want it to last a while longer. Europeans have a real talent for living. They don’t want to work very hard. The average European worker gets 400 more hours of vacation time per year than Americans. They don’t want to work and they don’t want to make any of the changes needed to revive their economies.

Is it possible that seething underneath their myopic view of 1500 years of “self” lies an attitude that keeping mom and dad alive is not an attractive option. After all, when birth rates are so low, it creates a tremendous tax burden on the young

Think about it - children didn’t even leave the beaches to come back and take care of the bodies. Institutions had to scramble to find enough refrigeration units to hold the bodies until people came to claim them. This loss of life was five times bigger than 9/11 in America, yet it didn’t trigger any change in French society.

If that is the model of 1500 years you propose US to follow - like much “French” … I’ll pass and take my chances that we’ll forge a better way.


Thanks to H. Meyer for the thoughts behind this message.

CG

Posted by: curiousgeorge at April 23, 2007 12:57 PM
Comment #218165

curious,

“Most in Europe seem to just want it to last a while longer. Europeans have a real talent for living. They don’t want to work very hard. The average European worker gets 400 more hours of vacation time per year than Americans. They don’t want to work and they don’t want to make any of the changes needed to revive their economies.”

Wow, 400 more hours of vacation?
That’s 10 40 hour weeks.

Are you sure your numbers are right?

The average EU minimum is 4 weeks. Far from the 10 weeks more than Americans.

Posted by: Rocky at April 23, 2007 3:09 PM
Comment #218172

curiousgeorge,

Maintaining a steady population requires a birth rate of 2.1. In Western Europe, the birth rate currently stands at 1.5, (France is at 1.6 I believe) or about 30 percent below replacement. In 30 years there will be 70 to 80 million fewer Europeans than there are today, which has a huge impact on the economy.

Agreed. Except that France’s total fertility rate is 2.0 in 2006, in constant growth, with a very low child mortality.

What’s a real demographic issue for EU is less a problem for french…

Most in Europe seem to just want it to last a while longer. Europeans have a real talent for living. They don’t want to work very hard.

Long vs hard ;-)
We work less hours, no debate. But our hour productivity is very good. Due to global competition, we’ll have to work harder and/or longer. But the issue is not only about work. The issue is about the volume of workers vs elders.
Today french retired waiting their monthly very confortable (on average) pension are more than french working. Which IS the issue.
Both will have to give up their lifestyle.

The olders don’t want anything to change, and as they’re the one with more weight at elections, they got what they want so far. They votes for Sarkozy in huge numbers, for example. Conservatism rules.

They don’t want to work and they don’t want to make any of the changes needed to revive their economies.

Workers have already seeing it changing since last decade. Our average income stay quite the same during this period, but meanwhile everything else, householding or renting skyrocket, insurance, everything privately providing the extra money for olders to allow them to keep or even increase their lifestyle. Between their kids future and their own, they choose the later.

Our babyboomers didn’t had that much children because it wasn’t compatible with their conformtable lifestyle they loves. But they have no issue thinking that youngers are just too lazy, that they should works harder to substain the level of lifestyle they enjoyed so far.
How ironic.
I can see a big generational clash coming.

This loss of life was five times bigger than 9/11 in America, yet it didn’t trigger any change in French society.

Same in Italy. Same in New Orleans.
Western nations are individualism-addict.
As solidarity are working more and more only in the same direction, youngers working to substain elders lifestyle, I’m not surprised it works less and less in the other direction.
I’m not proud of it.

But even from my own experience, when I’ve lost my job 4 years ago (small company bankrupt), having my first child to care about and going back to university to get the diploma missing (France employeers are diploma addict, whatever your experience is, if you don’t have the diploma kind they want, they ignores you, plain and simple. Sadly) in my resume, my mother (I lost my dad in the 80’s) stop supporting me totally. She stopped offer to help us keeping the kid, she stopped visiting us.
As we were broken pretty much every half month, we can’t afford to visit her. What’s funny is before she was coming, she was offering gifts. Everything disappeared when I lost my job.

When I’ve finally found the courage to ask her why, she replied: “I bough a new car at this time, replaced the TV for a plasma one, I didn’t have money left to help you.”

A car she never used to visit us. Even since.
I love her, but I don’t understand my mother anymore. I’m sure she don’t understand me and my sister either.

Lifestyle have changed. Except for older generations.

If that is the model of 1500 years you propose US to follow - like much “French” … I’ll pass and take my chances that we’ll forge a better way.

I’m not proposing US to follow this model. Nor could you expect the french to follow yours. In both models many things are great, and both could change for a better one. Better have two pushed by two nations than one model pushed by one nation, isn’t it?

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 23, 2007 4:05 PM
Comment #218213

Philippe-

Your anti-American streak is coming out. My grandfather fought in France in WWI, my father and three of his brothers fought in France in WW II, they said it was the worst country they ever were in, it wasn’t worth one American life.

Posted by: Danny L. McDaniel at April 23, 2007 11:36 PM
Comment #218230

Danny,

I won’t copy what you wrote because I thought it was bad enough that it was written the first time.

Your grandfather and father and uncles, and you are of course, entitled to each of your opinions.

That said, it doesn’t make it a fact, except to those that made the statement, and are confused enough to think that their opinion is fact.

Posted by: Rocky at April 24, 2007 3:11 AM
Comment #218231

Danny,

I dunno if my anti-americanism is showing, but your anti-french is clearly not hidden (either).

Anyway.
I’m sure that every american soldiers who goes to Vietnam or Iraq will say too that it is/was the worst country they ever were in. First, most often it’s their first foreign country they ever goes. Second, countries ravaged by years of war(s) and/or occupation are never shiny, in particular when compared to the distant but safe motherland.

I’m sure the US during its civil war wasn’t that great place too, for example.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 24, 2007 3:55 AM
Comment #218239

It amazes how many Americans, particularly conservatives, have a “hate on” for France. It seems to have something to do with not supporting the Iraq War. We should have listened to them.

In many ways, life in France is measurably superior to life in the US. Conservatives believe in the “culture of life”, right? The infant mortality rate in the US is almost twice as high as in France. The life expectancy is almost two years longer.

We have a slightly higher fertility rate. 2.1 for the US, 2.0 for France. If you consider the enviro consequences of extra children, though, I’m not sure that’s anything to brag about.

So let’s see: good food, universal healthcare, two years extra life. What’s not to like?

Posted by: Woody Mena at April 24, 2007 8:56 AM
Comment #218247

Philipee-

You can have your 1,500 years of French history. The United States has accomplished more in 231 years than France has in 1,500 years. In the US there is a saying, “quality is better than quantity.”

You should read the book, “Our Oldest Enemy: A History of America’s Disastrous Relationship with France,” by Miller and Molesky. The book came out in 2005.

I am not anti-France. I hope Sarkozy wins, but I am pro-American. Sure your life exceptancy is higher, but look at the life-style of the typical American compared to the typical Frenchman. The middle classes are not even comparable. Enough said!

Posted by: Danny L. McDaniel at April 24, 2007 10:03 AM
Comment #218253

“Sure your life expectancy is higher, but look at the life-style of the typical American compared to the typical Frenchman.”

Not enough heart attacks, or strokes for ya?
Too much mass transportation?
Too many nuclear power plants?
Too efficient?

Seems like you have bought into the American game of “he who dies with the most toys wins”.

Posted by: Rocky at April 24, 2007 10:36 AM
Comment #218256

You can have your 1,500 years of French history. The United States has accomplished more in 231 years than France has in 1,500 years. In the US there is a saying, “quality is better than quantity.”

Woody,

So let’s see: good food, universal healthcare, two years extra life. What’s not to like?

That’s not america?

Danny,

You can have your 1,500 years of French history. The United States has accomplished more in 231 years than France has in 1,500 years. In the US there is a saying, “quality is better than quantity.”

And french are called arrogant. *Sigh*.

You should read the book, “Our Oldest Enemy: A History of America’s Disastrous Relationship with France,” by Miller and Molesky. The book came out in 2005.

I guess this book is not free, neither he could have came out *before* France opposition to Iraq War? I agree, french-bashing is even a business.
To be fair, it’s also true for the few anti-americanist french books.
Business is business.

I am not anti-France. I hope Sarkozy wins, but I am pro-American.

Make sense, as Sarkozy himself is pro-american, pro-iraq-war, pro-israel, pro-conservatism, pro-eugenism, pro-nationalist, pro-world-binary-view, pro-unilateralist (hello, France can nothing alone!) and, most of all, a pro-himself lawyer.

Sure your life exceptancy is higher, but look at the life-style of the typical American compared to the typical Frenchman. The middle classes are not even comparable.

Agreed.

Enough said!

Agreed.

Now, could we move back on topic, aka the aging population issue, which is NOT limited to France AFAIK…

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 24, 2007 11:37 AM
Comment #218261

More on heat deaths. There was a heat wave in Chicago in 1995 that took the lives of about 600 people in five days. I remember vividly seeing a picture of people being dumped in a mass grave.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003_European_heat_wave

If you scale that up to the population of France, you get about 13,000 people.

And don’t forget Hurricane Katrina…

Posted by: Woody Mena at April 24, 2007 1:08 PM
Comment #218263

Oops, wrong link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Heat_Wave

Posted by: Woody Mena at April 24, 2007 1:09 PM
Comment #218269

Woody,

A 2005 survey found that only 35 percent of Americans like the French; that’s not all just conservatives who support the war. The same survey found that 31 percent of French people have no “sympathy” for Americans by the way.

As an American working for a French company in the U.S., I deal with both of these findings on a daily basis. For me it is actually easier dealing with the French because they don’t seem to be as entrenched in their dislike. Learn a few phrases of politeness and they open up nicely. Not so with our American partners who don’t/won’t take the time to understand why the don’t like the French.

I wouldn’t say either social system is superior so much as I would say they are different. There are historical reasons why they are different, and it would take generations to make those differences less contrasting.

I happened to be over in Paris at the same time as a political demonstration last month. Pretty tame compared to the press reports that were published later. I was also down the street from the Gare du Nord “riot” the next night which was a little more intense but still not as bad as it sounded in the Herald. There are a lot of voices in the International press that are preparing for France’s wake these days, but history says they will have to wait a little while longer.

Posted by: George in SC at April 24, 2007 2:22 PM
Comment #218274

Correction to the above: The same survey found that 31 percent of French people have any “sympathy” for Americans by the way.

Posted by: George in SC at April 24, 2007 3:19 PM
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