The French Definition of Victory
We give the French a hard time about a lot of things (and rightfully so). One of their fatal flaws is their resistance to change and a top-down culture of appeasement. The jobs law that Chirac backed down from today is a classic example.
But that aside, I think the so-called “victory march” is more of a death march. The jobless rate amongst the young French 21-26 is somewhere around 23%. Companies do not want to hire them because they are unproven in business. Complicating this fact is unless they went to one of the top schools, they received a state-paid education at a regular French university (and if they went to a top school, they are in either New York or London after graduation). Sounds good? No. A recent article in the Economist indicated that the government spends less per pupil on college students than it does on high school students. There could be numerous reasons that this isn’t a bad thing, but I’d have to see hard proof. My college education has cost considerably more than my high school education did.
So is this a victory march? The students got their way, but I don’t think they had enough information to protest the jobs law in the first place. And if the work ethic and hard labor costs built into their economy do not change soon, they will come to understand what a global economy really is – whether it is taught in their colleges or not.