Indentured Employertude

Per the BBC News:

More than 160 people were arrested after clashes erupted
in eastern Paris following a day of largely peaceful demonstrations
across France.

Vehicles were set on fire and stores were damaged as masked youths clashed with police.

Twenty-four people, including seven police officers, were injured in the violence, which lasted about six hours.

So what is the provocation?  Are youth being drafted to go to war?  Are fundamental civil rights being taken away?  No, the reason for millions of people on the street and outbreaks of violence is...

Protesters are bitterly opposed to the new law, which
allows employers to end job contracts for under-26s at any time during
a two-year trial period without having to offer an explanation or give
prior warning.

The government says it will encourage employers to hire
young people but students fear it will erode job stability in a country
where more than 20% of 18 to 25-year-olds are unemployed - more than
twice the national average.

 Oh my god, its, its....at-will employment.  Head to the barricades!

In reality, what has happened is that Europe has invented a new type of indentured servitude that works in reverse.  If you remember you history, poor Europeans bought their passage to America in the 16th and 17th century by essentially enslaving themselves for a fixed but finite (as opposed to African slavery) period of time.  They got to come to America, but were forced to work for the same employer without the ability to quit for seven years.

The French have taken this same concept, and flipped it on its head.  If an employer hires someone, the employer is prevented by law from ever firing that person.  In effect, an employer enslaves himself to every employee he hires.  Which might just explain why unemployment is so high over there.  I call it indentured employertude. 

These recent riots also turn history on its head.  In the past, many countries with legalized slavery have faced devastating slave riots and uprisings.  In this case, though, it is not the slaves (employers) doing the rioting to be freed, it is the slave holders (ie the employees) rioting to keep the employers captive.

Is France a total loss?

  • Ryan Cupples

    Thank god, someone who put it in words that I can use. I've been trying to argue this on numerous forums to numerous people, and for some reason, they don't understand.

    As soon as I saw the press release, I thought you'd have something good to say. Glad to see it finally came out :)

  • http://dfriedman.typepad.com Dave

    FWIW....I know a number of Europeans here in NYC who all say the same thing you are saying here. The French have no sense of perspective.

    What I find interesting is that, without fail, the Europeans I know in NYC came to see the wisdom of the American labor market only after having lived and worked here for a while. Without fail, all of them admit to me that prior to coming to America, they just thought the European way was a different way than the American way, and that neither had any inherent advantages over the other.

    So: do we import all the French and show them the errors of their ways?

    They only have 50 million people. They could easily fit into Wyoming or Montana.

  • JohnDewey

    I don't know about that proposal, Dave. Why inflict such pain on the fine folks of Wyoming and Montana? The few French citizens I've met were similar to many east Canadians I've talked with. They keep telling me what's wrong with my country and insisting the U.S. needs to adopt European or Canadian policies.

  • Doug

    That isn't uniquely French. A similar attitude has popped up in this country among government employees, union members and especially government employee union members. For example, a lot of ink and bytes have been used lately to report that it can take years to discharge an incompetent teacher in NYC and is often considered not worth the effort.

  • http://ben.casnocha.com/2006/03/french_youth_cr.html Ben Casnocha: The Blog

    French Youth Cry Foul -- No At-Will Employment!

    I'm ashamed for my fellow 18-25 year old's who are marching and rioting in the streets of Paris right now against......at-will employment. See Coyote Blog for a brief bit on the ridiculousness of this. I will have to seek out

  • http://www.donothaveone.com TC

    "Is France a total loss?"

    Probably, another few years will tell for sure.

    Tenure is the second largest fiasco we have in this nation, it is why our children continue to be turned out dumber each and every year, it allows the profs in higher education to prothelize to our children rather than provide them an education.

  • http://dfriedman.typepad.com Dave

    My proposal was meant to be satirical, a la Jonathan Swift...

  • BM

    Having worked for a French company for a couple of years now it is amazing to see the attitudes change when folks from France come here to work. In the beginning they are sure that they are so smart and we Americans are so screwed up. It takes about one year and they see begin to see the "wackiness" of the French system. But in the end they are not stupid (think airplanes, rockets and nuclear power plants...); but my small American mind can't quite figure out how they do it.

  • LF

    I think the idea of France is great. Let all our socialists move there and all their capitalists move here.

  • James Stephenson

    I worked for a German Software Company, they had people in the Mailroom making Programmer salaries. No wonder they ended up buying an American Software shop.

  • http://www.arizonawatch.com BridgetB

    Ahhh the problems of the false dichotomy & subjectivism rear their ugly heads. Obviously the opposite of oppression is... more oppression! When will the ends stop justifying the means? Good job France.

    Great post Coyote. Nailed on its head yet again.

    $
    BB

  • phuong

    Hallo, hallo, hallo, hallo, hallodjsaljgfdl

  • http://politics.lel-hosting.com/ Matt

    France is absolutely essential. Without France, what would we point to when discussing economics with fuzzy-brained socialists, when we needed to offer an example of why socialism doesn't work without secret police? :)