Does Socialism Work? Just Ask France

If you're careful as a national government, you can pretend that socialism works, and you can hide for a long time the fact that it doesn't.  It's still sort of working in Germany.  But if you're not careful, soon you'll be France, the new socialist "sick man of Europe".

During the First World War, the Ottoman Empire was referred to as "the sick man of Europe".  Now it's France's turn to be saddled with that moniker.  What ails France so badly? In a nutshell--the idea that socialism works.  France's probably more specifically is that you can't starve productivity and bless laziness and still have an economy that works.

After a recent downgrade of its AAA status, France is being looked on with pity.
“France is the sick man of Europe,” [Nicolas]. Baverez [economist and historian] said, adding that the main problem is the government’s domination of the economy, “the highest rate in the developed world.” There are about 5.5 million state employees in France, 18 percent more than in 2002, and about 500,000 more than in Germany, a federal state with 82 million inhabitants, 26 percent larger than France. 
Government spending is currently at 56.6% of the French economy, very high compared to the already high 46% spending of Germany and Italy.

France is also having a difficult time keeping up with global competition? Why? Because of socialist programs designed to reduce productivity.
the French work fewer hours than most other Europeans. Part of the problem is the 35-hour workweek, passed by the Socialists, which Mr. Sarkozy has not dismantled. According to a recent study, the French work on average six fewer weeks a year than the Germans, fewer hours than the Greeks and 236 fewer hours a year than they did in 1998. 
Supposedly stimulus would have worked, except for the fact that the French government has been stimulating for several months like there is no tomorrow.


Normally, faced with high unemployment and stagnant growth, leaders would spend to stimulate the economy, investing in infrastructure, education and job training. Instead, pressed by the markets and his own promises to limit deficits, Mr. Sarkozy has had to cut government spending and raise taxes in an election year.
So, along with the Greeks, the Portugese, the Italians, the Spaniards, and other EU states, the French are going down the tubes. But they have great health care, don't they? ;-)

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