Myths about France

1. The French are extreme cultural protectionists.  Not true.  The French do spend large amounts of money pretending they are cultural protectionists and making noise in various international arenas.  And the language restrictions are binding on audiovisual media.  But for the most part France is quite open to foreign cultures.  Just trying seeing a foreign film in Paris, you’ll hardly find a better place. 

2. French labor productivity is about as high as that of the United States.  Call this one a half-truth.  The measured average productivity is close, in part because French labor law discourages low-wage, low-productivity jobs.  A better test is if a French-English bilingual person moves from one country to the other, where is productivity higher?  I’ll put my money on the United States. 

3. Within fifty years, France will be half Islamic.  Very unlikely, read this sober assessment of the demographics.

4. Frenchmen hate the United States.  Personally I’ve never found this to be true.  I’ve spent maybe three months of my life in this country, and I can’t recall one time that anyone was ever rude to me.  Can I say that about any other country?  Remember that many peoples distinguish between citizenries and governments more than Americans do.  In this regard the French are more libertarian then we Americans are.  Here is one look at the poll evidence on whether the French hate Americans.

5. French culture dried up after World War II.  OK, French painting has not been impressive, though I am fond of Yves Klein.  But try Georges Perec, Robert Bresson, or Olivier Messiaen, or Yves Nat for some brighter moments.  Let’s not forget the key role of Paris in supporting music from Africa and the Arabic world.  (America isn’t the only country which should get credit for the culture of its immigrants.)  Nor is French rap a total wasteland.

The bottom line: France, like the United States, is very good at confounding our expectations.


"French labor productivity is about as high as that of the United States. Call this one a half-truth."

I'm not sure I agree. French productivity per hour is recorded as 20% higher than that in the US by the OECD. While you can account for some of this due to the disincentives for low wage jobs, it seems pretty reasonable to say that it doesn't account for 20%.

Additionally, one would imagine that if the French were less productive per hour, their companies would be less competitive, which they aren't.

This point can be generalised across Europe where per hour productivity is close to that of the US. All old European countries have more restrictive labour laws than the US yet large European companies do not have competitiveness problems.

“While you can account for some of this due to the disincentives for low wage jobs, it seems pretty reasonable to say that it doesn't account for 20%†

You are wrong, on two accounts. First of all according to the OECD the French are 1% more productive per market hour worked than Americans, not 20% (I have no idea where on earth you get this
figure, sounds like a Krugmanism to me).

Secondly Americans are fully 37% more productive per person (incidentally native non-Hispanics whites Americans are an amazing 65% more productive than the French per capita). Per capita Americans work 39% more market hours than the French, the most important reason is that the US has a smaller proportion of it’s population out of work (they also work more per worker).

Before people start babbling about the French valuing their leisure more: Time survey data indicates the differences in hours worked is NOT the French having more leisure (they have roughly equal), but more marketisation of services and the US and thus fewer hours worked in the household.

Obs I made a mistake, Non-Hispanic whites Americans are only 50% more productive than the French, not 65% (I should have compared to the US average, not to the non-whites). Sorry.

I get this figure by multiplying the US-French per capita advantage by the non-Hispanic white-US income advantage.

"Personally I've never found this to be true. I've spent maybe three months of my life in this country, and I can't recall one time that anyone was ever rude to me. Can I say that about any other country?"

Fair enough. Opposing anecdote -- my father's experience on holiday in Paris a few years ago was quite the reverse. He found that Parisian waiters were personally rude to him, e.g. snatching menus out of his hands to give to French customers. Possibly this is because he looks extremely American (sometimes even to the Hawaiian print shirts). To round out the reverse: France is the only country where this sort of thing has happened to him -- not in Turkey, nor Mexico, nor Japan, nor Korea, nor Germany, nor Austria, nor Italy has anyone ever been as rude to him as were the French.

Now, this is only anecdote, and statistics may show otherwise. But I introduce this just as a counter to your anecdote -- your experience is not necessarily representative.

Since most Americans probably limit their visits to Paris when visiting France, they probably encounter some "big city attitude" which you're just as likely to encounter in NYC. However, I had *not one* single bad experience in Paris. I did have one out in the country (Normandy), but I think her problem was that it was the 60th anniversary of Normandy, the Brits seemed to be invading the country all over again, and she associated me with that lot (how's that for an irony-rich scenario?). Bottom line: I liked France and would like to visit again, despite the reputation.

Regarding productivity - all you have to do is look at their reaction to the few Polish plumbers trying to work there to figure out Tyler is right about the effect of labor laws.

1. I agree with TC. Everyone spoke English; English-language menus and signs were everywhere. There's much more official recognition of English in Paris than Spanish in Los Angeles. The one sign of cultural protectionism I saw was an apparently regulation that required the footnoting of posters when they had non-French phrases to translate the phrases into French. But the McDonalds were full, even though their only concession to France was to offer a goat cheese salad.

2. When Slim and I were in Paris last week, she turned to me and said something to the effect of "I don't understand how anyone gets anything done. The stores are always closed, and require lots of standing in line when they're open." It doesn't surprise me a whit that the French have about 70% of the working hours but just as many leisure hours as the US.

And an average hour's wage has to go a lot less far than in the US. Quality French cheese, wine, bread, perfume, and couture were mildly cheaper (though, unlike the US, there were few options for cheap cheese, cheap wine, or cheap perfume), but everything else was much more expensive. The skinny little International Herald Tribune was two euros, for crying out loud.

4. I agree with TC. Everyone recognized as English-speaking immediately, perhaps because my accented French is so terrible (or because of my American-style obesity). But we had fewer bad-waiter/salesperson experiences than a week of similar transactions would give us in the US. My pidgin French was even good enough to use taxis both times we took them. Not that customer service was uniformly great: America has innovations like express-lanes and ticket machines that take more than just coins that reduce the time spent queuing, and landing at Charles DeGaulle was a nightmare.

@Teller "As an example 58% of the French vs 18% of Americans think the US motive in foreign policy is to “control mildest oil†."

Mmmh, why again is that such obvious "leftist disinformation" ? Because Americans don't believe it ? Seems to me that, considering what percentage of Americans still believe hat Saddam Hussein was linked to 9/11 and that actual WMD were found in Iraq after the invasion, the disinformation campaign isn't happening in France. And I'm not even mentioning the willfull manipulation of CIA evidence here ...

BTW, the view that the US invaded Iraq for oil isn't particularly French. Ask any European (strike that: ask any non-American but Tony Blair) and they will give you this rationale. Even those who /supported/ the war believe that was the real reason. They just happen to also believe it was a smart move and that they better be on the US side (not an unreasonable thought imho). The whole "let's make Iraq democratic" charade hasn't flown anywhere outside ouf the US (except, again, with Blair, for reasons I still cannot fathom).

If you want to call scepticism and mistrust of the Bush administration "anti-americanism", then most French would be "anti-american" indeed (and so would the rest of Europe) but that seems to me a very poor definition of "anti-americanism". And why you would want to call disagreements over the war in Iraq (considering how events are going, these disagreements haven't proven themselves wrong so far ...) "hateful" remains a mystery to me ...


France has boots on the ground in Afghanistan. Last week two of their men were killed in operations against the Taliban. For me, that counts a lot.

Do you actually read Perec for pleasure?

1. Thanks for telling me how you got the wrong figure. Obviously you don’t use the current exchange rate when comparing productivity, because that will give you absurd results. The exchange rate can fluctuate 5% in a week for no reason, do you than conclude the French workers became 5% less productive?

Anyway now you have the actual OECD figure, which is 1% higher French productivity per hour and 37% higher American productivity per person.

And yes, your personal anecdotes are irrelevant to me. Obviously professionals working in NYC work a lot, so do French Investment bankers. In regards to “sticking your head in the sand† the unemployment rate in France is close to 10%, with many more not working in various welfare programs. In the US 23% of the men are out of the labour force, in France 32%. Ignoring that when thinking about productivity is clearly “sticking you head in the sand†.

Cowen is completely right to call the productivity a half truth. If you put up laws and transfer programs that forces the least productive to unemployment/living of welfare obviously the measured productivity per hour goes up, but that is because you are comparing apples with oranges.

The best measure is obviously to look at total productivity, in which US has 37% higher and non-Hispanics whites in the US 50% higher than France.

Lastly how exactly can you anecdotally “experience† productivity?!? The only reasonably good way to do this is look at earnings. Americans earn much more than the French, which indicates that they have a much more productive economy.

2. I don’t see much point of arguing with someone who is in an economist blogg and thins the statement “the US invaded Iraq to control middle east oil† is a reasonable one. But let me give you one word: fungibility.

(that other anti-American Europeans such as Germans believe in the nonsense as the French hardly proves the French are anti-American).

If you think the French only dislike Bush you are grossly misinformed about History.

When de Gaulle withraw France from common NATO command in 1966, was he protesting the Iraq invasion? When the French defined frances role in forign policy to be a third pay besides the US and the Soviet union (thus suggesting moral equivale between the two), where they motivated by Dumb George Bush?

Charles de Gaulle once said to Khrushchev: 'We are happy to have you to help us resist pressure from the United States. Likewise, we are happy to have them to help us resist Soviet pressures'.

Yes, nothing ani-american at all about being defended from the Soviets with American money and risking American blood, but pretending both sides are a equal threath. The French clearly love America.

After the arab war of aggresion agains Israel France was happy to declare to the Arabs:

“If, around this Mediterranean, cradle of great civilizations, we are to build an industrial civilization which is not based on the American model and where man will be an end rather than a means, then our cultures must open up to one another†

When the French and Europeans were mass protesting against America deploying Pershing missiles in the early 1980:s to save their contintent, was polite disagreement with Bush forign policy?

It is pretty simple. The French are dominated intellectually by socialists, often former or present communists (the pro Stalin communist party got 30% of the vote in France after the war, and continued to get 20-25% of the votes. The majority of intellectuals and journalists have tended to be communists). They irrationally hate America because America is rightwing capitalist country. This also include American foreign policy, that the French consider per definition wrong.

France may have great wine and cheese, but intellectually the French are, for a lack of better word, idiots.

A recent poll in 20 countries asking “the free enterprise system and free market economy is the best system on which to base the future of the world.†

France had the lowest score, only 36% believe in the free enterprise system, lower than Russia, China, Kenya, Turkey or any other country polled (average 61%, US 71%).

Are you surprised a nation where two thirds of the population are stupid enough to dislike free markets also dislike America?

I am sorry, these poll results probably reflect valid French disagreement on how to best defeat terrorism.

France, a country of 60 million, has 740 soldiers deployed in Afghanistan. As a comparison Norway has 300, Belgium 600, Canada 1000, and Turkey 830. Way to pay back for liberation, Marshal plan and 60 years of militarily guaranteeing French independence.

Some quotes from different French school textbooks:

"Americanization leads to deculturalization, populations lose their values if not their most elementary reference points."

"The Great Soviet Satan having been vanquished, the American government designates the new enemies menacing world security."

"America's power provokes outbreaks of anti-Americanism whose extreme form takes the name of holy war or jihad launched by bin Laden,"

"Islamic radicalism remains an ideology of mobilization against the West for those who see in globalization a risk of cultural uniformity and U.S. dominance,"

No bias or hate here, just America loving French who are concerned about the aggressive Bush administration policy on American interests. Move along.

3. Peter the Groningen figures of 7.7% higher productivity per hour (the currency adjusted ones) come from Groningen reporting much fewer hours worked by the French than the OECD. The OECD figure is 18.8 hours per person 15-64, the Groningen figures 17.6 hours per week.

I don’t know why the figures differs, but I have to say I trust the OECD more with almost any economic data.

The OECD gives 1% more per MARKET hour worked, and 37% higher productivity per person in the US. Also Groningen reports the 37% higher productivity per person, which is what matters, especially since we know the French do not have more leisure than Americans.

I think antiamericanism in France may be related to french belief on the importance of C-factor. Monsieur Lacan wrote it down while he was smoking a cigarette between Pride and Prejudice (by then Frenchmen do not know who of them they wanted to hook. And Frenchwomen ...?)
Libertarian minds do not need to focused on subjects of that kind, neither smoke between those sentiments. We are far beyond these borders. Vive le France Livre, Vive le USA livre!! I guess that we need to fight still.

Plus, even if they were in French textbooks, how were they there? As part of the primary text, or as quotations from other sources, as in an anthology?

Though "American power provokes anti-Americanism" is exactly what people like Teller say elsewhere. "They're just envious of our wealth and power."

The French are also the world capital of nuclear power. :)

Dear Demine:

No, as I wrote, the French are hardly envious of American. Most French are far too stupid and ignorant to even know how bad their economy is doing compared to the American one.

Wow the “world capital of nuclear power†. What is Americas 60% of world scientific noble price winner and 50% of industrial patent compare to that! What is dominance in microchips. Information technology, telecommunications, biochemistry, nano-technology, material technology, aviation, military, entertainment, logistics, service provisions and medical technology compared to a field that is politically hindered in America?

What is 50% in higher per capita income for American whites compared to 1.8% shorter life expectancy? We now know it is Americans who should be envious of the French! Please teach them how to get out of this horrible Anglo-Saxon model and live with permanent 10% unemployment, most immigrants living of welfare and 62% labour force participation. Please! Hurry!

Speaking of childlike envy:

France is going to invest 2 billion dollars to come up with a French version of Google.

Imagine that this was once a powerful civilization, with great chemists, mathematicians and political philosophers. How they have fallen.

France may have only a very slight lead over the United States when it comes to life expectancy, but keep in mind that per capita health care spending is **FAR** greater in the United States than in France (or anywhere else for that matter). Yet despite spending so much less on health care the French still manage to live a bit longer. I'd say that looks good for them, and very bad for America.

I agree with the Tyler's commentator that part of the conflict
is that the countries are in many ways more similar than
more different. Hence, the differences get much more
talked about and huffed and puffed about. The not so
secret secret is that today France is probably the US's
biggest ally in the Middle East, even though it has not
supported the US in Iraq. That the Syrians were pushed
out of Lebanon reflected very well done French-US coordination,
kept quiet so as to make it more effective. The French have
been supporting US policy (along with Germany and UK) on Iran
as well, although that is a pretty messy business.

Regarding Iraq, most reports suggest that Chirac was actually
willing to go along with Bush on it if he had gone back to the
UN a second time. It was Bush's unwillingness to do so that
finally brought the split, leading to Powell to go to the UN
to make his falsified presentation on WMD and the US to invade
without letting the inspectors back in again (hey, we knew where
those WMD were!!!). Chirac warned that there would be very bad
consequences and that things would not go well. He was absolutely
correct, although we had all this childish carrying on about
"freedom fries" and so forth here.

I think people in every country are capapble of being assholes.
Most French people I have met have been perfectly friendly and
reasonable. However, I have had people be unpleasant in both
Paris and the countryside, with the most unpleasant experience
dating to 1967 when an old Parisian woman began beating my then
wife on the metro and denouncing the US war in Vietnam. Desole.

My biggest gripe is with the French bureaucracy. There is where
they show their worst side. It is associated with all the worst
tendencies in their political and economic life, and I would note
that "bureau" is a French word. Despite this and many inefficiencies
and hypocrisy and nonsense, there are many things that work well,
with their highway system being the best marked in the world. Their
health system is also excellent and efficient, probably at least part
of the reason for their pretty good life expectancy (even if it is
more pronounced for the women).

A final note for all Americans who deal with French people wherever.
The French are very polite and very serious about it. Watch them
interact with each other. It is "monsieur" this and "madame" that,
and it is not hypocrisy. They really mean it. They say all kinds
of nice things like "bonne journee" to those around them. Unsurprisingly
they expect others to be as polite as they are. A lot of the conflicts
that I see between them in personal encounters between Americans and French
people involve this matter, with the Americans not realizing that they
are being rude and offensive. They are just being their "open and
expressive" selves. Now, there are many French people, especially
among the young, who understand this and will accept the lack of
politeness of Americans. But many do not and this can lead to problems.

To whomever dissed Messiaen: I disagree. He is an idiosyncratic taste,
but in my book one of the greatest composers of the 20th century.

Oh yes, if you go to supermarkets you can get good (French) wine,
cheese, and pates for much less than in the US, although many food
items will be more expensive.


Not interested in getting into a major debate
with you. For one thing, I have been traveling
in France (and some other countries) and have a
mountain of real work I must deal with. If you
wish to drag out a few more scary quotes or tired
stats, feel free to declare une victoire.

I'll just stick to a few small points. You may
be right that UK is the US's biggest friend in
the ME right now, although they were no help in
getting the Syrians out of Lebanon, the only real
positive foreign policy spinoff of our disastrous
venture in Iraq, which was fully forecast to our
folks by Chirac and his folks (who knew fully well
what they were talking about precisely because of
their long relations with those nasty characters
there; and let me remind you we had our relations
with them too, Rummy shaking Saddam's hand in the
early 80s and Reagan looking the other way while
Saddam gassed the Kurds in Halabja, hack cough).

Well, we are Israel's best friend in the ME, but are
they ours? Go read Mearshimer and Walt, although I
think they overdo it. OTOH, remember the American
dead from the USS Liberty in 1967 on this Memorial Day.

I have not looked at the latest polls in Turkey, but
our popularity there is falling fast, and partly due
to our stupid invasion of Iraq. Remember, Chirac may
have dissed us, but the Turks did not let our troops
go through where our wonderful plans said they should.
Now the Turks have to man the border there big time,
much worse than in the days of Saddam.

Kuwait was one of the handful of countries (Israel, UK,
Cameroon were the others, with India and Poland close
calls) where popular support was for the US invading
Iraq when we did so. There are pretty obvious reasons
for that and they should be grateful. The polls are a
lot less positive these days.

In UAE, about 90% of the work force is foreigners. It
and Qatar are pretty small.

The view in much of the world, where of course the
overwhelming majority of opinion opposed our Iraq invasion,
it taking the US population three years to figure out what
a messup this was, Chirac was viewed as the senior world
leader who had the balls to stand up to an arrogant idiot
and tell him what was what. Chirac was right; Bush was wrong.

The other point is all this talk about leisure. I have actually
spent a lot of time digging through OECD and other stats and
have also spent a lot of time in France. Am not going to go back
to those numbers right now. But your own numbers kind of give
away the game. Yes, I agree that the French economy is overly
regulated, blah blah, but your comparisons show that US citizens
are working many more hours than French to get what they've got.
Have you been to France in August? Pretty annoying for the tourist;
lots of stuff is closed. They have all gone on vacation, lots more
than ever do so in our workaholic US.

There is a line one hears in France, and much of Europe for that
matter. "We work to live, while you live to work." All too true
I fear, Monsieur Teller.


Well, you have certainly been H-bombing this list with increasing nonsense.

France gave nuclear aid to Iraq during a war against us?

We did not give aid to Iraq while they were fighting Iran?


France is hardly perfect and clearly has a lot of economic problems, many
of which you have accurately portrayed, some of which you have mistated,
some of which you have ended up making yourself look terribly foolish over,
such as somehow making the fact that French women have longer life expectancies
than most people in the world at a much lower cost somehow part of a long
list of condemnations of them (Oh, I know, that shows their racial superiority,
just like that of Asian American women).

The US is also quite imperfect. Shall we go on a long list of historical
horrors and stupid or silly things that people in the US currently believe
according to polls? I do not see much served by this.

Better for people in both countries to attempt to appreciate the best in
each other and encourage it. Again, Tyler's commentator is right, there is
much more that the US and France have in common than they do not have in
common. Going along with raving fools like Bill O'Reilly and their inane
boycotts of France are simply silly.

If you think otherwise, I suggest that you go back to work on H-bombs,
"Teller," or does your moniker indicate that you think you work in a bank?

The "sober" analysis of French demography looks too much like wishful thinking and cherry-picking data.

There is a really sober analysis by Laurent Toulemon from INED (Institut national d’études démographiques).
Monsieur Toulemon concludes that "the estimated excess fertility of immigrants compared with women born
in France is 0.46 children per women during the 1990s (2.16 vs. 1.70), while the usual TFR leads to an
apparent difference of 0.85"

Big deal indeed.

This is an academic study and thus does not go that far to write about Kosovo-like scenarios, but there are
statistics on crime, youth unemployment and number of "zones de non-droit" or "no-go areas". None of these
statistics is any optimistic.

Of course I knew about the satellite data, I am after all Iranian. That is also the ONLY real help the US gave to Iraq in the 8 year conflict, and was more than balanced by the direct military help to Iran of anti-tank missiles and spare parts.

Calling giving aid to both sides in a conflict, with the explicit policy to aid them both and prolong the conflict, is an “alliance†?!? Of course you consider the France giving direct aid to Americans enemies during a conflict an “alliance†, so I suppose your definition of the word is pretty loose.

“you have been contradicting yourself on the economic data throughout this discussion. Thus, at one point above you declared that the French do not have more leisure time than Americans, but then had to admit later that indeed they do have substantially more vacation time than we do, even as you ridiculed my observations about August in France as mere "anecdote" and decided that those
extra weeks of vacation somehow do not mean anything.†

I don’t mind ignorance about economics, but your inability to learn is getting tiresome. I will do once last attempt:

1. The French spend substantially less hours working in the market and substantially more working in the household sector.

2. I did not wrote that the vacation times “does not mean anything†. I wrote that the 3 extra weeks “comes no where close to explaining the massive differences in market hours worked, and is compensated by more hours worked in the households.†

Can’t you read? Put on your glasses.

Let me do that math for you. 3 weeks of extra vacation would reduce market hours worked by about 5%. This comes “comes no where close† to explain the 30-40% difference in hours worked with Americans, nor the similar magnitude of hours worked in the household.

3. “Your analysis of how to correct for exchange rates was also rather off.†

Do you intentionally try to lose the debate? I don’t make any correction, I simply refer to the PPP adjusted figures offered by the OECD does. The OECD is, in case you didn’t know, the main authority in the world in this regard.

4. “Asians in the US, Japan, and Hong Kong have very high real per capita incomes†

Asians in the US have almost exactly the same average income as non-Hispanic whites. Japan and Hong Kong have almost exactly the same income as western Europe (and far less than the US). Income can therefore hardly explain the enormous differences in life expectancy.

5.“In any case, the US has always had higher real per capita incomes than France. This goes all the way back to the 18th century.†

No, it didn’t, by most accounts the US overtook France somewhere in the arly 19th century and finally Britain ca 1890. Since than the US had been richer and had a more free economy. Coincidence? Or do you think magic is the explanation of the differences?

5. “although I did not see you removing the poor Africans out of the French numbers when you compared them to white Americans.†

Again, put on your glasses. I explicitly wrote “(I would prefer to compare to non-immigrant French, but since the French in their great wisdom have made ethnicity bases census data illegal I cannot. They are only a small part of the population, so I hope it doesn’t change much).†

6† Do you really wish to argue that the quality of medical care has no effect on life expectancy, none whatsoever?†

You provide no basis whatsoever to believe that the quality of health care is higher in France than the US, Denmark or Finland. This is your own circular reasoning, French (women) live longer, therefore their medical system is superior, thefore the superior medical system cheaply produces longer life. Round and Round we go.

You have for the third time repeated this silly argument, let me ask you again: IF IT IS THE QUALITY OF HEALTH CARE THAT EXPLAINS LONGER FRENCH LIFE, WHY ONLY FOR WOMEN???

6. “I have little respect for all these idiotic internet monikers. I am
writing under my own name, like the people running this blog. Is your name really "Teller" or are you hiding something†

That’s your private preferences, fine. I am using a fun little nickname, like most people that write comments on blogs. If I was “hiding† something I wouldn’t put my email there, would I? In any case if you are dying to know my real name go back to the immigration debate, where I did write my real name under the same nick.

7. “such as that 50% of Americans believe in creationism and that over 60% of those voting for Bush believed there was a link between Saddam and al Qaeda†

There WAS a link between Saddam and Al-Quaida, according for example to the 9/11 commission!

“Bin Laden also explored possible cooperation with Iraq during his time in Sudan, despite his opposition to Hussein's secular regime .†The Sudanese, to protect their own ties with Iraq, reportedly persuaded Bin Laden to cease this support and arranged for contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda. A senior Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly made three visits to Sudan, finally meeting Bin Laden in 1994. Bin Laden is said to have requested space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but Iraq apparently never responded. There have been reports that contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda also occurred after Bin Laden returned to Afghanistan, but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship†

What the commission found was that there were no OPERATIONAL links, and no links to 9/11.

The leftwing media of course twisted this so that you now think Saddam and Al-Quaida never had anything to do with each other, that Al-Zarqaqi did not receive care in a Iraqi hospital, that Saddam did not have extensive ties to all sorts of terrorist.

So in this case Bush voters are smart and the one who think there were no links are stupid.

What you probably are referring to are polls about Saddam and 9/11. It should interests you to know that immediately after 9/11 78% of Americans believed Saddam may have had something to do with it. This is not something Bush planted into people’s head, just a reasonable guess, that turned out to be wrong.

Yes, it is the worst quality of Americans you are pointing to. But first of all you immediately forfeit your right to use evolution as an argument when you ridicule the idea of genetic differences In longevity. The liberal idea that Darwin only explains things up to Squirrels if possible even more idiotic than religious Americans, that are wrong, but at least not inconsistent.

Secondly this is hardly unique the US. In Britain in a recent poll 48% believe in evolution.

A 2002 poll apparently showed that only 40% of Europeans completely accepted evolution.

Polls in Sweden were the best, but even they only showed 60-70% that accept evolution.

Lastly the difference is that idiotic views about Evolution do not lead to idiot foreign policy, but when the French think the US is lying about the war and wants to steal Iraqi oil that has implications for their actions.

8. I don’t comment France in Lebanon because I don’t consider it a big deal, just as I wrote you are impressed because of low expectations. It was a French colony, they let the Syrians take over, and in the end the US did most of the heavy lifting. But sure if it makes you feel any better in this case they did not actively hinder the US (also the French seem to have given some good intel about Al-Quaida. They do not always act as American enemies, but allies NEVER act as enemies).

9. For the 4th time Chiracs “warning† is not the question, it is his assurances and aid to Saddam and diplomatic pressure against nations to help America. You still have not addressed this cruicial issue. Why not just warn and than stay out of it? No American would become angry at the French, there were no boycotts against Germany.

Unlike the French Americans are reasonable fact driven in their foreign policy, they punished the French that actively helped Saddam, but not the Germans that only warned against the war and stayed out of it.

10. I hardly blame France for American unpopularity. I blame ignorance, islamism and socialism for anti-americans, two of three which are particular attributes of the French.

I do get outraged at the absurd and false argument that it is Americans “policies† that are behind anti-americans. That is simply not true. The French, Mexicans and Muslim anti-Americanism has nothing to do with American actions and justified grievances (what did America ever do to France?), and everything to do with socialism, Islamism and irrational nationalism.

Anti-American hatred is as justified and action-related as anti-Semitism. As I demonstrated in the polls the French (and Muslims) are angry about conspiracy theories and things they think America does, not any objective actions. If the French responded to action American policy they have no reason to dislike American.

Just like anti-Semitism anti-americans is dormant, and is more emphasized when something like the war on terror happens. But to conclude there were sympathies for the US before Bush is simply stupid. I grew up in Iran and Europe, and I can tell you that man you the people and most journalist/intellectuals eat, breath and drink anti-Americanism.

The day 9/11 happened people were dancing in the streets in the middle east and having private parties in Europe, how can you be stupid enough to think anti-Americanism comes from the Iraq war?

Do you think 40 year of cold war was nothing? Do you think the 40% of the French that vote Communist/fascist did not exist? Do you think the majority of socialist Europeans intellectuals who supported Mao and Soviet grew out of the ground in 2003?

When people like you either sympathies with anti-American lies/conspiracy theories or like Cowen ignore them Americans risk the danger to think that for example French rancid reaction may be justified reaction to their policies. Or that the US should not do certain things because it may “create† anti-Americanism.

Americans just have to accept that as long as the US is capitalist Christian superpower they will be hated (mostly on false basis) by most Europeans and Muslims.

11. "7.“It was not so as recently as the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Heck, even Castro and the Iranians were supporting us.†

That some Americans actually belive this is exactly this kind of foolishness that truely frightens me and threathens the United Statens, and thus world freedom.

There are polls from Iran and other muslim countris soon after 9/11, and faaar before Iraq.

Some highlight:

Only 15% of Iranians "Believe news reports that Arabs carried out Sept. 11 attacks "
Only 9% of Iranians "Say U.S. military action in Afghanistan is morally justifiable"

This is obvious to anyone who doesn't stick his head in the sand, or belive the liberal American crap about how anti-americanism is justified (why? As we see with Rosser because anti-americanism IS leftism, and the americans that share these views also tend to belive the myths about the US that drives the French).

Rosser as I wrote I understand that most people don’t know economics, that’s OK.
You seem to be an old man, which is the only reason I will give you a change to understand your mistakes and apologize for calling me a “lyar† based on your ignorance.

“I just looked at the OECD stats for 2002. They have it broken down by educational categories. For those with less than secondary ed it was 63% but it was 82% for those with some secondary edand 87% for those with academic ed. Looks like you were cherry picking the data again.†

What you evidently do not understand is that the data you are referring to INLCUDES THE UNEMPLOYED!!! Per definition the (9.6%) French unemployed “participate† in the labor market, but they obviously don’t work. I hope to god you don’t work with Economics. If you do France is in even bigger trouble than we think.

Here is the employment rate, the share of the working age population that ACTUALLY HAVE JOBS:

Employment rates: total 2004
OECD Factbook 2006: Economic, Environmental and Social Statistics

France 62.4%
United States 71.2%

If you prefer go to,2643,en_33873108_33873376_1_1_1_1_1,00.html

Click on OECD Statistical Profile of France - 2006

2004 Employment rates: total
France 62.372%
US 71.223%

Got it!?? Next time when you don’t know what the hell you are talking about ask before accusing other of lying, in the process making a fool out of yourself.

(of course Cheney is “lying† about undeniable links between Saddam and Al-Quida. To these people anything they don’t want to know and exposing of their myths is “lying†)

2. According to Maddison’s data and method the US surpassed France in gdp per capita in 1803. Now that I have taught you introductory labor statistics here is a class in history: 1803 is “early 19th century†, not “the 18th century†.

Got it?

Of course all these historical figures are very uncertain, but when you are quoting someone you should at least try to get simple facts right.

3. “As for Zarqawi, yes, he was in a hospital in Baghdad at one point†

One point! good one! The “one point† was closely before the Invasion of Iraq.
The fact that you think foreigner Zarqawi was getting care in Bagdad Hospital tells us a lot about your understanding of security issues.


Again: If I write my email and Name I am hardly "hiding" from Ahmadinejad, who can kiss my you know what. I know you people are a few yours behind in France, but in this hypercapitalistic Algo-invension, called, the internet (a French version will come soon) people tend to use nicks.

Barkley Rosser: I deeply admire your zen-like patience. I gave up after the first batch of insults. For the benefit of the silent readers, it's good that someone took it onto himself to correct the fact (that's sort of a public good, I know :-) ). You did a great job.


Typo, I meant factS.

To clarify, I twice carelessly used ‘participation’ as synonymous for working and out of the labor force as ‘out of work’.

“In the US 23% of the men are out of the labour force, in France 32%. Ignoring that when thinking about productivity is clearly “sticking you head in the sand†.†

“just 30 years ago the French worked slightly MORE market hours than the “workaholic† Americans (if you consider 25 hours work on average “workhaholism†). Unemployment was low, participation of men high...Today only 62% of the working age French participate in the labor market.†

I think this is clear from the context that I am talking about people who actually work, not including the unemployed (“participation† figures do include the unemployed, since they are in the market).

To be clear: 38% of all adult French don’t have jobs vs. 29% of all Americans

(32 of French and 23% of American men).

Of those without jobs some are unemployed, and this group is included in the labor force, but not workforce.

Cdm: hehe, nice try cdm.

I did make an error, but no in analysis, only in using the word “participation† when meant and should have written employment (the figures I use are employment). The mistake was in wording, not in concept. Do you understand the difference?

In case you missed it, Rosser baselessly accused me of being a “lyar† and “cherry picking†. Would you call that insulting?

Calling my figures “cherry picking† is completely absurd, 62% is (together with hours worked) the only relevant data of amount of work in the country. How does it make the French system look better by using participation rates, where you include the unemployed? (Participation is unemployed + employed as a share of working age population).

Why is Rosser adding the unemployed to the French figures, thereby claiming the situation is better than I make it out to be, and calling me a liar?! Is anyone more impressed with the French if you know 62% don’t work, but if we add the unemployed the this figure we get almost 69.8%? Does labor economist cdm care to defend using the 69.8% figure rather than my 62% figure? Do you usually indclude unemployed people when you measure labour productivity or amount of hours worked?!?

Obviously not. I therefore stand behind all my insults. Using figures that include the unemployed to defend France and calling me a liar and “cherry picking† was idiotic, and something he should apologize for, regardless of my mistaken use of words.

Now since from all context it is clear I am referring to people in work, and hardly to the French unemployed, you should have no problem going back, mentally replacing participation with employment (which I guess many have, I know I did†¦), with nothing changed.

France still looks terrible, and only 62% of the population actually work. My sloppy language will not save the French or make the left's "arguments" stronger.

Let me see if I have got this straight.

1. You twice made the statement that the labor force participation rate in France was 62%.

2. Barkley checked that figure and found it was wrong. However, there was a 63% figure for a subgroup in 2002. Barkley inferred, quite reasonably I think, that you were using that number, and hence cherrypicking the data.

3. Your response is that you meant to say something completely different from the factually incorrect thing that you actually did say (twice), and that if you had in fact said something completely different instead of the factually incorrect thing that you actually did say (twice) then it wouldn't have been wrong, and everybody should have known that you actually meant to say something completely different, so waaaaaaah.

4. And, as if that isn't enough, you then criticize Barkley for using participation data when in fact you were the one who introduced those data into the discussion, and all Barkley did was point out that your numbers were wrong.

Am I missing something?

“Am I missing something?†

Yup! I didn;t introduced “participation data† into the debate as you claim. With regards to productivity and hours worked I introduced the relevant “employment data†. Than I incorrectly, three times referred to working as participation.

We know participation does not make the French look better. Why is French 69.8% participation higher than 62% employment? Because the participation includes the unemployed! Again cdm, do you care to defend using participation as a relevant figure for comparison?

Perhaps Rossert made a mistake by believing I was using the low (and compleatly irrelevant) 63% participation rate of one age group, calling it 62% and pretending it applied to all French. But instead of asking he jumped to conclusions, accusing me of “lying† and “cherry picking†.

But you know that this is not what I did. I used the relevant figure, 62% employment. So I did not “lie† or “cherry pick†, these were insulting accusations that he needs to apologize for.

He also seems to think the higher participation rate means France is doing better than I wrote, which obviously is not true. It is “spotting nonsense on the internet† to try to defend the French economy by pointing to their participation rate, which is higher because of their enormous number of unemployed.

As it stands:

* I neither lied nor cherry picked, gave you the right data but used the wrong word when referring it. Now you know I meant employment, if you already hadn't figured it out from the contex.

* Rossert still falsely called me a “liar† and "chery picking" when it was he who was mistaken and referring to irrelevant figures.

* The French 62% employment rate is still horribly horribly low.

The only defense of the French model you guys have is me incorrectly writing ‘participation’ when pointing to the employment figures? Why not defend their low GDP with my many typos and gramatic errors? Than you can pretend to yourselfs you have succesfully defended the French system.

It is pretty hillarious that for example Ellesar seems to think the substantive debate is changed and my "facts" incurrect because of linguistic errors, with no relevance to the factual situation. le désespoir?

Teller: Sweden is in the Middle East. I repeat, Sweden is in the Middle East.

BR: No, Teller, you're lying. Sweden is in Northern Europe. See, here's a map of Northern Europe. Sweden is right there.

Teller: Did I say 'Sweden'? Obviously I meant to say 'Iran'! Everybody should have been able to figure that out! After all, I am an expert on geography, unlike all you other fools here. Saying 'Sweden' was just a linguistic error. Apologise for calling me a liar! And BR, you know-nothing idiot, how do you think a map of Northern Europe is going to help us know where Iran is, anyway? Iran isn't anywhere near Northern Europe, as you would know if you knew anything at all about geography... (cont. p. 94)

For the foreign films part widely available in Paris I have a short comment: "Paris n'est pas la France!" ;)

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