Wednesday, March 29, 2006

If you had to choose one.... 

As bad as it may seem at times here in the would you like to be a French citizen? The nationwide strikes and repeated violence make me think of things that have been in the news recently.

Recent riots by the children of immigrants result in burning of hundreds of cars, while officials claim that discrimination doesn't exist in France.
A stagnant economy with little employment growth and unemployment approaching 10%.
Unemployment for younger workers at twice that rate.
Fewer and fewer workers to support their generous social benefits system.
A brain drain as younger workers seek opportunity elsewhere.
Decreasing world influence and a president who can't stand to hear English spoken (I'm waiting for the Bush jokes here ;-)).
Antagonistic political relationships with the US and others.
The promise of more strikes in the future.
Criticism from the rest of the EU for protectionism and for scuttling closer EU integration.

And that's just a start.

In a perverse kind of way, the events in France make me feel better. Why? Becasue France was supposed to have it all....the month of vacation, the (nearly) 4 day work week, jobs guaranteed for life, a classless society, etc. Here in the US we don't have any of those things. In addition, we find ourselves working harder and harder to compete globally.

The thing is, that competition is a part of the American make-up. It is part of our culture. And though we are having problems with globalization and increased competition, we still have jobs and a promise for the future if we're smart about how we compete.

The French, on the other hand, seem to have lost the battle and don't even have a clue as to how to respond.

Which would you take? The French future or ours?