Monday, August 08, 2005

Au Contraire, Monsieur K

Seems the French themselves have a different idea than Paul Krugman about the choice to not work. The young are choosing with their feet:

The French — particularly the young and educated — are leaving their country in ever growing numbers in search of a better life abroad. Britain is one of the favourite destinations, according to the French foreign ministry. Its figures suggest that the biggest exodus since the 1789 revolution is under way. The number of French people living overseas has risen by more than 40% over the past decade to 1.25m.

The numbers officially registered as living in Britain have risen from 46,000 in 1993 to 91,630 — and the real figure is believed to be more than twice that since most expatriates do not register with French consulates.

....London’s image as a dynamic, progressive city not only helped it to outclass Paris in the competition to host the 2012 Olympics; it also beats Paris in its appeal to French people dreaming of starting their own business.

To them the French business world seems a hostile, over-regulated environment in which connections and diplomas count for more than merit and chutzpah. French labour laws make it extremely difficult to sack anyone and the high cost of employing workers, who are obliged to put in no more than 35 hours a week, has driven many small and medium-sized businesses overseas.

“In France it is a nightmare, a complete nightmare,” says PY Gerbeau, the 39-year-old chief executive of X-Leisure who came to London in 2000 to take charge of the Millennium Dome.
“If you want to achieve something, if you want to start a business or want to have a career, it is really very difficult because, first of all, you cannot work hard because the employment laws stop you from working more than 35 hours.”

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