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John Adams Blog

The blog of The Antient and Honourable John Adams Society, Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society www.johnadamssociety.org

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The French at work

The Supreme Court of France has ruled that the 35 hour work week mandate also applies to hotels, bars, etc.... Prior to this the government had allowed an exception for hotel and bar workers to work 39 hours a week without overtime. The intent of the law is to encourge employers to employ more people because it would be cheaper to have two people working 70 hours a week than just one person who would earn overtime under the law. Workers were not happy about the ruling, yet they intend to keep it!

With just six months till France's presidential elections, the row reawakened divisions over the 35 hour week -- introduced by the Socialist Party in 2000 -- which the right-wing hopeful, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, says has damaged the work ethic and driven down salaries. The opposition PS has pledged to extend it, despite some misgivings from its frontrunner for the presidential nomination, Segolene Royal.

This law is undoubtedly one of the stupidest laws in history. STUPID LAW STUPID LAW. So stupid that the facts obviously show the law has not worked. IN 2000 when the law was passed unemployement in France was 9.8%. Today in 2006, unemployment is at 9.0%. That is not success. That is a nightmare.

When I graduated from college I had two jobs. I worked both at a hamburger place and delivered pizzas. Sometimes I worked at both places on the same day. Some weeks I logged more than 100 hours. I preferred the pizza place because it was more lucrative. On a busy night you could make $15 per hour. I was motivated to work long hours by one purpose - to make money. Moreover, after working in corporate America for a number of years now I have learned that most innovation and "movement of the ball" occurs from perhaps only 20% of the people. Most of the people working are pretty much along for the ride and the bottom 10% probably subtracts from growth. Many of these top 20%-ers also work a lot more because they want to make more money and people are willing to pay them for it because they are the ones who make money for the companies. The French law puts down the innovators and lifts up the worthless workers. How dumb is that - DUMB DUMB DUMB. What if you are one if these "innovators" in France. What do you do? I suppose eventually the answer is to move and innovate somewhere else.