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Author Topic: (For My Friend Fred) French: The Most Productive People In The World  (Read 4099 times)
Slobodan Blagojevic
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« on: July 14, 2011, 04:21:13 PM »
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Eat your heart out, Freedom fries eaters!  Cheesy

http://www.businessinsider.com/are-the-french-the-most-productive-people-in-the-world-2009-8
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Slobodan

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« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2011, 05:11:16 PM »
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Slobodan, It's interesting then that French unemployment hangs in around 9.1%. Normally we're way, way below that, though this administration and the Fed have managed to get our unemployment rate way up and hold it there. Another thing to think about is who gets to spend GDP. GDP deals (not very accurately) with what a nation produces. It doesn't say anything at all about whether or not productive people get to keep what they produce.

Don't get me wrong. I tend to be a Francophile, but I'm also aware that though figures don't lie, liars figure.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2011, 05:33:04 PM »
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... It doesn't say anything at all about whether or not productive people get to keep what they produce...

In which case, there is even less productive people here than there, given that in the last 10-20 years practically the whole increase in national wealth was retained by the 1-2% of the population.
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Slobodan

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« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2011, 08:33:17 PM »
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In which case, there is even less productive people here than there, given that in the last 10-20 years practically the whole increase in national wealth was retained by the 1-2% of the population.

That's pretty close my exact argument, Slobodan. Whether most of the GDP is in the hands of 2%, 20% or 90% of the population, at least it's in the hands of our population instead of in the hands of our career politicians. Actually, at the moment, only about 50% of our GDP stays in the hands of the people who earned it. The rest goes to career politicians at federal, state, county, and city level. Remember Maggy Thatcher's dictum: "The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money." Our government has just about reached that point. I take your point about 1-2% of the population (I don't know where you got that number, but as I said, liars figure). It's the same thing as Algore's perpetual "the wealthiest Americans" riff, a class of which he's a member by the way. But you have to remember that another name for a wealthy man is "employer." Our current administration evidently never knew that or has forgotten it.
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fredjeang
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« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2011, 03:53:53 AM »
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I Have been living both in France and Spain.

I can tell you that here in Spain, people are working much more hours (the spanish "siesta" that makes think that Spain is a lazy country is completly mystified).
But they are far from being as productive. They are so messy and disorganised that they have to work much more for the same productivity.

In the French mentality, sweating is only part of the equation if it gives them time for privacy. Frenchs like good life, bon vivants. They would never understand neither accept
to just being part of the system with very little rewarding like you see in Asia for ex. The economic battle, the values of sacrifice and die at work for the benefit of the 2% leaders
is a shocking idea in the french minds.

The nationranking statistics in the link are hilarious and put Spain before France. I don't know who are those funny people (they might be the same than Moody's Islandia accurate qualifications...) but I can tell you that the standart of living in France is much higher than here in Spain. Not a little higher, much higher. Anyone who has lived in both countries knows it.

They have this sort of elegance even in the technology. I have to say it even if there is a long list of things I don't like in France. When you travel you see it. Spanish people are brute, noisy but friendly. French are not specially friendly,
they are basically elegant. They won't be able to build a crude and brutal capitalism, they will just make it elegant, easy, smooth. They are very good at that.

France is a indeed a socialist mind within a capitalist structure and they kind of deal well with the paradox. Capitalism yes, but...a chic one! Not the jungle law.
Middle class life standart is definatly very high. You live well in France. In general, I think that considering all the parameters and not just numbers, Europe is probably the place where the average standart of life is the highest among the 3 economic giants, USA, Asia and Europe.

I would take the Lauper's song: French just wana have fun... not that wrong. 
« Last Edit: July 15, 2011, 04:47:40 AM by fredjeang » Logged
feppe
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« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2011, 10:23:30 AM »
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Whether most of the GDP is in the hands of 2%, 20% or 90% of the population, at least it's in the hands of our population instead of in the hands of our career politicians.

If by "our population" you mean "the Chinese, Japanese and UK," you are correct.

Well, perhaps not most of the GDP. You owe more than 100% of your GDP, and almost half of that debt is in foreign hands (depending on the definition of "debt"), lead by the Chinese.

Not meaning to start a pissing contest; just don't get me started on Greece, Italy, Spain and Ireland...
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« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2011, 10:52:56 AM »
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If by "our population" you mean "the Chinese, Japanese and UK," you are correct.

Well, perhaps not most of the GDP. You owe more than 100% of your GDP, and almost half of that debt is in foreign hands (depending on the definition of "debt"), lead by the Chinese.

Not meaning to start a pissing contest; just don't get me started on Greece, Italy, Spain and Ireland...

Feppe, In a sense you're quite right, but its our career politicians who've been doing the borrowing. For decades they've bought votes with borrowed money. So far they haven't had to pay up, but they've reached the break point of Maggie's dictum and run out of other people's money. Now they're going to have to pay up. They have two options: (1) raise tax rates, which in about a year and a half would result in an overwhelmingly different government and probably a real depression, or (2) monetize the debt. Monetizing the debt is another term for "inflation," and inflation is the most subtle and destructive tax of all, though most people don't think of it as a tax, so, politically it's safer. They've already started on (2). The Fed has introduced a huge amount of inflation already through long-term zero interest rates and "quantitative easing," which amounts to printing money. The only reason we don't already look like the Weimar Republic is that banks, businesses, and people at large are scared to death of lending or spending money, so the "velocity" of that huge excess pile of funny money is low. Unless we can turn back that tide, we can expect to see people wheeling around wheelbarrows full of hundred-million-dollar bills before long.
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feppe
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« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2011, 11:03:34 AM »
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Feppe, In a sense you're quite right, but its our career politicians who've been doing the borrowing. For decades they've bought votes with borrowed money. So far they haven't had to pay up, but they've reached the break point of Maggie's dictum and run out of other people's money. Now they're going to have to pay up. They have two options: (1) raise tax rates, which in about a year and a half would result in an overwhelmingly different government and probably a real depression, or (2) monetize the debt. Monetizing the debt is another term for "inflation," and inflation is the most subtle and destructive tax of all, though most people don't think of it as a tax, so, politically it's safer. They've already started on (2). The Fed has introduced a huge amount of inflation already through long-term zero interest rates and "quantitative easing," which amounts to printing money. The only reason we don't already look like the Weimar Republic is that banks, businesses, and people at large are scared to death of lending or spending money, so the "velocity" of that huge excess pile of funny money is low. Unless we can turn back that tide, we can expect to see people wheeling around wheelbarrows full of hundred-million-dollar bills before long.

Agree completely.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2011, 11:10:38 AM »
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... Frenchs like good life, bon vivants. They would never understand neither accept to just being part of the system with very little rewarding like you see in Asia for ex. The economic battle, the values of sacrifice and die at work for the benefit of the 2% leaders is a shocking idea in the french minds.

... They won't be able to build a crude and brutal capitalism, they will just make it elegant, easy, smooth. They are very good at that.

France is a indeed a socialist mind within a capitalist structure and they kind of deal well with the paradox. Capitalism yes, but...a chic one! Not the jungle law...

Fred, not to argue with you, but to add some facets/angles to the issue (or muddy the waters even more Wink)

It is alleged that Bush said: "Trouble with French is that they do not have a word for "entrepreneur"  Cheesy

As for "chic capitalism", should we forget that the ideological basis for the most brutal form of capitalism (so popular here these days with Republicans and Tea Baggers) comes from the French: "Laissez faire et laissez passer"? 
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Slobodan

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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2011, 11:12:42 AM »
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... They have two options: (1) raise tax rates, which in about a year and a half would result in an overwhelmingly different government and probably a real depression, or...

The patron saint and idol of American right-wingers, Ronald Reagan, had absolutely no problem raising taxes when needed.
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Slobodan

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« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2011, 12:15:29 PM »
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The patron saint and idol of American right-wingers, Ronald Reagan, had absolutely no problem raising taxes when needed.

Slobodan, I shouldn't have to remind you that this is a very different president and a very different government. I also shouldn't have to remind you that (1) Reagan, through very painful means, had overcome the economic disaster his predecessor had left him, and (2) that Reagan was raising taxes to give us the means to bring down the evil empire rather than to pay union leaders for their support.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2011, 12:32:00 PM »
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... (1) Reagan, through very painful means, had overcome the economic disaster his predecessor had left him...

Hmmm... isn't it the same these days: the current administration has to "overcome the economic disaster his predecessor had left"... The only question is: painful for whom? For 1% or for 99%?

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... and (2) that Reagan was raising taxes to give us the means to bring down the evil empire...

So, when Bush had embarked to "bring down [another] evil empire", he did what... raised taxes? No, he lowered them. Which, coincidentally, left the next president with "the economic disaster". If raising taxes is so detrimental to growth and employment, lowering them should have had a reverse effect, no? So, why is it that Bush tax slashing resulted in the worst crisis since the Great Depression (and all that during his term, well before the new administration)?
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Slobodan

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fredjeang
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« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2011, 12:56:51 PM »
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Fred, not to argue with you, but to add some facets/angles to the issue (or muddy the waters even more Wink)

It is alleged that Bush said: "Trouble with French is that they do not have a word for "entrepreneur"  Cheesy

As for "chic capitalism", should we forget that the ideological basis for the most brutal form of capitalism (so popular here these days with Republicans and Tea Baggers) comes from the French: "Laissez faire et laissez passer"? 
That's true. That's another paradox of the french. They have lauched in their history some of the best ideas and some of the worst and most brutal ones. Still I'm amazed that such a small country is still very influent. The other day I was reading an article about the Kourou space center. Built by the frenchs and still 80% of the invertion-capital is french although oficialy a european space center. It's a mix of grandeur and decadence.

But I'm far from being an expert in economy and won't and can't comment on that any further, just an humble cultural observer.

Ps: it seems reading you and Russ that you also are in this right-left political war in the US.
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« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2011, 01:13:34 PM »
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Hi,

A friend of mine had a 50 trillion $ note. A hint, there was an elephant on the front side and no Mugabe on the back side.

Best regards
Erik

Agree completely.
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« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2011, 01:17:58 PM »
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Hi,

In my view it's like that Mr. Obama is standing on Bush Jr's shoulder. Bush Jr was standing on Clinton's shoulders and Clinton was standing on Bush senior's shoulders.

Best regards
Erik

Hmmm... isn't it the same these days: the current administration has to "overcome the economic disaster his predecessor had left"... The only question is: painful for whom? For 1% or for 99%?

So, when Bush had embarked to "bring down [another] evil empire", he did what... raised taxes? No, he lowered them. Which, coincidentally, left the next president with "the economic disaster". If raising taxes is so detrimental to growth and employment, lowering them should have had a reverse effect, no? So, why is it that Bush tax slashing resulted in the worst crisis since the Great Depression (and all that during his term, well before the new administration)?
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #15 on: July 15, 2011, 01:19:24 PM »
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... its our career politicians who've been doing the borrowing. For decades they've bought votes with borrowed money. So far they haven't had to pay up, but they've reached the break point ...

Ah, yes, about that "break point"... An article in today's Time Magazine:

"...net interest on the debt (which is what the government pays to service it) would be $225 billion for fiscal year 2011... Thatís about 1.6% of American output, which is lower than at any point since the 1970s Ė except for 2003 through 2005, when it was closer to 1.4%.

Under Ronald Reagan, the first George Bush, and Bill Clinton, payments on federal debt often got above 3% of GDP. Under Bush the second, payments were about where they are now. Yet suddenly, we are in a near collective hysteria..."
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Slobodan

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« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2011, 01:57:41 PM »
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"Yet suddenly, we are in a near collective hysteria..."

All of the focus on the actual debt outstanding is misplaced.

The actual external debt held by the public is about $9.7 trillion.

The unfunded, but committed liabilities - Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid - amount something closer to $50-60 trillion.

$9.7 trillion is NOTHING.  It is our Medicare and Medicaid bills in combination with runaway private health care costs that COULD sink us.
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« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2011, 02:13:00 PM »
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Slobodan,

Thanks for the post. Itís unfortunate how quickly threads such as this can digress so far from the original topic as to become akin to people viewing and commenting on Roshakís ink blots. It becomes a laughable process, especially in this case due to the character who pushed the topic so far from its origin.

It is great that the French have found a path to help them work smarter rather than longer. I wish that the USA would take clues such as this, which are readily available. The pathetic problem is that our culture lives at the receiving end of the thorn tipped whip called consumerism. Ironically, we often buy what we donít need as a "reward" for working too many hours and having too much stress.  Huh Roll Eyes
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« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2011, 02:29:36 PM »
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Hmmm... isn't it the same these days: the current administration has to "overcome the economic disaster his predecessor had left"... The only question is: painful for whom? For 1% or for 99%?

For everybody, Slobodan. Hmmm, let's see, you were 24 when Reagan took office so you probably were too young to appreciate what was happening. The fix was painful for everybody. With Reagan's political help Paul Volker was able to get our inflation rate back under control, but it involved seriously tightening the money supply, which brought on a recession. Volker did the work, Reagan took the blame. Unfortunately, that's going to have to happen again on an even larger scale if we're to avoid the catastrophe we're facing.

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So, when Bush had embarked to "bring down [another] evil empire", he did what... raised taxes? No, he lowered them. Which, coincidentally, left the next president with "the economic disaster". If raising taxes is so detrimental to growth and employment, lowering them should have had a reverse effect, no? So, why is it that Bush tax slashing resulted in the worst crisis since the Great Depression (and all that during his term, well before the new administration)?

Yes. He lowered tax rates. He didn't raise them until well into his second term. But if you actually believe that Reagan's tax rate reduction handed his successor an "economic disaster," then you have trouble distinguising between tax rates and tax revenue. After the recession brought on by the need to recover from the "stagflation" of his predecessor, Reagan's lowered tax rates resulted in a huge blossoming of the economy and a gigantic increase in tax revenue. As Casey said, "you could look it up." Congress of course immediately spent the revenue increase and borrowed more to spend.

Then, there's your idea that Bush's tax rate "slashing" resulted in the worst crisis since the Great Depression. Since that "slashing" resulted in increased revenue, it's clear you're hung up on the same inability to distinguish between tax rates and tax revenue, but that doesn't matter in this case. What brought on that "worst crisis since the Great Depression" was a congress that required mortage companies to make loans people couldn't support. Again, you could look it up.
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« Reply #19 on: July 15, 2011, 02:35:52 PM »
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Ah, yes, about that "break point"... An article in today's Time Magazine:

"...net interest on the debt (which is what the government pays to service it) would be $225 billion for fiscal year 2011... Thatís about 1.6% of American output, which is lower than at any point since the 1970s Ė except for 2003 through 2005, when it was closer to 1.4%.

Under Ronald Reagan, the first George Bush, and Bill Clinton, payments on federal debt often got above 3% of GDP. Under Bush the second, payments were about where they are now. Yet suddenly, we are in a near collective hysteria..."


Slobodan, All I can say is, "so what?" To what do you attribute that difference considering that our debt is higher now than it's ever been since WW II? Bottom line is that Jeremy's right on the money. The real catastrophe facing us is in social security, medicare and, especially, medicaid.

I might add that Time Magazine is a prime demonstration of liars figuring.
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