Sunday, April 13, 2008


Here's a puzzle for you to consider. Lane Kenworthy presents data from a 1999 survey intended to elicit attitudes toward equality versus inequality of income distribution. Notice that in all countries surveyed, there was a clear preference for equality. To students of France, however, the surprising result is that France and the United States are quite similar in their preference for equality. Germany and Norway appear to prefer the egalitarian distribution most strongly, and Germany has the lowest preference for the skewing of the distribution toward upper income brackets.

The puzzle is that in fact the income distributions in the U.S. and France are quite different: the U.S. is significantly more inegalitarian.

Parisot to the Barricades

Demonstrating lycée students have support from an unexpected quarter: Laurence Parisot, the head of the MEDEF, applauds their "demand for quality education."

CNE Abrogation Protested

The CGPME, which represents small- and medium-sized firms, is protesting the abrogation of the New Hire Contract (CNE). The retroactive provision of the law means that private contracts are not safe from legislative revision. The French Constitution of course has no provision comparable to section 10 of Article I of the U. S. Constitution:

"No State shall ... pass any Bill .. or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts."

Of course an appellate court has already found the CNE in conflict with European norms and therefore void, and various regions, including Ségolène Royal's Poitou-Charentes have attempted to nullify its application.