Monday, March 29, 2010

A British View of le Mal français

The world doesn't need so many psychologists. (h/t TexExile) Has psychology become the new sociology? And anyway, would France really be any better off if all the psych majors took up le marketing instead?


Andrew said...

Nor does the United States need quite so many English majors. The primary difference, it seems to me, is the willingness of American hiring managers to considering alternative narratives/skill sets in choosing candidates for entry-level positions. It seems that the GE/Uni triage in thinning the resume pile is much more severe than the Ivy/State sorting in the U.S.

James Conran said...

I would certainly question the idea that a student committed to "learning for learning's sake" is some terrible symptom of "impracticality". Intellectual curiosity is an economically useful characteristic (besides its other kinds of utility).

CJWilly said...

This is not a particularly French phenomenon. The U.S. is producing more journalism school grads than ever even as the industry is shrinking. The U.K., I think, is the champion of "kindergarten-university": sending people to school to keep them off the streets, keep the unemployment rate down, "because everyone does it"... and not actually do anything to prepare people for "the real world".

Nor is it true that the French economy has been doing worse than others. There was a well-entrenched Anglo-Saxon (yes!) and neoliberal myth that statist/bureaucratic/centralized France was strangling growth, suffocating innovation, etc, etc. The idea was founded on pretty much nothing, the French economy doing about the same as other developed countries, and relatively well during the latest financial crisis.

The only exception is in unemployment, the one consistently bad French figure. In everything else, C02 emissions per unit of GDP, GDP per capita, wages, foreign investment, exports, France does average to very well indeed.