Opinion: Yellow Vests are a symptom of France’s dysfunctional democracy
With the Yellow Vest protests, France has finally fractured between its metropolitan areas and a resentful low-wage periphery. What started as a tax revolt has become a diffuse and unstructured uprising against an unaccountable ruling caste. Many of the movement’s demands would only perpetuate France’s administrative and social centralism, yet its appearance shows that this political model may no longer be sustainable.
Vocational lessons from Germany and France
Germany is praised as a model of vocational training, with youth unemployment of just over 6 percent. France, where 22 percent of young people don’t have jobs, has long known that its own vocational education system needs fixing. A comparison of how these two great European economies prepare pupils to become future employees may provide a useful guide for other countries.
Opinion: Will immigration sink the EU?
The EU risks implosion over the issue of immigration. At the root of the problem is its inability to integrate poorly educated, low-skilled individuals into workforces, and to sanction criminal behavior effectively. Introducing measures to help debureaucratize labor markets, reform education and punish criminals would help solve preexisting problems that immigration has only put in the spotlight.
Limits on posting workers create Europe’s high-cost cartels
European Union labor ministers have just agreed to a proposal that could see more protectionist measures implemented across the bloc. The new rules would limit employers’ flexibility how much they pay “posted” workers – employees from a different EU member state. Until now, posting workers added needed competition to the labor market. Eliminating that option just protects high-cost cartels created by EU states with excessive cost structures.
Argentina’s president looks for easy midterm wins
Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri is coming to terms with reality after promising a “transformational” government when he took power in early 2016. No shower of foreign investment or gas revenue has materialized, leaving him with a scaled-back philosophy of “gradualism” and fiscal austerity. Given this dour choice, Mr. Macri has focused on splitting his Peronist and Kirchnerista opponents before next month’s parliamentary elections – with a certain measure of success.
GIS Dossier: Return of the Daddy State
The aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 2008 financial crisis have led to calls for a dramatic increase in the powers of government. Even the ubiquity of internet-based technologies and the populist backlash against political establishments have had the paradoxical effect of promoting centralization. Yet in both politics and economics, there is plenty of evidence that state paternalism is the wrong answer.
Opinion: France and Europe
Emmanuel Macron may be a fresh face, but France’s new president poses much less of a threat to the cosy status quo than his vanquished Republican opponent, Francois Fillon. Now that Mr. Macron has a solid parliamentary majority behind him, he will have to make choices and take sides. Chances are that his eclectic program will prove a disappointment.
Russian truckers test a new protest model
This spring more than a half million long-haul truckers went on strike in Russia. The immediate effect of the protests was relatively minor, mostly restricted to local food shortages, yet the authorities responded forcefully and imposed a near-total news blackout. What makes the strike so threatening is that it merges two swelling streams of opposition in Russia – middle-class revolt in the big cities and working-class revolt in the rustbelt.
Opinion: Can Emmanuel Macron change France?
After winning France’s presidency, the easy part is over for Emmanuel Macron. Now he must shift from faux outsider to the country’s first real reformer in decades. To succeed, he will need to take on a political establishment only too eager to jump on his bandwagon.
Opinion: The promises and perils of basic income
Basic income has been touted as a libertarian answer to the bloated welfare state. With a pedigree that goes back to Milton Friedman, it has proved attractive to free marketers as well as leftists. But it could also prove an immense threat to personal freedom.