What you didn't hear on t.v.: France is more productive than America
By Lee Russ
Wednesday, April 05, 2006 at 04:26 PM
Here in the land of spin, I've heard all kinds of approbation r.e. France and the French refusal to "admit reality" by knuckling under to Chirac's new law removing job protections from young workers.
The NY Times has been relentlessly critical of the French who are protesting. The Concord (NH) Monitor headlined: "The French in denial," and stated that:
To anyone who cares about Europe's future, the French demonstrations and street riots protesting the government's new labor law must be profoundly disturbing.....Hardly anyone wants to surrender the benefits and protections of today's generous welfare state, but the fierce attachment to these costly and self-defeating programs prevents Europe from preparing for a future that, though it may be deplored, is inevitable.
But they didn't tell you that France--supposedly the Socialistic demon from hell, addicted to pampering, lengthy vacations, and lifelong job security, and unable to compete with real go-getters like the U.S.......somehow manages to be more productive than we are.
Go to this link, then click the link to "ICP data - February 2006 release (20Kb - Xls)." Here's the part of Table 2 concerning output per hour of work for France, the U.S., and the G-7 countries as a whole, starting from 1990 and going through 2004, the last year I found available:
Table 2: GDP per hour worked
Year France USA G7
1990 144 131 ??
1991 146 132 121
1992 141 128 118
1993 137 124 116
1994 136 122 114
1995 137 120 114
1996 135 120 114
1997 135 118 112
1998 135 118 111
1999 133 120 112
2000 134 117 111
2001 135 116 110
2002 131 112 106
2003 131 114 107
2004 129 116 108
Table 1 (not reproduced here) shows that the U.S. is more productive measured on GDP per worker, but that's because we work so damn many more hours. That's a bogus measure for obvious reasons. In fact, both the Financial Times and the American Fed Reserve (At the national level, the standard measure of labor productivity growth is the output of private nonfarm busness per hour worked) consider output per hour worked to be the "standard" and more meaningful measure.
In actual productivity, FRANCE IS MORE PRODUCTIVE. As a corollary, it appears that much of American business's vaunted claim to roaring productivity is merely the result of working ever longer hours. And you know that can't continue--C A N ' T; you eventually run out of hours in the day, not to mention workers who have begun dying from overwork.
Spin on O'Reilly, NY Times, Chamber of Commerce, and the rest of the free-marketeers. You've got the spin, but we've got the numbers.