David Thompson
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January 09, 2008

Comments

Jason Bontrager

France is unlikely to matter much longer. Even with Sarkozy at the helm, they're too socialistic, too entitlement-minded, too infertile, and too willing to cede their country to their Muslim immigrants.

The next 20 years are going to be interesting:-(.

David

Jason,

As Theil argues later in the article,

“This bias has tremendous implications that reach far beyond the domestic political debate in these two countries. These beliefs inform students’ choices in life. Taught that the free market is a dangerous wilderness, twice as many Germans as Americans tell pollsters that you should not start a business if you think it might fail… The loss to Europe’s two largest economies in terms of jobs, innovation, and economic dynamism is severe.

Attitudes and mind-sets, it is increasingly being shown, are closely related to a country’s economic performance. Edmund Phelps, a Columbia University economist and Nobel laureate, contends that attitudes toward markets, work, and risk-taking are significantly more powerful in explaining the variation in countries’ actual economic performance than the traditional factors upon which economists focus, including social spending, tax rates, and labour-market regulation.”

Roo

Fortunately none of those French kids will ever do anything more siginificant than serve coffee in an English Starbucks so it doesn't matter what they learn.

Education Guy

It is worrisome, and it does matter. Ignorance of this sort when combined with the rest of France's problems could lead to an increase in violence within the country, and perhaps an expansion of that violence outside of France's borders.

DNS

France has an odd divide between its ultra-lefty intelligentsia, and its many extremely successful international corporations- fortunately there are many people in France who understand economics, but they work for companies, not the government or educational institutions.

David

It’s hard to tell how representative the textbooks in question are and it’s not entirely clear how many students are exposed to them, but that *any* school textbook should include such portentous overstatement is difficult to excuse. I guess this is what happens when subjects become fused with “social studies” - and with the outlook so often associated with it. It’s odd, at least to me, how capitalism is rarely depicted in the way I’d imagine most people actually experience it. But then, examples of people risking their savings to start a business and subsequently employing, say, 20 people, who then have a livelihood, doesn’t sit too well with the model being advanced.

Steven Conatser

The authors of those textbooks are obviously ignoring some of the side effects of France's oppressive government regulations, which can, themselves, cause a little overwork and stress on the part of business owners, as David Frum noted in an article in the National Post a few months ago: http://www.nationalpost.com/story.html?id=c3f80585-652b-4cca-b10e-9da3bd7253cf

David

Steven,

In not unrelated news…

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article1719875.ece

and,

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_19961107/ai_n14080045

“…in a carefully packaged set of articles, the Figaro, a staunchly pro-government newspaper… has admitted the scale of France’s problem, and Britain’s gain. No fewer than 1,200 French companies, it says, have set up operations of one kind or another on the other side of the Channel. In a delicate turn of phrase it describes France as the ‘third largest foreign investor in Britain, after the United States and the Netherlands’.”

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