Verite from Veronique

by Russ Roberts on April 30, 2009

in Regulation

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Joe N April 30, 2009 at 12:22 pm

Good video. I like it.

indiana jim April 30, 2009 at 2:19 pm

Magnifique! Merci beaucoup! Mais "Obama non, merci beaucoup":

Phil April 30, 2009 at 2:35 pm

Good points. But the graphic comparing the standard of living in the US versus France shows a pile of hamburgers next to one croissant. The US GDP per capita is larger than that in France, but not several times larger. I expect better from Reason.

Catherine April 30, 2009 at 3:27 pm

There is a lot more to criticize about France. France has an incredible number of taxes every new one being more creative than the previous. The VAT is 19.6% on everything except for a few products taxed at 5.5% such as food (e.g., TVA on dark chocolate is 5.5% but TVA on milk chocolate is 19.6%) and books. The social structure is based more on privileges than money. It is wonderful to live in France if you belong to the elites and/or embrace its socialist model. But for anybody else there is no equivalent to the American dream because the glass ceiling is very low. It is certainly not too surprising that the French are the top consumers of psychotropic drugs in the world…

BoscoH April 30, 2009 at 3:32 pm

Phil's complaint is in the right area, but not quite on target. They should not have used a croissant for the French side. They should have used McDonald's French Fries.

S Andrews April 30, 2009 at 3:43 pm

you mean just 1 strip of fried potato?

vidyohs April 30, 2009 at 8:10 pm

Hillary, "Oh President Mitterand, we are trying to model our health care system after that of France!"

President Mitterand, "But why madame? Ours is broke."

Stupidity across the socialist spectrum is unequaled in mankind, and never changes. Nuff said.

Crusader April 30, 2009 at 8:18 pm

Catherine – could you provide some evidence for your assertions about French class privileges?

Ray G April 30, 2009 at 9:47 pm

I always wondered how to pronounce her name. Very enlightening.

austin April 30, 2009 at 11:50 pm

"House passes credit card bill that helps consumers"


Think this would make for a good Roberts' rewrite?

muirgeo May 1, 2009 at 3:18 am

When all factors are averaged out the French pretty much make as much as Americans. They simply work less, retire earlier, take 6 weeks of vacation off a year and don't feel the need to stay employed at a job they hate just to have health insurance. They vacation in our National parks while we work.

The French also enjoy far greater income mobility and they live on average to be 76.9 years old compared to the average American who lives just to 72.6 years. 9.4% of the French are obese while 30.4% of Americans are. We have 7 times as high a rate of incarceration and over twice as many murders as the French and higher divorce rates.

I'm not so sure the advantages are that clear.

a french reader May 1, 2009 at 5:31 am

In french, we have one word that could qualify this video pretty well : cliché !

I hope libertarians are too smart to be abused by such a one-sided exposition…

Ward May 1, 2009 at 8:03 am

whatever happened to Sebine Herold?

Veritas May 1, 2009 at 9:48 am


And the sustainability of the French system is?

I like eating ice cream for breakfast.

But long term consequences of diabetes kill that idea.

indiana jim May 1, 2009 at 10:12 am

Mixing languages: Viva Veritas!

theprofitmotive May 1, 2009 at 10:40 am

What a poor video! More than a cliche as 'a French reader' says, it's a niaiserie. Why speak only of material well-being? GDP per capita, taxes, OK, but when you take the rest into account, the picture is quite different.

This kind of video will only entertain or distract some libertarians. If the objective sought is to convince our political opponents, then, it completely misses the mark. BTW, has she published anything outside libertarian publications/outlets, I mean in top economic peer-reviewed journals?

Methinks May 1, 2009 at 10:49 am

Ah, that's true. She didn't represent France in it's best light. She left out the weekly Paris riots, the double-digit unemployment rate and the thousands of deaths from a 2003 heatwave. La vie en Rose, indeed.

theprofitmotive May 1, 2009 at 11:12 am

You must be the only one to know about weekly Paris riots. There have been sporadic riots, that's all….very different from the daily violence of gangs in Chicago, NY, etc.

Double-digit unemployment rate? France's unemployment rate is currently 8,4%, that of the Euro zone 8,2% and that of the US…8,1%. I don't think the US can give many lessons to France on this issue currently.

Thousands of deaths from a heat wave? Have you heard of Katrina, a natural and unexpected phenomenon and the thousands of deaths it caused?

TrUmPiT May 1, 2009 at 11:27 am

Per capita income in the U.S. is $45,000? You mean AVERAGE per capita income, of course. What is the per capita income of the top 1% of the population? Mexico is the 12th richest country in world in terms of GDP, at least until swine flu struck. Does that figure tell you that 40% of the population is below the asset based poverty level? That women is lying because all French people innately believe that they possess the world's most superior culture and language and wouldn't trade one croissant with the U.S. for all the burgers in McDonalds. They even police their language to keep words from American pop/poop culture out of their lexicon. I think that woman is really a bad Hollywood actor from central casting with a fake French accent. She overdoes the oui oui stuff. I could just wee wee all over that piece.

JPIrving May 1, 2009 at 11:58 am

Perhaps the advantages of France vs US are unclear. How about France vs Denmark? France vs Australia, France vs Hong Kong? . I don't know the answers but there are plenty of other freeish market economies to contrast the french model to.

The US is no longer the free market standard.

Methinks May 1, 2009 at 12:03 pm


Until recently, the unemployment rate in the U.S. has been much lower than France's. France's unemployment rate is persistently high and half the country is employed in mind-numbing jobs as government functionaries and even the French admit that the country has suffered a brain drain as its smartest often leave for greener pastures in foreign lands. I know a few of them here in the U.S.

Speaking of riots – many of them occur in areas where the unemployment rate is as high as 30% for people in their twenties. Of the employed, a significant enough portion goes on strike on any given day so that there are websites to warn of strikes. I will never fly Air France again because a strike stranded me in Turkey and I've never taken an Air France flight where they haven't either had a strike, threat of strike, or lost luggage (however, the staff on the flights is SUPER!).

A little heatwave is not a hurricane hitting a bowl (which is what New Orleans is). The French, on average, are not as materially wealthy as Americans and many lack air conditioning. The medical system became overwhelmed with people suffering heatstroke.

I think you're missing the point. French government policies have made the French worse off than they would otherwise be, thus Americans shouldn't be eager to adopt French economic policies. The cost outweighs the benefit. I love visiting France and do so as often as I can, but I wouldn't want to live there because the inefficiencies caused by government economic policies would drive me insane.

vidyohs May 1, 2009 at 2:41 pm

And, Methinks,

What you point out did not just happen yesterday.

Rose Wilder Lane pointed that out in her book, The discovery of Freedom.

It is difficult to deal with a situation where one, is told by the police, must move the car because it does not have the proper permit, but one can not move it because of that self same lack.

The French are bureaucratic fools and it costs them in so many ways. Now I have to admit, the USA has been doing its damnest to catch up ever since FDR. We are getting there.

JC May 4, 2009 at 7:27 am

Looking at PIB per capita, France is not anymore a rich country :(
Ranking 19 today, France was number 8 in 1980… Sweden also went from #2 to #18
Do you know that in 1980 France was doing better in term of PIB than the USA? and what happened? One answer: Socialism! Mitterand arrived in 1981. The rest is history. Poor France. It will take time to reverse the engine. But we will!
A French man

indiana jim May 4, 2009 at 10:06 am

JC, in the words of Sam Spade (Casablanca, 1943) "this may be the beginning of a beautiful friendship."


An American

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