The Fat Lady is Singing

In his best-selling book on the state of the French bureaucracy, Roger Fauroux asserts that France has chosen the "Paris Opera system" as its social model. "Who pays for the Opera?," writes Fauroux, a former ceo of Saint-Gobain, director of France's famous Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ena) and a minister under Fran├žois Mitterrand. "Not the wealthiest — they get invited. Opera lovers, whether well-off or not, pay only a part of what it takes to put on a spectacle. The rest is financed by the state budget — that is, by taxes gleaned from the middle classes and business owners, who get...

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