The Fight for Quality of Life

Imagine that France was a developing country. What would the International Monetary Fund tell it to do? The state is France's biggest employer, directly providing nearly 25% of all jobs and indirectly supporting a further 15% — the IMF would certainly not approve. It would point out that by shrinking the public sector, the French could cure their spendthrift ways. (Last year public spending represented 51.4% of GDP.) The IMF would argue that by privatizing many services now assured by the state — from health care to transport to pensions — French wage earners would be left not...

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