NEWS + ANALYSIS
EMMANUEL MARTIN

NEWS + ANALYSIS

WHY SO MANY FRENCH STRIKES? LESSONS IN “SOCIAL MODELS”

July 15, 2014 | by Emmanuel Martin

In France the frequency of strikes has gone down during the last generation. But the country is still prone to social conflict -- as the latest strikes demonstrate -- and if the necessary reforms are implemented, more are to be expected. A few days ago the opening of the international festival of Avignon -- one of France’s most famous cultural events -- was cancelled because temporary show-business workers are on strike against changes in their generous unemployment-benefit system.

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GARY S. BECKER, IN MEMORIAM

May 6, 2014 | by Emmanuel Martin

Professor Gary S. Becker passed away on May 3 at the age of 83. Although his legacy in the social sciences is immense -- his mentor, Milton Friedman, called Becker "the greatest social scientist who has lived and worked in the last half century"-- one should not overlook his defense of freedom. Becker changed the face, method, and scope of social sciences forever – one reason why he received the Nobel Prize in economics in 1992. He was trained as an economist, notably attending Friedman's lectures on microeconomics in the early 1950s at the University of Chicago – the esteemed university whose reputation was further enhanced by Becker's work. Yet he chose to approach issues traditionally reserved for sociology.

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WILL MR VALLS SAVE THE FRENCH TITANIC? A LESSON IN NON-REFORM

April 30, 2014 | by Emmanuel Martin

Is the future of Europe at stake in Paris these days? The country seems to be unable to rectify its deficit trajectory, endangering the European Union, given its size. The European Commission recently put France under close watch. With a soaring debt at 94 percent of GDP, record unemployment levels and a share of public spending in the GDP at a staggering 57 percent, the country has clearly become the sick man of Europe.

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SUPPLY-SIDE, FRENCH-STYLE

February 26, 2014 | by Emmanuel Martin

During his recent US trip French President François Hollande visited the Silicon Valley to meet American – and French – entrepreneurs and innovators. A few days later he was organizing a first “council of attractiveness” designed to counter the fall in foreign direct investment in France. In fact since the beginning of the year, the French socialist president has moved towards a pro-business stance – and even spending cuts. Mr Hollande’s new supply-side economic policy is a revolution by socialist standards. But is it authentic?

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TUNISIA’S LEADERS SHRUG OFF ECONOMIC FREEDOM FOR THE PEOPLE

January 16, 2014 | by Emmanuel Martin

For ordinary people of the Middle East and North Africa, the events of the Arab Spring were driven as much by a frustration at the lack of economic opportunity as they were a discontent with authoritarian, repressive regimes in the region. After all, the popular uprisings were triggered by the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tunisian fruit vendor who had been repeatedly harassed by local authorities. When he was prohibited by the officials to sell fruits and vegetables, with his goods confiscated, his life — and the lives of those who were dependent on him — were instantly ruined.

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TAX PRESSURE COSTS FRANCE ITS ENTREPRENEURIAL LIFE-FORCE

December 30, 2013 | by Emmanuel Martin

France's sovereign rating was recently downgraded by Standard & Poor's, which doubts the government has the means to reduce its budget deficits. Indeed, French officials find it more and more difficult to levy higher taxes, as tax revolts erupt across the country, such as with the famous "red hats" in Brittany, reminiscent of the 17th-century popular revolts against government stamps.

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BONO, FRANCE, AND CAPITALISM

July 18, 2013 | by Emmanuel Martin

On July 15, Bono, the Irish rock star, lead singer for U2, and international human-rights activist, was made Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters of the French Republic. Perhaps he could take the opportunity to teach the French Parliament a lesson in sound economics. The Parliament is discussing yet another socialist law, this one to bar profitable companies from closing factories. Bono? Isn't he the well-known advocate of government solutions to economic development problem?

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