June 01, 2004

COLLAPSE OF THE HIBERNATIONS

OLD EUROPE:

French intellectuals have taken up a new cause, which they describe as a defining issue for modern society. They are calling for more sleep.

Philosophers, authors and scientists have joined forces to campaign for the right to nod off, arguing that tiredness is one of the greatest threats to the developed world, particularly France.

They say the syndrome is exacerbated in France by widespread anguish over globalisation.

NEW EUROPE:

The European Union's newest members are using corporate tax cuts to win a bigger share of investment in Europe, and putting pressure on French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to consider tax reductions to spur growth and increase employment.

Companies including Volkswagen AG, Europe's biggest carmaker, France's PSA Peugeot Citroen and Siemens AG, Germany's biggest engineering company, are building factories and hiring workers in the eight Eastern European countries that joined the EU on May 1. The median tax rate in those nations is 19 percent, half that of Germany and compared with 34 percent in France.

(Via reader Matt T.)

Posted by Tim Blair at June 1, 2004 10:35 PM
Comments

"widespread anguish over globalisation"

that's pretty funny shit

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at June 1, 2004 at 10:50 PM

As a person who has spent plenty of time in france, they certainly aren't tired from working.

Their beloved socialist system has delivered generations of lazy pricks and France should be shitscared of globalisation because their system will slowly and surely be dismantled and then all hell will break loose.

However you can be sure of one thing, the French will find someone to blame.

Posted by: Nuffy at June 1, 2004 at 11:44 PM

Well, perhaps the French could offer tax breaks to people who sleep a lot. That might help ease their "pain" over globalization.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at June 1, 2004 at 11:46 PM

The French are sleepy because of widespread anguish about globalisation? Tell me this is a joke.

Posted by: Johnathan at June 1, 2004 at 11:54 PM

I often find that excessive wanking makes me sleepy. Could there be a connection?

Posted by: Clem Snide at June 2, 2004 at 12:14 AM

Here's the money quote:

"The intellectuals blame the problem on the spread of an Anglo-Saxon work-hard, play-hard culture, which leaves people too stressed to sleep, even when they try."

As a hard-working, hard-playing Anglo-Saxon I can say with assurance that I am stress-free and sleep quite well.

Could it be that the stress and lack of sleep result from the creeping realization that their nation and its self-created "exception" simply can't compete?

Posted by: peter at June 2, 2004 at 12:30 AM

It gets better:

"Some of the more radical French thinkers describe sleep as a revolutionary activity that should be used as a weapon against the evils of capitalism.

Instead of striking, workers should take a nap, they say"

They REALLY don't get it. First, their problems are the result of the evils of a huge, society-choking socialist system, not capitalism. Second, how on earth is snoozing going to be a weapon against capitalism. Its basically conceding defeat. A French specialty.

Posted by: peter at June 2, 2004 at 12:36 AM

This is rampant anti-Frenchism at it's worst. And fair enough. Between them and the Americans it must be a close run thing for most-ridiculed nation on earth.

If only France and the US had not unfairly ganged up on the Brits in 1776, the world would surely be a far better place.

N'est ce pas?

Posted by: Nemesis at June 2, 2004 at 12:42 AM

"This is rampant anti-Frenchism at it's worst."

yes, it is. we laugh at them. unlike, say, what the french do when in their anti-semite ways when they collaborate and ship tens of thousands of jews off the the gas chambers.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at June 2, 2004 at 12:48 AM

Nemesis - i trust you forgot the sarcasm tags, n'est ce pas?

Posted by: hen at June 2, 2004 at 12:48 AM

Now the frogs are lying down on the job, does that mean Airbus will no longer kick Boeing's ass?

Posted by: Upright Position at June 2, 2004 at 01:03 AM

Au contrare. This is anti-Frenchism at its BEST. Not stories spun by its critics but classic self-created delusion that is beyond parody.

It is perfect on so many levels. The entitlement complex that although they work so little already, they should be able to work even less. Second, the blame transfer. Not that our own lazy asses are causing us to fail, but the fact that someone dares to work harder. J'accuse! Lastly, the classic French solution. Rather than learn from this failure and its very clear cause, let's redouble our efforts and work even less. That'll show 'em, those anglo-globo-capilists.

Posted by: peter at June 2, 2004 at 01:04 AM

i bow to your superior logic peter.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at June 2, 2004 at 01:05 AM

I think they just bored. Too bored for sex, too bored for work. Hell, I'm bored of France too.

Posted by: chuck at June 2, 2004 at 01:35 AM

And 25% of the frogs are on tranqs. Which explains a few things.

Posted by: Sandy P at June 2, 2004 at 02:00 AM

I love that "particularly France", with their 35 hour work weeks.

Posted by: George at June 2, 2004 at 02:01 AM

Upright Position I've been shoehorned into too many Airbuses. It's gotten to the point that I pick my flights based on whether I can avoid those sardine cans.

Posted by: richard mcenroe at June 2, 2004 at 02:01 AM

I thought that the whole point of the EU was to stop "new Europe" from competing with "old Europe".

Posted by: Andy Freeman at June 2, 2004 at 02:20 AM

I'll bet the "new Europe" nations saw a business opportunity when "old Europe" laid aside competition. All those years under the Soviet Union must have really chafed at their capitalistic, er, ah, excuse me, competitive instincts.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at June 2, 2004 at 02:58 AM

Hate to rain on anyone's parade. But this factoid:


The median tax rate in those nations is 19 percent, half that of Germany and compared with 34 percent in France.


is bullshit. For example, here in Budapest, Hungary the corp. tax rate is about 19% ----- BUT there is also a "local business tax" levied on REVENUES as well. Making the total effective tax incidence much greater than 19%. (e.g. you could have a net loss and still pay a bunch of taxes.)


Jobs and investment have alreadz started to shift over to Slovakia...

Posted by: vlad at June 2, 2004 at 03:09 AM

I thought that the whole point of the EU was to stop "new Europe" from competing with "old Europe".

This program is still on. Vlad is right. Expect tax harmonization - upwards - any time there is even a hint of shift in the investment in favor of the New Europe. The EU paradise is supposed to service France and Germany, not some stupid little countries in the East. Frankenreich has enough political influence to make sure that will happen.

Posted by: Katherine at June 2, 2004 at 03:27 AM

As someone who emigrated AWAY from a culture that the french have "glabalized" the only thing that's clear is that they are fooling themselves to an unbelievable degree. It could be that cognitive dissonance that causing the lunacy.

Posted by: Joe at June 2, 2004 at 03:39 AM

I think from now on it's safe to call Vlad "Vlad the Impaled" given that he's trying to make a living under that tax system

Posted by: Joe at June 2, 2004 at 03:42 AM

(...) tiredness is one of the greatest threats to the developed world, particularly France.

If they were talking about the world rapidly tiring of the French, they might have a point. That certainly does present a threat to France.

Posted by: PW at June 2, 2004 at 03:46 AM

I suspect that when you lot say "The French" you usually mean corrupt middle-aged French politicians. What about their cheery peasants, their wine-makers, their 19-year old au pair girls? It's a great place.

Come on, back me up someone. Tim's got about 5,000 readers. I can't be the only Francophile.

I'm going to bed now. I'll respond to your denunciations in the morning.

Posted by: Harry Hutton at June 2, 2004 at 04:02 AM

"Hate to rain on anyone's parade. But this factoid:


The median tax rate in those nations is 19 percent, half that of Germany and compared with 34 percent in France.


is bullshit. For example, here in Budapest, Hungary the corp. tax rate is about 19% ----- BUT there is also a "local business tax" levied on REVENUES as well. Making the total effective tax incidence much greater than 19%."

Well, Vlad, you may be correct that the median tax rate in "New Europe" (which I am defining as former Warsaw pact countries plus Yugoslavia, or their successor states) is higher than 19%, but you haven't made the case for it. You have made a case that the median tax rate in Budapest is higher than 19%, but that still leaves the rest of Hungary, all of Poland, all of the Czech Republic, all of Slovakia (which you imply has a substantially lower tax rate than does Budapest), etc.

Let me repeat that you may be right. You just haven't made a case for any locale other than Budapest.

Posted by: Silicon Valley Jim at June 2, 2004 at 04:13 AM

harry, you're right. i work with a bunch of frenchsters. big city slicksters, raised in cafes of paris & lyons are insufferable a-holes. equally obnoxious to americans & other euros...

the regular, (the "provincial"?) french are totally devoid of superciliousness & arrogance of their parisian brethren and actually ARE nice people.

Posted by: niels at June 2, 2004 at 04:19 AM

You are correct Harry, at least in my case. Still why do they re-elect those politicians.

Posted by: Gary at June 2, 2004 at 04:25 AM

One on one, I'll bet a lot of the French are as polite and as nice as you please. But as Gary put it, they re-elect their leadership. Collectively, France is a problem. Especially when they find reasons to blame someone else for their own self-created problems.

And if the French don't like the way the world looks at them, perhaps they need to change their ways.

Of course, I'm sure that the French look at Americans in the same light. But, hey, I'm a Yank, not French.....

Posted by: The Real JeffS at June 2, 2004 at 04:40 AM

If the U.S. is the world's hyper-power, does that make France the hiber-power?

Man, a 35 hour work week, 5 weeks guaranteed paid annual vacation. Life is tough. They need to relax, watch a bad movie, take a nap, ZZZzzzz.

Posted by: Bruce Rheinstein at June 2, 2004 at 04:46 AM

What a joke the French intellectual classes, with a few scattered exceptions, have become. A total embarassment, the lot of em.

The tragedy of it all is that France once gave the world some of the smartest scientists, engineers and artists. Now they all want to lie in bed.

Of course, if Laetitia Casta wants to lie in my bed, I am open to the offer.

Posted by: Tom at June 2, 2004 at 06:59 AM

Harry, I work with a Frenchman. He grew up in the countryside there, herding his father's sheep, and travelled widely around the world after leaving the farm, eventually settling in Bondi. He told me Parisians are the rudest people he's ever met.

Posted by: Byron_the_Aussie at June 2, 2004 at 11:04 AM

Laetitia Casta- exactly. And over 200 types of cheese!

Posted by: Harry Hutton at June 2, 2004 at 11:17 AM

"The median tax rate in those nations is 19 percent, half that of Germany and compared with 34 percent in France"

Is it just the accountant in me, because I thought 19 was half of 38 not 34.

just nit picking

regards
dino

Posted by: dino at June 2, 2004 at 11:59 AM

Dino you are so not doing my tax return.

Germany 15%-45% dropping to 15%-42% in 2005.

Posted by: ilibcc at June 2, 2004 at 12:14 PM

Tom Ah yes, French engineers and scientists: How 'bout that Eurofighter? And has anyone found the DeGaulle's propellers yet?

Posted by: richard mcenroe at June 2, 2004 at 01:44 PM

Harry -

"What about their cheery peasants, their wine-makers"

I agree Harry, what the fuck about them? Let's cut to the chase, they can be as nice as hell, but the bottom line is they're still parasites clinging onto a bloated and inefficient farm sector! Get real: When did you last see the French compete successfully against ANYONE in ANYTHING?

While I'm in mid-rant: why do you think the French are so wedded to the EU and UN? Hint: What are the last two international bodies where the French MATTER?

Fuck them. The sooner the frogs go to the wall or have an airliner smacked into the Eiffel Tower or something the better.

Posted by: Pacman at June 2, 2004 at 07:10 PM

Didn't Laetitia Casta leave France because the taxes were too high?

Posted by: Floyd McWilliams at June 3, 2004 at 02:14 AM