France Beyond Remedy: Sarkozy a Worthy Dauphin of Chirac

France is beyond remedy. The country is heading for collapse, and its fate will be well deserved. As expected the French trade unions and the rioting leftwing vandals (aka “students”) in the streets won the fight for political supremacy over parliament and the government. Yesterday the French president Jack Chirac withdrew the French youth labour bill (CPE), approved earlier by a parliamentary majority, while the man he stabbed in the back by doing so, Chirac’s former dauphin and France’s Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, announced that he will not stand for the presidential elections next year.

Villepin’s CPE would have enabled French employers to lower the cost of job creation by allowing them to hire first-time employees under the age of 26 for a conditional two-year period during which they could be fired without much hassle. Last August a similar bill was introduced allowing small companies, with fewer than 20 employees, to fire new employees during a trial period without the normal prohibitive procedures that make it impossible for companies to hire and fire in response to market demands. As a direct result of the new bill, these small companies were able to create 335,000 new jobs. France’s students, however, have made it clear that they would rather not have a job – and live at the expense of the state welfare system – than have a job which is not guaranteed to be virtually life-long.

It is to Villepin’s credit that he fought for his bill. It is to the discredit of his rival, Nicolas Sarkozy, whom we at one time mistakingly took for a defender of law and order and of free-market reforms, that he called for surrender to the demands of the rioters and the trade unions. With Villepin’s announcement that he will not stand for the presidential elections the road is now wide open for Sarkozy to become the presidential candidate of the governing UMP. However, those who assume that Sarkozy, if he becomes president, will be bold enough to deliver the market reforms that France badly needs, are deluded. His stance on the CPE has made that clear enough. Sarkozy has proved to be a worthy successor to Jack “Spineless” Chirac.

Last December 17th The Economist wrote an analysis on the situation in France, entitled “After the riots” (referring to the previous round of rioting in la douce France in November). Here is a quote, which shows how in barely five months a political situation can change dramatically:

“Mr Sarkozy’s success is not guaranteed. A [poll] ranked him as only the fourth most popular politician on the right. Mr de Villepin came top, with a seven-point lead. UMP deputies know that the prime minister has wider appeal to the centre and the left, making him a better second-round candidate. [...] The more Mr Sarkozy leans to the right, the more space there is in the centre for Mr de Villepin.”

In the end it did not turn out to be a competition between the politician of the right and the one of the centre, but between the principled and the unprincipled. As almost always, the unprincipled man won the day.

In this respect there is not much difference with the situation in Italy, where Silvio Berlusconi might narrowly lose or win the elections in which the Italians were given a non-choice, between two unprincipled politicians, neither of them willing to introduce the economic reforms that Italy badly needs. The same was true during last year’s German elections. Waldemar Ingdahl’s contribution today also refers to the European disease. The “old continent” is dying from welfarism, but the patient is refusing treatment. The citizens are forced into voting for populists, most of whom do not want to reform the welfare state either and simply hope to prolong its survival by throwing out the immigrants, bad ones (Islamic jihadists) and good ones (Polish plumbers) alike.


France is beyond remedy. The country is heading for collapse

How many months or days, the patient has left? I think that such bold statements should always be accompanied with a time schedule.  If not they sound very hollow. We live with the “disease” of welfare-ism for more then sixty years now, yet the patient seems still in a rather good condition.


The citizens are forced into voting for populists, most of whom do not want to reform the welfare state


I can’t see how you can force people to vote for something. Unless voting isn’t secret, but to my knowledge it is. Yet I do agree that a fair amount of the voters do vote for populism. We can see that in phenomena as “Pim Fortuyn” in the Netherlands or VB in Belgium. As a result there is an induction of populism in the other parties. It is certain that this blocks courageous decisions.

What next for France?

We can all sneer at France, but it is really bad news for Europe and Western Civilization if France collapses.

It has gone so far into anarchy that there seems no one to pull it back from collapse. I just don't know what can be done.

Isn't there another candidate Villiers? or somename like that is a better candidate that Dominique or Sarkozy?

I'm with Pat

If the elites allow their economy to be shackled by rioters, who can save them? They have set their path on a welfare-dictatorship, let them live through their coming poverty. In due time, maybe the next generation, they may rediscover Hayek.

Unfortunately, they are shackled to the rest of Europe through the EU. Poor Europe.

re: pashley

Of course it might be easier for the French to digest someone of their own, like Frédéric Bastiat :-)

Too hard on Sarkozy

I'm afraid this article is a bit too harsh for Nicolas Sarkozy.


Perhaps he's just a better politician than de Villepin, realizing which battles can be won and in which battles it's better to retreat temporarily so the next offensive to beat welfarism is more succesfull.

popular will

Why shouldn't the unions and the students demand their way if the elite of France will not defend their positions? A riot, excuse me "demonstration", can only succeed the elected officials have no intention of holding firm. The longer this goes on the more sympathetic I become to the demonstrators because they suspected and now know for sure, that the system only works by gaming it, and they better be the ones in a position to do the gaming.