September 24, 2005
A review of the French tax and legal systems reminded me why it’s crazy for an Anglo to live or start a business there.
One book, although nominally boosting France, paints a picture of classic Low Trust society in decline.
Erosion of Trust
The French tax system is based on the practice of “denunciation” – people are encouraged to denounce neighbors to the French tax authorities and are rewarded with a cut of the penalties the authorities impose.
Erosion of Justice
Tax investigation assumes guilt – parties denounced must prove their innocence.
Erosion of Property Rights
Like any other state, French state takes property for infrastructure projects, however the legal resources available to the citizen are much more limited than in Anglo societies. Plus there’s a nasty trick called “preemption” that applies to 90% of all properties in France. This allows the local mayor to step in and take a property that you’ve signed up to buy. Or, after you’ve bought, require that you give up part of your property for redevelopment.
It’s thought that about 60% of Brits who move to France give up and return home within two years. They’re the lucky ones – many can’t afford to return, having lost their capital to the locals.
The corporate level is just as bad. Here’s a WSJ view (subscription, my ellipsis):
If you thought starting a business in France was difficult, try closing one.
Last month, a French court ordered Nestlé to reopen an unprofitable factory shut down in June. Apparently, the Swiss food giant hadn’t met all of France’s labor law requirements — even though it had offered the 427 workers in question early retirement schemes or jobs in other Nestlé plants in France.
So when President Jacques Chirac asked his cabinet Tuesday to ensure that Hewlett-Packard “fully respects” its obligations under French labor law, it was no empty threat. CEO Mark Hurd, who wants to cut…1,240 positions in France, had better make sure his lawyers have read the fine print of the French legal code.
France’s staggering (10%) jobless rate is largely the result of a fundamental misunderstanding of capitalism. Somehow, the country’s fabled “social model” assumes that companies should operate like nonprofit organizations. But neither do entrepreneurs create jobs out of charity nor do they lay off people out of malice — despite French Employment Minister Gerard Larcher’s calling Hewlett-Packard’s plan “brutal.”
Many French understand that their current model is not sustainable, but – as in Germany – those with entitlements outnumber those funding them.
September 23, 2005
New York cops have joined firefighters and 9/11 families to stop the left from turning the 9/11 memorial into a covert attack on America.
Hat tip LGF, the NYP reports:
Police-union leaders have joined the battle to scuttle plans for the controversial International Freedom Center at Ground Zero — a site they say should be treated with the same reverence as Pearl Harbor.
“The World Trade Center is not a place for domestic or international politics,” Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch wrote in a letter sent yesterday to World Trade Center Memorial Foundation Director Gretchen Dykstra.
“It is not a place for inappropriate art or entertainment and programming which trivializes or ignores the history of the site,” Lynch’s letter continued.
Lynch said any use of the site should be focused only on 9/11 and the lives that were lost at the World Trade Center. Among those killed were 23 city cops and 343 firefighters.
Lynch’s Pearl Harbor analogy is a good one. The left would by now have converted the Arizona into a giant Rising Sun with its centerpiece a museum that chronicled the sufferings of Japanese detainees during WW2.
September 23, 2005
Japan is building up its missile defenses, no doubt to complement its future nuke capability. This confirms the continued ability of the Chinese despots to shoot themselves in the foot.
A previous post reported the successful test of the Raytheon SM-3 ship-based Ballistic Missile Defense system. It’s launched from an Aegis cruiser or destroyer and Japan will deploy it next year.
Now Japanese sources report that it will co-develop the SM-3:
Demonstrating both cooperation with the U.S. and its own ambitions to pursue missile defenses of its own, Japan will partner with the U.S. to design a nose cone for a ballistic missile interceptor, Kyodo reports, citing close sources. The interceptor at issue is an upgraded version of the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) which is part of the Aegis sea-based defense system, in which Japan and other countries are quite interested. An agreement between the two countries specifying the cooperation is said to be expected soon, possibly by the end of the year.
A Japanese SM-3 will give that island nation a world class defensive system to to complement a future nuclear deterrent capability.
September 22, 2005
Even the BBC should be able to figure out the politics of this Governor.
Texas is facing the ever strengthening hurricane Rita, and three days ago, its Governor did this:
September 19. Today Gov. Rick Perry recalled the Texas National Guard, Texas Task Force 1 and other emergency personnel and equipment from Louisiana in anticipation of Tropical Storm Rita entering the Gulf of Mexico. Current projections indicate that Rita will continue to strengthen into hurricane force and could threaten the Texas coast by the end of the week.
“With the potential of another major hurricane forming in the Gulf of Mexico and threatening the Texas coast, the time is now to begin mobilizing our resources and implementing our plan to ensure an orderly response before Texas is hit,” Perry said. “For the past three weeks, our emergency personnel have been assisting our neighbors devastated by Hurricane Katrina and over the last year our state has heightened preparations for dealing with a catastrophic storm. While we continue to hope that day never comes, Texas must be ready if it does.”
Still not sure? Here’s the killer clue:
School buses evacuating thousands from Galveston
September 22, 2005
German media is bemoaning the “delicacy” of Afghanistan’s newfound democracy. They should look in the mirror.
Just 4 years ago, islamofascist-ruled Afghanistan was mired in barbarism and devastated by over 20 years of brutal warfare. Now they’ve had an election, and the country is blooming. Meanwhile Germany has no leadership, is controlled by commies and its economy is headed South.
Afghanistan’s Delicate Democracy
Afghan President Hamid Karzai beguiles his enemies to prevent the country from falling apart even further. Kabul, once a devastated city, is blossoming, and it owes part of its resurgence to investments by drug barons. Former Taliban leaders and communists could end up in the country’s new parliament.
Sounds good to me – commies and former terrorists are ending up in parliament beacuse people are voting for them.
The new appeal of politics has even forced the truly powerful in this country to take part in the democratic process, in which every citizen has one vote — despite the fact that, in many parts of the country, it is the tribal leaders who tell the local people for whom they should cast their ballots.
In previously devastated Kabul:
Traffic is unbearable, and construction is going on everywhere. There are 24-hour internet cafés, jeans shops and bars that serve alcohol, at least to foreigners, and business is booming for Chinese and Russian prostitutes.
By contrast, in democratic Germany:
…the post-communist Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) and a number of left-leaning, western-German malcontents — got 8.7 percent of the vote. With that, they will send 54 delegates to the Bundestag, Germany’s lower house of parliament. As expected, the party did even better in the states of former East Germany. Fully 25.4 percent of eastern Germans cast their votes for the Left Party — fully 8.5 percentage points better than in 2002.
And of course:
German elections are over and both Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and his challenger Angela Merkel are claiming victory. In truth, both did poorly — but they may end up leading Germany together anyway. It will be a coalition of the losers.
Compared with the Germans, the Afghans are doing a great job – they have splendid leadership, their commies and warlords are under control and their economy is booming. Germany should try this.
September 21, 2005
The New York Times is letting 45 editorial employees go.
The New York Times Co. and two Philadelphia newspapers announced major job cuts Tuesday as the industry grapples with severe financial problems including weak advertising and circulation declines.
The Times said it expected 250 jobs at its main newspaper group to be affected, which includes the Times, the International Herald Tribune and the online operation of the Times. Of those job cuts, about 45 will come from the Times’ newsroom, the company said in a statement.
That’s 45 less enemies of freedom in the world-wide army of 16,000 – a great start!
September 20, 2005
The Iraqi al Sadr Shia militia has joined a long list of thugs who have learned not to mess with the Brit Special Air Service. Sadly the Shia community has lost the Brits as an ally in their battle with the Sunnis.
The al Sadr thugs recently started to attack Brit patrols in Southern Iraq, killing several soldiers. So the Brits responded, and:
…arrested six members of the Mahdi army, the militia loyal to the rebel Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
Those held included Sheik Ahmad Majid al-Fartusi, the Basra commander of the group, and his aide, Sajjat al-Basri.
On Sunday the Mahdi army said it would retaliate on Monday if its leaders were not freed. The rioting suggested that it had carried out its threat.
Yesterday the terrorists intercepted two SAS undercover agents, beat them up and imprisoned them in a militia house.
The Brit army has experience of being tortured by Iraqis, after six SAS troopers were captured Scud-busting behind Iraqi lines during the Gulf War. So the army got its men out with admirable alacrity, in spite of an ambush in which the bad guys hid behind kids armed with Molotov cocktails.
British troops who stormed a Basra jail with armoured carriers to rescue two commandos discovered that the pair had already been handed over to local militia, the Ministry of Defence said today.
Officers searched the jail in the southern Iraqi city from “top to bottom” before forcing guards to disclose the whereabouts of the men at gunpoint.
The two soldiers, who had been working undercover, were traced to a nearby house from which they were rescued in a follow-up operation.
This outcome is terrible for the Shias and good for the Sunnis.
September 19, 2005
Schroeder’s principled stand against being defended by the US paid off, so now Germany gets another 4 years of economic decline while facing an oil-rich Russia.
Davids Medienkritik has excellent coverage of the stalemate – looks like North/East Germans really resonated with Schroeder’s election message.
North East Germany was the area the USSR planned to occupy when it was war planning back in the 80s. Before the next German elections Russia will be much more powerful than the old USSR – fattened on $60 oil – and looking for compliant buffer states – looks like a match made in heaven.
September 19, 2005
Fox News reports:
North Korea Agrees to Drop Nukes
Perhaps on Beijing?
September 18, 2005
France allows its criminals to prey on foreigner visitors. It also supplies diplomatic and financial support for the Mullahs’ nukes and Palestinian murder of Jews. Same motivation – French governments are predators and they support their own kind.
Mrs G and I have been looking for a (small) country place in Europe, and having been disappointed in Italy have researched France. It’s scary: this from David Hampshire’s Buying a Home In France (my emphasis):
Highway Piracy: (les pirates de la route) is becoming an increasing problem in some areas, where foreign drivers are are often targets. Gangs deliberately bump or ram cars to get drivers to stop, usually late at night when there’s little traffic about. A driver may may also pose as a plain clothes policeman and try to get you to stop by flashing a “badge” or setting up bogus road blocks. Traveling at night in France is becoming increasingly hazardous and should be avoided if possible.
The Brit Foreign Office confirms and extends the warning (my emphasis):
There is…a continuing problem of burglaries taking place during the night whilst travelers have been asleep in their caravans, mobile homes or other vehicles. In a number of these cases, victims had first been rendered unconscious by the thieves using gas.
In Calais British registered cars may be targeted by thieves, both while parked and on the move (eg by thieves flagging down drivers for a lift or indicating that the vehicle has a flat tyre).
Visitors to Commonwealth War Grave cemeteries in northern France, many of which are in isolated areas, are advised not leave handbags or other valuables in parked cars as they can be the target for thieves.
In populated areas of the South of France, particularly in the Marseille to Menton area, you are advised to keep car doors locked and windows closed when driving as it is common for bags to be snatched from the front passenger seat, often when the vehicle is stationary at traffic lights and usually by individuals on motorbikes.
In the Rhone-Alps Region a British couple were recently robbed after their car had been flagged down by thieves who had indicated that something was wrong with the vehicle.
FYI, Commonwealth War Graves are the “corners of a foreign field that shall be forever England” occupied by the million or so Brits that dies to keep the French free.
Such crime exists in all countries, but in hight trust societies like the UK the local cops aggressively patrol areas being targeted in this way. But the French authorities choose not to. This is characteristic of France’s low trust society, and explains French support for murderous despots like the Iranians and and terrorists like Hamas. France’s government chooses not to stop criminals targeting visitors to their country because it is predatory itself and so identifies with domestic thieves and predatory foreign regimes.
We may still buy somewhere in France provided the local cops don’t stop us packing heat.