How do you view France’s 75% millionaire tax aimed at the super rich, sports athletes, celebrities and corporation elites – as part of Francois Hollande’s “soak the rich” campaign? This has caused the flight of actors like Gerard Depardieu to Russia, led to nationalization of Arcelor-Mittal steel operations owned by Indian billionaire tycoon Lakshmi Mittal. The state’s share of the economy stands at 55%.
France is more Commie than the erstwhile Soviet Russia! But there are some advantages living there:
- Excellent public transport – It doesn’t cost you too much traveling anywhere in France thanks to their well-laid network of metro trains, suburban transit and trolleybuses. Car ownership is quite low.
- The food – yes, good food (and wine) is available pretty cheap. None of the fancy stuff which French export elsewhere, but for less than €5-10 a meal, it’s possible to eat and drink in a good restaurant. Supermarket stuff is even cheaper and high quality.
- Shorter working hours – They only work 33 hours a week. The ones who’re really hard-working may clock 40-45 hours. That’s it. This means more time to enjoy leisure activities.
- Longer duration of paid vacations – anything between 2 to 3 weeks is mandatory. People usually take unofficial vacations which could extend a week or two longer…
- Education is free or nearly free up to graduation. No hefty student loans. The tuition varies from €150 to €700 depending on the university and the different levels of education. (license, master, doctorate). One can therefore get a Master’s degree (in 5 years) for about €750-3,500
It sounds like France is making socialism work after all. There is nothing wrong with the state running steel mills as these are often not run very effectively by capitalists anyway, and state run steel mills in many nations seem to work very well.
I would like to see other nations copy the French model. This model seems to get rid of a lot of the problems of the Communist model such as:
- Very low wages and poor work ethic (“We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.”). The productivity of French workers is very high whereas the newly private farmers’ collectives in Cuba are having a very hard time hiring workers because it is typical for workers who are supposed to be there at 8 AM to show up at noon thinking this is absolutely normal. After all, that’s the way they always did it when they worked for the state, and no one cared then.
- Mass theft from state enterprises and the resulting huge and overpriced black market. One of the reasons that state institutions are often poorly run under Communism is because so many workers are stealing from the establishment to sell goods on the black market. The notion that state property belongs to everyone does not help as the worker interprets “belongs to everyone” as “belongs to me” and promptly steals the item.
- Massive shortages, unavailable goods and very high prices for “luxury items.” There are stores of all kinds all over France, small business is booming, you can buy anything you want, and prices are reasonable.
- Lousy products and service. Service is great in French restaurants, the food is great, supermarkets are well-stocked and best of all, prices are quite cheap.
- A relatively low standard of living. While it is true that Communist countries typically eliminated poverty, they were nevertheless able to only provide a low standard of living for their people. The French have an excellent, 1st World standard of living.
- Lousy public transit. Cuban buses are filled to the brim. Soviet jets crashed all the time, killing thousands. On the contrary, the French transit system of all types, including airlines, is superb.
- Lousy housing. All Communist countries have had a housing crisis. While homelessness has been eliminated, you often had more than one family sharing a residence. Soviets had small apartments with a common bathroom down the hall. Buildings are collapsing all over Old Havana, quite a few people are being injured, and there have also been some fatalities.