I must be on some French kick.
Whenst speaking about various traits and factors that contribute to economic growth and the production of wealth, inevitably the argument goes something like this about the French;
"Their men may be pansies.
75% of their students may expect/wish to have a government job.
They may not realize Poles or Czechs can do just a good of a job as they can for a mere fraction of the cost and without the whining.
And they may never put the two words "defend" and "Paris" together.
But shucks howdy their labor productivity beats most."
It's kind of the silver lining in the cloud.
"We may work only 20 hours a week.
A full 30% of our abled bodied people sit on their asses.
And what people do work it is largely in the public sector, thusly our labors are largely wasted.
But we're efficient!"
Well good for you.
Or perhaps not.
For while I had some handy dandy charts a couple years old showing various measures of labor productivity, and those figures showed the French did indeed produce more per hour (although what use is it if you're only working 3 hours a day?), when I pulled the most recent figures from the OECD and indexed them, it seems that the French are, well....um...kind of doing like they do in the Tour de France;
Not that the US itself has been doing any major ass kicking like the likes of Korea or Ireland, but since about the late 90's the French just can't seem to squeeze out that extra production per hour like most other countries.
And I can't wait to see what's happend to labor productivity in 2006 with those protests and all.