Much attention has been given to Greece’s fiscal and political issues, but one European country may have even bigger problems: France. Writing in the American Spectator, Samuel Gregg discusses ‘Europe’s Real Time Bomb’ and how the challenges Greece faces are miniscule compared to France’s.
It’s no exaggeration to say that France is facing one of its most systematic crises since the Fourth Republic’s collapse in 1958. This time, however, there’s no man of destiny—no Charles de Gaulle—waiting in the wings to save France from itself. In fact, that’s part of France’s problem: a political class that, regardless of party, isn’t adept at imaginative thinking, especially concerning Exhibit A of France’s problems: its economy.
To appreciate the gravity of France’s economic problems, and why many Europeans are extremely nervous about what’s happening—or, rather, not happening—in what was the world’s fifth largest economy in 2013, one need only look at the recently released 2015 Index of Economic Freedom. France now ranks as the world’s 73rd freest economy out of a total of 178. Italy—the other big EU economic basket case—is the only developed country with a poorer ranking. France’s economy has in fact been teetering on the edge of being graded “mostly unfree” for over 20 years.
Read Gregg’s full analysis at the American Spectator.
In Becoming Europe, Samuel Gregg examines economic culture - the values and institutions that inform our economic priorities - to explain how European economic life has drifted in the direction of what Alexis de Tocqueville called "soft despotism", and the ways in which similar trends are manifesting themselves in the United States.