French President Jacques Chirac has given in to the student protests in his country, protests that called for the removal of the First Employment Contract. This is a controversial new law giving employers greater freedom in whom they fire amongst under-26 employees. The law, as I am sure you’ve seen, sparked students protests for weeks.

Michael Miller in last Wednesday’s Acton News and Commentary addressed the deeper issue here: economic ignorance and moral apathy–I won’t repeat his analysis here. But here’s what I’d like to point out: what will fill in the vacuum.

The minister of employment, Jean-Louis Borloo, told Le Monde newspaper that the new plan will include increasing government subsidies to employers who hire people under 26 who face the biggest obstacles to finding jobs. He said the cost to the government in the second half of the year would be about $180 million.

From more economic freedom to subsidies. It is one thing to surrender to the protests and remove this law. It is quite something else to enact an (apparently) equal and (certainly) opposite policy. One wonders what will be the straw to break the Gallic camel’s economic back. Perhaps we should start a betting pool…


  • jean guedj

    chirac is extremely unpopular in france,(28 percent acceptance)in the last years of his misguided presidency he wants to leave a positive legacy for the french.in the same token,he destroys the modicum of strenght dominic de villepin has shown by not backing down against the students.in effect chirac is making sure de villepin is undermined and weak before his compatriots.the french students feel they are entitled to whatever benefits the economy can bear(or not).the good life continues,why sacrifice?