Jobs in France at any cost

The other day, there was a report on the TV news about the divisions of opinion within the socialist party here in France. For those who do not follow this topic, essentially, the current president, Fran├žois Hollande, was elected on a very left-wing program. After a short time in office, he basically complete changed this program and instead implemented a program much closer to the rival parties on the right. As a result, there is now a deep division within the socialist party between the "rebels" ("frondeurs" in French) who are opposed to the current government politics and the "reformers" who are in favor of it.

As part of this TV news report, the interviewed one of the reformers who said something like "any policy that will help keeps jobs in France is a good policy".

I can't think of a more stupid thing to say. And of course, as usual nobody reacted. If this man really means what he says, he should be excluded from the party, and from anything that has to do with national politics.

Let's start with some obvious arguments against this idea. Suppose a French military contractor gets a huge order from, say, the government of North Korea for sophisticated weapon systems, and that building and delivering this system will keep jobs in France. Should this order then be honored without any thought about the consequences to human lives? Clearly, this member of the socialist party seems to think so.

Or, suppose that, in order to try to slow global warming, it would be required to close a factory that pollutes the environment, but closing this factory would mean a few jobs were lost. Should we then keep this factory open, no matter how polluting it is, and no matter how few jobs it provides? Again, clearly, this member of the socialist party says it should be kept open.

Less obvious, perhaps, but equally important, what if the French government can implement some policy that will attract companies from other countries in the European Union so that jobs will be created in France, but lost elsewhere. Should such policies be implemented even if few jobs are created in France and many jobs are lost elsewhere?

Frankly, I think this member of the socialist party should resign as a member, or at the very least, publicly declare that he misspoke.


robert.strandh@gmail.com