by Hilary Barnes
Readers may recall that the last time the French had a socialist government it shortened the working week from 38 to 35 hours, with no wage cut, which, all other things being equal, put unit wage costs up by about 10%. For some inexplicable reason they thought this would increase employment.
Great was their astonishment when Germany’s Gerhard Schröder (pictured) arranged for German wage rates to be virtually frozen for several years at the beginning of this century, explaining to the the understanding German people that this would be good for employment, which it was.
French Theory proved without a doubt that this could not be right, even though in this case the late Jacques Derrida (pictured), doyen of the French Theorists, was entirely innocent.
And now this! The Troika, the ladies and gents from the EU Commission, the ECB and the IMF, have recommended (and that’s an order!) to the Greeks that they should work six days a week if they want to dig themselves out of the pit of debt into which they have fallen (helped not a little by the Troika imposed policy of “lend and destroy”, sometimes known as austerity).
Consternation in Paris, where the Derrida specialists are now urgently deconstructing the Troika statement.
They hope to be able to bring comfort to the embattled president, François Hollande, by proving that the statement is a cultural artefact and as such has no real meaning, so “Dutch” and his French supporters can forget about the inevitability of revolution should anyone ask them to work six days a week.
Besides, Derrida also proved by a careful analysis of the French words “différer” and “différer” that meaning is always deferred by the text, so even if there should be any meaning in the text he needn’t worry about it until his second term begins in 2017 (should he win a second term, that is).
But the Troika better start boning up on their Derrida if they think that their services may be required by the French in the foreseeable future.