Bleak Future For France

9 01 2008

This is how economics is taught in French schools:

“Economic growth imposes a hectic form of life, producing overwork, stress, nervous depression, cardiovascular disease and, according to some, even the development of cancer,” asserts the three-volume Histoire du XXe siècle, a set of texts memorized by countless French high school students as they prepare for entrance exams to Sciences Po and other prestigious French universities. The past 20 years have “doubled wealth, doubled unemployment, poverty, and exclusion, whose ill effects constitute the background for a profound social malaise,” the text continues. Because the 21st century begins with “an awareness of the limits to growth and the risks posed to humanity [by economic growth],” any future prosperity “depends on the regulation of capitalism on a planetary scale.” Capitalism itself is described at various points in the text as “brutal,” “savage,” “neoliberal,” and “American.” This agitprop was published in 2005, not in 1972.

Such biased and prejudiced presentation of the subject is a throwback to Soviet Union propaganda that I have grown up with. In Soviet universities traditional economics was replaced by Politeconomika or Political Economics, a subject that looked at economics through the prism of Marxist-Leninist theory and dedicated substantial amount of time to criticism of capitalism, market economies and United States of America. The similarities are startling, which leads me to conclude that France is setting its future generations for poverty and misery.

via David Thompson

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