Are The French Lazy - a New York Times article

Is there a subtle difference between writing/saying “The French” and “French People”… ??? or are they both just as inappropriate … :wink: :rofl:

With the utter collapse of American society underway, this is all the NYT has to write about?


Too busy telling the world how we should run it according to them.


Why not take a $1 sub, read it and find out?

‘Utter collapse’ is somewhaat hyperbolic, no?

In fact, the piece is gently hinting that the French have a point in this respect. The piece is in no way wagging an ‘Anglo-Saxon’ work ethic finger.

When I moaned to a pal that every time I want to go to a shop/dechet/w.h.y. it’s 11:55 and I’ve missed it for 2 hrs, he [Brit in UK] rather liked the idea that families have 2 hrs together at lunchtime, to have a meal and ‘be a family’.

I now take that point, seeing my neighbours assemble chez Franck & Muriel 12:00 - 14:00 Mon-Fri. If I had a family, I’d like that, too.



No exactly. This is the Opinion section, as opposed to ‘news’. Quite fun if you’re a cover to cover reader. The article doesn’t tell anyone how to run the world, in fact makes a good description of French wisdom of ‘taking time’.

Why it is being discussed by NYT is because America is now hearing about the debacle over government proposal to push back the retirement age in France, which is news.

" A few months ago, Sandrine Rousseau, a prominent member of the French Green Party, caused a stir when she called for a worker’s right to laziness. Along with practical concerns over whether they could continue jobs into their mid-60s that tax their bodies and spirits, France’s protesters also share the conviction addressed by Rousseau and Lordon, Lafargue and Montaigne. Our horizon, remarked a 20-something protester, holds nothing more than “working longer and harder.” An early retirement devoted not just to leisure but to volunteer work, she added, seemed increasingly distant."

The crux being that “lazy” is redefined. 16th Century Michel de Montaigne, 19th century Paul Lafargue and more recently Frédéric Lordon, are cited, concluding that “While la paresse is a common word for laziness in French, so too is l’oisiveté . Deriving from the Latin otium , it means focused calm or even spiritual elevation, so very different from negotium , the sort of work that gets in life’s way.

All in all, quite a good article. As the Captain says, I second.


One company I worked for in UK… allowed 1.5hrs for lunchbreak so that folk needn’t rush…
The Owner treated his employees with great respect and humanity… :+1: :+1:


Quite by change I joined one of the manifestations the other week (I was trying to get to other side of town, and the demonstrators were blocking the way but since I wasn’t in a rush I stopped to chat).

Just because so many rights have been eroded im other countries doesn’t mean we should welcome France joining the race to the bottom. There does need to be serious debate though about how some of the tensions can be managed.


There are companies in UK which have switched [some employees?] to a 4-day week with no extra hours in the 4 days to make up the ‘missing’ 8 hrs. They have found that output has not fallen.

A friend in the high-pressure world of TV studio hardware maintenance [We are sorry … normal service will be resumed .…] handed in his bleeper on the basis of guaranteeing XX hrs on duty for £ZZZ pay p.w.

Some years ago he was offered £1500 to be on standby, on site, at the London studios of Turner TV, on Christmas Day. Christmas Day in that family is A Big Deal. He turned it down. They found someone, eventually, for £2k the day.

The notion of the lazy Spaniard, particularly in Andalucia, has at its roots the belief that one works just so much as will pay for life and as much leisure as the workers deems is his right. This idea is touched on in the NYT piece.

Of course, you couldn’t run a fire service or A & E dept on that basis. But in the workforce there are people, like my mother, whose dedication and enjoyment of her job [A & E] means that the service runs appropriate to its need - in theory!

Then you get stories of people lying for 9 hrs on trolleys in corridors. :slightly_frowning_face:

A pal once moaned at me that all I’d ever done was jobs that were fun. Not far off the truth, give or take mini-cabbing and industrial delivery, but coming from him - a rock and roll muso!


My friend, front/centre, in working schmattah.

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The demographics of the baby boomers means that there are more older people and not enough working and paying tax to cover their pensions etc.
It is not a question of being lazy, it is totally head in sand and not accepting that this is now the status quo.

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I agree. The essence of the demos flies in the face of whether an economy can afford it. Socially, the idea of working more is unacceptable. Economically, the numbers say it’s got to happen.

This seems to be an equation with which the FR refuse to accept the answer.

My problem has been that I kept taking spells of ‘retirement’ during the times I should have been clocking up the stamps !

And then you find, like I did, that the pension co has promised the Moon to a section of its savers, the economy has turned south and the g’teed bonus promised those savers has turned into a several billion £ ‘black hole’ which the company cannot afford to pay.

The final outcome of court proceedings is that the company must pay what they promised to pay. This ‘bankrupted’ the company - Equitable Life - and those not in the g’teed scheme were stuffed. The doors shut on further business and the company erected ever higher penalty barriers to withdraw and take an annuity with whatever remained of ones savings. I lost 30% in order to leave.

The Cameron gov eventually set up a commission and I got back about £1.50 per £100 lost.

Luckily the UK government put an end point to that by requiring auto enrolment to private pensions since 2012 for those in employment.

Not everyone working is covered yet but a high percentage are.

So only about another 30 years to go where those that paid Nat.Ins all their working life are completely dependent on the will of government from year to year as to whether they will get what they were told they would receive in old age on exchange for what they were required to contribute.

My uncle loved Jade Warrior and the Tomcats :sunglasses::sunglasses:
I still have Waves lying around somewhere, he knew Tony Duhig though how I’m not sure, It might have been when he worked in Iran, but that was before I really knew him.

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You sussed Jade Warrior from that photo? Phew! It’s true that for some reason Tony Duhid did go to Iran. A more unlikely place for the most unlikely bloke is difficult to imagine.

I met John Field, Tony Duhig and Tom Newman in June 1972. We’ve been friends ever since [pace Tony’s early demise] John Field’s daughter is my god daughter.

David Duhig, far left, is also now dead.

I was present at all the recording sessions of the Island 4 - Floating World, Waves, Kites and Way Of The Sun. They are about to be re-released in newly fettled form - in March, I think.

John and Tom Newman [Oldfield’s engineer/producer] were given freelance producers’ contracts. We formed Cog Records, with me as A & R man. The first recording that was mooted was the sound of dragsters at Santa Pod! Never happened.

Of course I could go on for hours but best not. The reminiscences of a grizzled raver c 1970’s/80’s

I have two comments to make about the discussion so far. One is that, even if your physical health and mental agility hold out, there are many jobs that just can’t really be done by most people once they reach their mid-sixties.

The second is that, having had employees and managed the auto-enrolment scheme for our business, I cannot see that the companies concerned in providing the pensions are going to be any more trustworthy than many of the private pension companies were before the government forced people to use them. I lost most of my pension as a result of either the company deciding it wasn’t going to pay anything like it said it was or the employer using the pension fund to pay for redundancies. Given the massive amount of contributions I made over the years to both schemes, I now am, contrary to predictions, heavily dependent on the state pension.

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I knew a widowed lady that lost so much money with Equitable Life.

My brother too…

My dear old dad, for whom the ‘Money’ pages of The Telegraph were his Bible, Torah, Koran et al, kept on at me over the years, “Tenner a week, boy. You wouldn’t miss it”. Finally I gave in as it seemed Jefferson Airplane, Bob Dylan and P, Floyd were not going to make pensions redundant. In fact Grace Slick gets paid as writer of 'White Rabbit’ every time it’s played, 55 years on.

“You find the right deal, I’ll sign up”. Eq Life was and had been a front runner, if not league champ for years. So there I was, with an Eq Life Pension. After the debacle I referred to them as The Quittable Life. There may have been people who did … :slightly_frowning_face:

Loads of MPs were with Quitabble. But even the stink they put up didn’t result in more than a most derisory fraction of ones loss.

The thing is, these pensions ride on the economies in which they are invested. I put the pot I was left with into a Scot Wids stakeholder pension. It’s done rather well, from time to time. I believe it’s a FOOTSIE tracker. One year, to my astonishment, it went up 30% in one year!

Having taken the 25% tax free - I learned just in time that if I had waited till I was a res in SP I would not have been allowed the tax free withdrawal - it’s been struggling to breach £20k and stay there. It’s been up to £22k and down in the low £18ks but £20k seems a sticking point. £19.7k today :pray:

By some quirk when GBP is :chart_with_downwards_trend: The Wids is :chart_with_upwards_trend: and vice versa.

My understanding is that the stockmarket and currency rates are always in opposition - or at least they have been during recent years when I’ve been checking. I also understand that there is a good reason for this but was never sufficiently interested to find out :smiley: