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The French and the “right to be lazy”

The French and the “right to be lazy”

France has been disrupted for weeks by successive strikes and demonstrations to force Macron’s government to reconsider its electoral commitment to postponing retirement from 62 to 64.

Even if they have above-average productivity at work, the French abroad are often seen as idle, addicted to “leisure time” and “paid holidays”. In 2017, Macron had already attacked the “lazy people” who opposed his labor law reform.

Lazy and dragging people

It is on the left that, in France, idleness has a long ideological tradition. What is happening there is reminiscent of the famous pamphlet The right to be lazyby the agitator Paul Lafarge published in 1880.

Socialist party activist and close associate of anarchist Pierre Joseph Property is theft Proudhon, Lafargue himself depended for his subsistence on the financial support of Friedrich Engels. Like his stepfather, Karl Marx.

The current social crisis reveals that Lafarge still has mimics and followers in France, including Green MP Sandrine Rousseau. She is an ardent “cross” who proposes that the left connects all social struggles: equality, environmentalism, feminism and anti-racism. Quebec Solidere, here we come!

For her, work is a “right-wing value” that the left and greens must fight by fighting for the “right to be lazy” by fighting—believe it or not—against ownership, prosperity, and growth.

The dawn of the “age of the sheikhs”

The average retirement age in European countries is 65. France (62) is far behind Italy and Iceland (67). In the UK, you can retire at the age of 66.

The acceleration of population aging associated with an increase in life expectancy will inevitably oblige older people who are able to do so to remain in work. Unless we encourage the rapid entry of tens of millions of young people from Africa and the Middle East.

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Countries where people leave early will necessarily increase the retirement age to keep pace with and exceed those where people leave at 67. In Belgium, this age will drop from 65 to 67 by 2030 (66 in 2025). It will gradually increase in Denmark, reaching 69 in 2035.

The Netherlands, as socially progressive as ever, goes much further, linking retirement age to life expectancy. From 2024, the Dutch will have to be 67 years old to retire, and in 2025 the retirement age will start to increase by 8 months for each year of increase in life expectancy.

The unproductiveness of those who claim the right to idleness obliges those who have a “heart to work” to work more to make a living. The “right to idleness” is an exploitation by the idlers of hard labor for the most social advantage.