Saturday, November 19, 2005

The French Riots--Posner's Comment

Judge Richard Posner disagrees that the French riots have much to do with the failure of the Continental economic system.


The least productive workers are hurt worst by such a system--hence the enormous unemployment rate among French of African (mainly Algerian) origin--20 percent or higher. But the United States, with its much more open economy, has its own history of race riots.
. . .
so far as economic differences between France and America are concerned that can be traced to our more open labor markets, probably the only significant one, so far as bearing on the likelihood of riots is concerned, is the much higher French unemployment rate, though even its significance is somewhat doubtful, in view of the lack of correlation between riot propensity and black unemployment in the U.S. history of race riots.

Several other differences between France and the United States may be as important as or more important than the difference in unemployment rates. One is that the French appear to have a much greater propensity to riot, or to engage in other riot-like direct action, than the citizens of other countries. . . .

Another relevant consideration is that the French, like most Europeans, are much less welcoming to foreigners than Americans are. . . .

it is possible that even if the French had free labor markets, French insularity would result in discrimination. After all, that was the U.S. experience with blacks: our race riots invariably occurred in northern states, in which blacks had the same legal access to jobs and education as whites but nevertheless were still being subjected to serious private discrimination in the prime riot era of the 1960s.
. . .
The French riots are a reminder that affirmative action, although offensive to meritocratic principles, may have redeeming social value in particular historical circumstances.
Here's what Becker had to say.


Anonymous WackoJacko said...

Chilton, you're a wacky one: I would've thought (stereotyping you again) that you'd have put the neo-neo-neo-liberal interepretation (minimum wages equals angry youths) first, rather than Posner's rather sensible interpretation that it's racism that's the root.

Now... will you take the leap and apply that analysis to the U.S.?

Fortunately, though, you DO link the neo-neo-neo wacko. Whew.

5:26 PM  

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