Letter: Cause of French malaise lies beyond economics

Letter: Cause of French malaise lies beyond economics

It is with professional interest (being an economist myself) that I read Chris Giles’ recent article on the changing tide in the battle of economic ideas (“The left is currently winning the battle of ideas”, Opinion, April 30).

The summary of results from the recent Pew Research Centre survey, and how it paints a picture of dissatisfaction with the current economic system, is of particular interest. Clearly policymakers, left and right, need to pay close attention to this shift in opinion.

But I must quibble with the way in which he draws his conclusions. Based on the past and present dissatisfaction registered by the French survey responses, along with the earned French reputation for statism, he holds up France as an example of the equity-efficiency trade-off gone too far, resulting in population-wide dissatisfaction.

I do not argue with the existence of the trade-off between equity and efficiency, and even less will I deny a French predisposition to dissatisfaction. But with a higher 2019 gross domestic product per capita than the UK (measured at purchasing power parity) as well as fewer hours worked, the relative inefficiency of their economy is not what is making French respondents comparatively more miserable than British ones. The cause must lie elsewhere.

Francis Dennig
Singapore

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