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Monday, November 07, 2005


Amarillo girl

Theodore Dalyrimple has the wrong end of the stick in comparing the economies of Britain and France. France is many times larger, has a huge swathe of land devoted to agriculture and enormous agricultural subsidies it negotiated through the EU. Based upon its natural resources, geographic location, etc., France's economy should be multiples of the UK economy. Its unemployment policies and subjugation to labor unions make it a very unfriendly environment for multinational companies.

That being said, having lived in the UK for 3 years, it is true that the UK and France have used the cheap labor of immigrants and failed for a variety of reasons to integrate them into their societies. One reason which is not discussed is the role racism plays in this failure. Remember a few months ago the true disdain that the "French street" held towards the lowly "Polish plumber". Imagine the attitude toward an uneducated, minority immigrant and you may begin to add another element of narrative to the reasons behind the failure of immigrants in Europe to assimilate.


I think you're right--this is not an intifada. It's a whole slew of things that are hard for us, far from Paris, to understand and place in proportion. Burning cars to show how pissed off they are? How many U.S. college students would pay this year's tuition to spend ten days doing just that? (Hmmm, sounds like a money-maker.)

Al Queda has never tried the slow, patient work of the revolutionary that could benefit from this kind of instability. Maybe they'll catch on, but at present this is just a lot of kids with time on their hands and no adult supervision, egged on by a society that professes to welcome them but in fact hates them.


I think the riots are, in fact, the end product of a lot of the "slow, patient work of the revolutionary."

Have you wondered why the rioters are sticking almost exclusively to burning cars and buildings, instead of looting them or attacking people? Or why the buildings they burn are exclusively shops, warehouses, restaurants, and other places that primarily serve and supply the bourgeois middle class?

They are destroying as much of Paris's infrastructure as they can, without provoking a lethal response that would send the rioters into hiding. France will not dare give the impression of an inappropriate response, and by the time they are ready to use lethal force to stop the rioters, they will not be able to.

They will have to fight the rioters without the benefit of vehicles to carry soldiers and supplies, without the benefit of shops to supply equipment or food... they will have to fight on terms dictated by the rioters.

That's when the rioters will start using lethal force. Not on the police, except when absolutely necessary, but rather on any unarmed non-Muslim civillians that fall into their hands.


I certainly hope you are right that these Paris (and spreading) riots are not the beginning of a European Intifada. It may be that using the Intifada as a model is missing out on critical elements in this situation and this is something different than what is happening in Israel or other places around the globe.

But I'm not sure that matters in the long run. What matters is whether the violence that is being demonstrated today is acting as a pressure valve or as a catalyst. It could be either, I suppose. Perhaps after a few weeks of burning cars and malls the "thugs" who are involved in this will return to their hovels and brood quietly about their lack of opportunity. Perhaps the result of this will be improved interaction between Muslims and the French people and we will see a great rapproachment that will demonstrate the true greatness of France and the Eurpoean idea.

I hope so.

But for two weeks this has escalated nightly. The hovels that these "thugs" have to return to are truly squalid. The same French people who sneered at the thought of having to pay a "Polish Plumber" to work on their pipes have a long way to go to welcome a North African immigrant in to work on their draperies. Looking at Europe from afar it appears that there has been a growing problem for years, and that it has been mostly ignored by the European elite who prefer to spend their time sneering at Americans in general and the Bush administration in particular.

I hope you are right, but I fear you are wrong.

David Gillies

It's an economic truism that France has higher hourly productivity than the UK. An employer will only hire a worker with positive marginal productivity (i.e. the amount of output he creates minus the amount it costs to hire him). If your labour and industrial policies impose costs that increase the level of productivity required to make it worthwhile to hire someone, then those at the lower end of productivity (the unskilled, the less-educated and the less-intelligent) will be unemployed. So _hourly_ productivity will of course be higher than in the low social cost economy, but _total_ productivity will be lower. That's why the UK, with the same population as France, has a considerably higher GDP, and it's why the USA, with even lower social costs, does better still.

The only solution to the long-term economic hardships faced by France's urban poor is root-and-branch reform of its social model. And that, I think we can safely say, is not going to be considered--or at least not until the conflagration dwarfs the current disturbances, by which point it will be too late.


Hold your horses. Jihad is about slaughtering Jews, not Citroens. These young man need only a slim chance of succeeding in the European world. The discontent that is spilling over is simply for lack of gainful employment. Just as it is in Gaza, Fallujah, or Cairo. Sadly, the French economy can barely occupy it's own citizens. Maybe we should deport them to America. They seem to have better success in dealing with Jihadists, both at home and abroad!


Seen from France,things are not surprising at all... These young men have nothing to loose, they have no job, no hopes , and no possibility to have a better future...Another problem in these suburbs is that some people are very educated and cannot find any job, because of the high unemployment rate, because their name sounds 'foreign' and because they do not live in the 'right' place. I explain: some recruiters will not even take a look at a curriculum vitae when they see that the person lives in a 'bad' suburb... some voices in the country have even asked for 'blind' recruitment procedures, i.e. the used of anonymized CVs...This is also a great factor of anger and resentment against a country whose republican model says education is the very way for integration.
Another point that is very striking at the moment if you listen to conversations in the streets of Paris is the growing anger of the rest of the population: the 'high-productivity well-educated workers' are fed up with working very hard and paying so much taxes for all the population of the country...only to see schools and other equipment burning, that have been paid with that money . One half of the population in the country is working very hard to pay for all of the people in the country, thus increasing resentment on both sides...
I'd like to rectify what I read here and there: the problem is not an immigration problem, or a religious problem, it is a poverty problem . These are the riots of poor enemployed hopeless undereducated young men.
To finish, I will say there are a more and more immigration children having succes stories, and many are succesfully finding their place in the French Society. I am part of them. But the French media do not seem to notice this at all - total blindness - this is regrettable, because examples showing that 'it is possible and many persons are making it' can only make things better...

(please excuse my English...)

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