French Not Big on Free Markets—Quelle Surprise!


What is news, though, is just how ridiculously out of sync with the rest of the world are folk in the land that gave us the term laissez faire. According to The International Herald Tribune:

I was surprised to see that people actually enjoyed working in a company," said [high school teacher Danielle] Scache, who is 59. "Some of them were more enthusiastic than many teachers I know….
In a 22-country survey published in January, France was the only nation disagreeing with the premise that the best system is "the free-market economy." In the poll, conducted by the University of Maryland, only 36 percent of French respondents agreed, compared with 65 percent in Germany, 66 percent in Britain, 71 percent in the United States and 74 percent in China.

The paper also cites a study conducted by the finance ministry to the effect that very few people understand basic economic concepts like "public debt" and "gross domestic product"—though I don't know whether the U.S. would fare that well either. The trouble is supposed to be that while the training econ majors get in college in France is pretty much what you'll find in the rest of the world, the high schools are still reading from a circa-1970 script.

Hat Tip: Marginal Revolution.