France is revolting.

And I definitely do not mean disgusting.  I mean people-in-the-streets-public-anger revolts, demonstrations, strikes.

They were featured in Time Magazine’s November 1st page 13 “Briefing” subtitled “The Moment” in a short piece by Michael Elliot. The situation: President Sarkozy wants to move the age at which one can claim state pension from 60 to 62, and the age at which one can claim the full amount from 65 to 67.

Elliot’s take?

“The lazy French don’t get it; they don’t understand that pensions and other benefits have to be paid for by taxes on productive workers; they won’t admit that better health care and longer life spans mean that everyone can work longer than they once did.”  He concluded in an implicitly positive tone that the lowering of “spending entitlements” by European countries was in line with “economic realities”, and concluded with “[America]: it’s time to take a few lesson from your students [and reduce social spending].”

Why Rejecting Economic Servitude Isn’t Laziness

Because they think their life might be better spent outside the work force when they’re older?

Don’t get me wrong; it’s clear as day to me that workers are the backbone of society, and that people who can work should.

But at age 60, most people have worked most of their lives (excepting for some or most of the wealthy and some of the very bottom economic rung).

Should they work their whole lives, and stop only because their body has worn down too much to continue?  Should ‘retirement’ be nothing more than the social ‘throw away’ point when no one can profit from you because you are too decrepit to do anything, including enjoy life? Or should you have years where you are healthy enough to work at the end, but since you’ve spent so long benefiting society, you no longer have to?

The Impoverishment of ‘Reasoning’ by ‘Economic Realities’

Let’s look at the ‘reasoning’–‘economic realities’.

Globalization does demand increasing hardship from global labor.  Every sector of the world is increasingly pitted against every other sector, and this is ‘reason’ to demand longer hours, more years, cheaper wages, lowered benefits.

The U.S. has ‘taught’ these principles for years because of the dominance in American society of the business mindset.

In reality, this trend of increasing harm to the world’s population for the sake of global profit is present ‘reality,’ but only because the global capitalist class have the power to act as tyrants over our society, over our jobs and our ability to meet our own needs, and acts as thieves through making money from our work, our debt (from our needs not being covered by our available wages), and speculation.

Tyrants and thieves.
Didn’t we used to revolt over such things?

Remember who collapsed the global economy?  Hint: not everyday people.
And who suffered? The workers and everyday families, who had little to do with it.

“What about them buying houses they couldn’t afford?”

Wages should have kept pace with inflation, and financiers gave loans to people with a low chance of paying them off on purpose. Social programs were intentionally eroded.

It was the irresponsible financial mechanisms, the shadow economy, the default credit swaps and derivatives that crashed the economy.
That’s economic reality.

You want to compensate for lowered state funding?
Fine some billionaire stock traders under the principle of “those who do the crime pay the time.”

Attempting to squeeze the French workers for two more years?
Haven’t you and the interests you serve done enough damage?

The French aren’t lazy.

The bosses who make money off their backs, and the traders who click buttons all day for the expansion of their own wallets without working are far lazier than the French workers at retirement age.
Stock traders perform many activities that can be described with ‘verbs’, but can only loosely be described as ‘work’.

And Michael Elliot?  Try understanding what you’re talking about before you publish next time, eh?

Viva la France! Viva la revolucion!