The French are known for:
their ability to seduce with mere words. / their strikes / boasting about their national pride.
The French - if they’re not on strike, they’re taking long holidays or having extra days off thanks to the 35-hour week. That’s a widespread view, as can be seen from comments on RFI’s reports of the strikes against President Nicolas Sarkozy’s pension reforms. But do the statistics bear it out?
Strikes: The world leader in days lost in strikes in 2009 was … Canada. Its score was 2.2 million, according to the UK journal The Economist. Next came South Africa with 1.5 million. France came third with 1.4 million.
Productivity: GDP per hour worked is lower than in the US and Ireland but higher than in many countries, including the UK, Germany and Japan.
Debt: France has the sixth highest public deficit in Europe in percentage terms, at 8.2 per cent. The US’s deficit reached 12.5 per cent in 2009. The debt of French households was 89.1 per cent of income in 2006, according to the OECD. In Britain and the United States that ratio stood at 168.5 percent and 139.7 percent respectively.
Finally, to get a sense of where we stand in terms of global stratification, I use the Global Rich List website with the average US income ($46,000):