Unions and Violence

An April 10, 2006 post called "Surrender Monkeys Again" from the Let's Fly Under the Bridge blog, commented on the recent events surrounding French Union protests. According to the post, union members ultimately won their battle against the possibility of an Employment Contract, with their country's president opting not to mandate it. While unions members are obviously happy with the decision, many worry that such a decision could be detrimental to France's economic competitiveness. While I am usually in favor of unions, I have been dissapointed by some of the violent behavior that has been displayed by different union members in France. Peaceably protesting is fine, but violenting demonstrating is another, and in this case, I think that the decision to bow down to union members' wishes almost reinforces such behavior. It will be interesting to see how France's social and economic state ultimately hold up as a result.

1 comment:

Dr. Tufte said...

Excellent analysis through and through. France has in large measure created this problem by not punishing violent protest, and caving in to demands when things turn violent.

This is a well-known economic problem called time inconsistency (Kydland and Prescott, who figured it out, got a Nobel prize in 2004). It is the same issue that parents face when dealing with unruly children: it's uncomfortable to punish them, yet that prevents future bad behavior.