Available Now! (click cover)

America's Counter-Revolution
The Constitution Revisited

From the back cover:

This book challenges the assumption that the Constitution was a landmark in the struggle for liberty. Instead, Sheldon Richman argues, it was the product of a counter-revolution, a setback for the radicalism represented by America’s break with the British empire. Drawing on careful, credible historical scholarship and contemporary political analysis, Richman suggests that this counter-revolution was the work of conservatives who sought a nation of “power, consequence, and grandeur.” America’s Counter-Revolution makes a persuasive case that the Constitution was a victory not for liberty but for the agendas and interests of a militaristic, aristocratic, privilege-seeking ruling class.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Just the Facts

Thanks to an anonymous commenter to my previous post on the French situation, we can see some of the details of the labor controversy, which the American news media have been covering like a bunch of ignoramuses.

This is from the BBC:
Q. What does the controversial law say?

The law creating the First Employment Contract (Contrat Premiere Embauche or CPE) was passed by parliament as part of a broader bill on equal opportunities which will come into effect in April.

The CPE is a new work contract for under-26s with a two-year trial period. In that period, employers can terminate the contract without having to offer an explanation or give prior warning. For other employees, the trial period is usually 1-3 months.

After the two-year trial period, the contract reverts to a standard full-time contract. (Emphasis added.)
Thus the controversy is about a government-written labor contract that is to be imposed on all employers and under-26 workers. The government is not repealing a restriction; it is merely tweaking the restrictions it imposes on all. Freedom of contract be damned! The new uniform contract may have some benefits for young people who cannot find jobs and for upstart firms that had a tougher time than large incumbent firms coping with the earlier, less-flexible contract. But nevertheless, this is no retrenchment of French fascism. (And that's what the French system is.) It is a continuation of corporativist social engineering. I can see nothing for a libertarian to do but to condemn the blasted system root and branch.

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