Blindness in France

How About Some “Landlord-Protection” Legislation?

by DON BOUDREAUX on MAY 26, 2016

Some French folk are now protesting the French state’s proposal to slightly ease employers’ legal ability to fire workers.  When a good economist hears of such protests, and of the allegedly pro-worker diktats that the protesters wish to keep in place, the first question that occurs to that economist is “Don’t these protesters understand that to raise employers’ costs of firing workers is to raise employers’ costs of hiring workers?”

While I’m certain that some of the protesters do understand this reality – “Hey, I’ve got my le poste; and all I care about is keeping that job no matter what happens to you or to anyone else!” – I’m certain also that many other people, sadly benighted, honestly believe that these so-called ‘worker-protection’ diktats actually help workers as a group.  These benighted people are incapable of seeing, not just beyond what Deirdre McCloskey calls “the first act” of the economic drama; they can’t or won’t see beyond the opening lines!

It’s bewildering to contemplate.  How can someone not see that the higher the cost of hiring and employing human labor relative to the benefits that that labor can generate for employers, the less interest employers have in employing human workers?  How can someone not see that government-erected barriers to the firing of workers make each worker hired a more costly investment for employers – and, thus make some workers who would have been, without these barriers, worthwhile to hire, unattractive to hire.

Such blazing blindness is truly bewildering.

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