So it is official now. Their economy may be in the dumps, but the French are the vacation champions of Europe. Taking on average 39 days of paid vacation a year, French workers enjoy 63% more holiday time than their British counterparts and almost four times as much as Americans who get only 10 days. The second place goes to Germany with 27 days of paid time a year.
It should not escape our notice that the two most vacationing countries also have the worst economies. Short work weeks, long vacations and employment guarantees are all great—sounding concepts, but there is always a stiff price to pay in the end. It comes in the form of high—unemployment, falling incomes and stagnant economies.
The idea of a vacationing society which is also a prosperous one is a non sequitur. Affluence and well—being can only be generated by hard work. Even children know this. And yet we like to dream otherwise and pandering politicians are only too happy to oblige. They even go the extra mile and make lavish promises in complete contravention of common sense and the laws of economics. Spinning visions of plenty for those lounging in hammocks is as foolish as it is dangerous. If anyone thinks it is possible to prosper in this fashion, they'd better go and talk to Europe's holiday champs.
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