Engaging Culture

The French Rise in Suicides and the Loss of Innovation

According to the Los Angeles Times, suicide is growing at a significant rate among French workers.  Many outside the country would be puzzled, since the French social welfare system is so heavily tilted toward workers.  For instance, the French employment system features a short workweek, early retirement, job-protection laws that make it almost impossible to get fired, seven weeks of holidays and vacation time a year, and even paid lunches.  An American worker – even UAW members – would be impressed.  But in spite of all the cushy benefits,
25 people have committed suicide over the last 2 years in a single company.  Other companies are reporting rising suicides, and clinics are now opening up across the country to deal with “stress related” problems in the workplace.

It’s a great example of allowing your life to be directed from the outside instead of the inside.  Governments and companies can create safety nets and provide great benefits, but they can’t instill a sense of purpose or drive to excel.  That’s why capitalism works.  For all its faults and its criticism since the Wall Street disasters, the possibility of determining your own destiny is what drives innovation, and innovation allows people to determine their own future.  Read the pages of “Fast Company” magazine and you’ll be inspired by stories of forward looking individuals and companies, using original thinking to solve problems in the social sector, business, education, and medicine.

I’m afraid in a well-intentioned effort to provide for their country’s employees, France has unwittingly taken away their incentives to excel.  Innovation involves risk, and risk always holds the possibility of failure.  But without the possibility of growth, financial success, social change, and achievement, there is little to look forward to in France, or anywhere else.


  1. Wow, I had a friend whose sister lived in France for a few years.  She told us of the workers protesting for a 35 hour week, then as soon as they got it, they protested for a 32 hour week.  Greed and hell have this in common, they are never satisfied.

  2. Great insight Phil on the problems with socialism.  I have a friend who was a manager for company in Pennsylvania.  He wanted to give large bonuses to the employees who stimulated productivity in the company.  The union steward told him that he couldn’t do that because he didn’t want to create competition amongst the workers.  That is exactly what socialism does.  It keeps people stuck in one place like crawdads in a bucket all trying to get out but the crawdads below keep pulling him back down.


    The suicides in France come from the loss of value men. It is disdain of the person from his superiors and the comfort in which we live does change nothing.

    I know that the week of 35 hours, 5 weeks holiday, age of retirement at 61, social security provides a general framework that may seem idyllic.

    But prisons are inside.

    The risk aversion is more important in France because the result of the failure.

    If we fail, we are a fail. We keep this weakness all our lives. No pardon. You’ve probably hard to understand in the United States.

    The anxieties are important even in a frame secure. The French are the biggest antidepressants consumers. The French are very defeatist about the future. Among European students, students’ French people have the less hope for the future.


    But the things change. The possibility of having additional work develops. Nobody talks about 32 hours per week because those who have work are happy during this period crisis.

    What my country needs is the good news that breaks the prisons interiors. The rest will come later.

    Those who are aware in France do not look to Christ, because for the most part, religion is synonymous with servitude.

    The weight of history is important, but I believe in miracles.



  4. Socialism is one thing. But it’s only one of a 3 – pronged monster I see. 3 forces are (mostly) loosely aligned with Satan and with each other – 1 – Communism/socialism (could be considered two, but I see them as one – godless government. 2 – the exceedingly wealthy people I affectionately refer to as the corporate power elite (I actually hold out the most hope for these as they are so few – any one or two of them receiving a “road-to-damascus” experience could shift the entire planet.) and (drumroll please) #3 and rising with a bullet – Islam. Not the religion of Islam (which is mostly poorly defined by the west), but the political engine of Islam’s Imams. And it is, in my opinion, the 3rd prong giving the French their worst headache right now. How would you handle it if, in the middle of your pride-and-joy city, Paris, there was a country-within-a-country turning over (and burning) cars and wantonly rioting – as the occasional political cartoon may warrant? Pretty depressing to me, I’ll tell ya!

    But this is even more depressing to me, an American concerned about the same #3 problem – thethirdjihad dot com

    My personal solution to all this is pointed prayer (with the authority of Colossians 3:1-4), prayer-soaked witness of His name and cause on earth (nothing less than heaven on earth – and NOT an Islamic heaven!), and a whole lotta LOVE… cos if tweren’t for the grace of God… there would be ME turning those cars over and calling for the death (or covert takeover from within) of what we know as the free world countries of planet earth!

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