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The Obligation of Leisure

April 10, 2014

The French government has long been a big fan of human rights. Of course one man’s rights are another man’s obligations.

A new labor agreement in France will oblige employees to ignore their work emails once their working day is over. Since the work week is already mandated at a maximum of 35 hours, this effectively means that French workers will have a little more time to enjoy their joie de vivre. (And a little less time to bring home some hard-earned euros.)

Having an enjoyable work-life balance may be important, but it’s not something that can be legislated at will. What of those jobs that require one to be accessible at all times. Veterinarians? Doctors? Journalists? What of those in sectors that don’t limit themselves to the 35-hour French work week, like basically all jobs related to financial markets.

Money and investment moves to where it’s treated best. As the obligations on workers and firms mount in France, we watch for the steady decline of the once great power. At least the French will have lots of free time on their hands to watch this slow moving train wreck.

(Originally posted at Mises Canada.) 

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