To each according to their dream?

Upon learning about the French students' violent reactions to the proposed labor reform--whereby employers would have had to option to lay-off the newly hired any time during the first two years of employment--I thought to myself:

How can it be that smart and educated people, who take the brunt of high unemployment, are so reactionary to a proposal addressing their problem and supported by most evidence?

Then I started pondering: How similar are the French youth and their American counterparts? The former appear to embrace the statist model, despite data pointing to its lack of sustainability. In turn, the latter appear to dismiss the inequality-attribute with which the US is associated, and are firm believers in the American Dream, despite indications that fewer and fewer have been achieving it. To return to the question, an answer could be deduced from the success ratios with which the French and American youth fulfill their aspirations. Alas, such answer would say little about the costs of failure or the attributes of those aspirations--e.g. how great or noble they are.

On the one hand, making it in today's France consists of: an undistinguished job for life, with lengthy vacations and no overtime, and mostly undifferentiated access to good education, healthcare and pension. On the other, failing the American Dream will not only make one's net worth so much less than Bill Gates' or a regular partner's in your typical i-bank, but most likely affect one's education, healthcare and pension. Thus one may conclude, once again, that the French are risk-adverse while the Americans are gain-seekers.

Knowing how human loss-aversion is, not only can one see how different the Americans are, but also why the French youth feel entitled to the French Dream; In both instances, at least for as long as the laws of economics permit.

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