Showing Adam Smith the door.
In the United States, the term "textbook wars" conjures images of dinosaurs, evolution and climate change. Even the Founding Fathers have come under extra scrutiny. But textbook wars are not solely an American obsession. All over the world, teachers and parents are rightly concerned about the proper way to educate our children. Indeed, much is at stake.
In France, many students are essentially taught that capitalism is evil. That probably explains why, as The Economist reports, "only 4 percent of the French agreed that free-market capitalism works well, next to 27 percent of Americans and 22 percent of the Chinese."
How are French kids indoctrinated? The Economist article explains:
The analysis of social structure starts with Marx. One textbook's subheadings move depressingly from "More and more suicides at work", to "More and more insecure jobs". In another textbook, a chapter on "social justice" asks: "Do high revenues threaten fairness?", and illustrates it with a 19th-century engraving of a bourgeois couple and a photo of a modern-day French demonstrator with a placard reading "Tax the rich".
And just to hammer the point home, in their final high school exam, students are asked to answer essay questions like "What do we owe the state?"
Therefore, we shouldn't be surprised when French leaders make head-scratching remarks about economics. Francois Hollande, the French president, recently claimed that the Eurozone crisis was over. (It is not ... not even close.) And one year ago, when car maker Peugeot announced layoffs, Mr. Holland responded that it was "unacceptable" and proposed that the government should provide the company with a plan.
Perhaps this explains why the French economy is in the doldrums?