BY PANOS PREVEDOUROS PHD – France is a prime example of having large and powerful unions, a 3,300-page Labor Law and employee payroll taxation at 39%. The result of all this is more automation and fewer jobs.
In the late 1990s Paris totally retrofitted metro line 14 which today carries 725,000 passengers a day. It is totally automated and the computerized trains run much closer to each other.
Self checkout has proliferated and continues to gain ground in countries where labor is expensive. Other examples from France include:
- Orders at many McDonald’s are taken via touchscreen devices.
- Transit services operate with smart cards
- Self-serve car washing Elephant Bleu has grown to 472 stations
One result is that France is a leader in the creation and adoption of automation. Another is that unemployment rarely drops below 10%. More details in The Economist’s Driverless, Workless article.