Paris Burning, Once Again
A lot of bloggers and pundits predict a collapse of France within the next few decades, arguing that French demographics (lots of old people and a low birth rate) are incompatible with France's socialist policies (35-hour work weeks, guaranteed government pensions and early retirement ages) and that the whole situation is made much worse by growing ethnic and religious tensions (caused by the huge unassimilated immigrant minority). I suspect schadenfreude plays a part in this prediction.
But Claire Berlinski at the Washington Post, writing about the latest riots in Paris, says that France is ruled by the mob, and mobs don't make very good governors.
The issue is fear of a real overhaul of France's economically stifling labor laws. While some of the suburban hoodlums have joined in these protests -- after all, a riot is a riot -- it is clear that unless this overhaul proceeds, the immigrants are doomed. If so, last year's violence will seem a lark compared with what is coming.