France's Proposed New Labor Legislation Illustrates Why Appeasement Doesn't Work
By Debi Ghate
The situation in France over its proposed new labor legislation--legislation that would grant French employers slightly more freedom to hire and fire employees--is a graphic illustration of why appeasement doesn't work. After more than a million protestors took to the streets last month, some burning cars and throwing rocks at police, President Chirac suspended implementation of the law so that he could try to meet some of the protestors' irrational demands.
What was the result? On Tuesday, a million protestors once again took to the streets. Chirac, they insist, must withdraw the law altogether. And why wouldn’t they try? They won a large concession the first time around--they were able to intimidate the government into further undermining the rights of employers. Appeasing the mobs--making concessions to them out of fear or intimidation--only lets them know that they should put more effort into their violent protests next time to get what they really want.