French advice worth taking
FRANCE is the country that produced Descartes and his one-liner, "I think therefore I am," as well as the solemn pontifications of Jean-Paul Sartre and other celebrity philosophers.
But in the government of president Nicolas Sarkozy, thinking has lost its cachet.
In proposing a tax-cut law earlier this month, finance minister Christine Lagarde bluntly advised the French people to abandon their "old national habit".
"France is a country that thinks," she told the National Assembly. "There is hardly an ideology that we haven't turned into a theory. This is why I would like to tell you: Enough thinking, already. Roll up your sleeves."
Citing Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America, she said the French should work harder, earn more and be rewarded with lower taxes if they get rich.