Europe - le piège du temps libre

Aux Etats-Unis, le “ vendredi noir ” est traditionnellement le lendemain de Thanksgiving , qui marque le début des achats pour les fêtes de fin d’années. Dès l’aube, les Américains font la queue devant les grands magasins pour profiter des promotions spéciales “ lève-tôt ”. Sur le Vieux continent en revanche, des records de circulation sont atteints le “ samedi noir ”, le dernier week-end de juillet, lorsque des hordes de Français et d’autres Européens se lancent sur les autoroutes des vacances, vers la Méditerranée.

Cette anecdote illustre bien les différents modes de vie des deux côtés de l’Atlantique. Les Américains travaillent plus et ont moins de vacances, mais ils ont davantage d’argent à dépenser. Non seulement la population active est plus importante aux Etats-Unis qu’en Europe, mais elle travaille aussi plus d’heures dans la semaine et plus de semaines dans l’année. C’est ainsi qu’en 2004, les Français ont travaillé 28 % - les Allemands et les Néerlandais 25 % - d’heures en moins que les Américains. En contrepartie, ils ont gagné moins d’argent, dans la même proportion, soit un revenu inférieur de presque 30 %.

Si l’on en croit l’économiste du MIT Olivier Blanchard, les Européens apprécient tout simplement les loisirs plus que les Américains, ils sont prêts pour cela à gagner moins, et c’est cette attitude différente qui explique les écarts de revenus entre l’Europe et les Etats-Unis.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.


Log in;
  1. Patrick Kovarik/Getty Images

    The Summit of Climate Hopes

    Presidents, prime ministers, and policymakers gather in Paris today for the One Planet Summit. But with no senior US representative attending, is the 2015 Paris climate agreement still viable?

  2. Trump greets his supporters The Washington Post/Getty Images

    Populist Plutocracy and the Future of America

    • In the first year of his presidency, Donald Trump has consistently sold out the blue-collar, socially conservative whites who brought him to power, while pursuing policies to enrich his fellow plutocrats. 

    • Sooner or later, Trump's core supporters will wake up to this fact, so it is worth asking how far he might go to keep them on his side.
  3. Agents are bidding on at the auction of Leonardo da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi' Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

    The Man Who Didn’t Save the World

    A Saudi prince has been revealed to be the buyer of Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi," for which he spent $450.3 million. Had he given the money to the poor, as the subject of the painting instructed another rich man, he could have restored eyesight to nine million people, or enabled 13 million families to grow 50% more food.

  4.  An inside view of the 'AknRobotics' Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

    Two Myths About Automation

    While many people believe that technological progress and job destruction are accelerating dramatically, there is no evidence of either trend. In reality, total factor productivity, the best summary measure of the pace of technical change, has been stagnating since 2005 in the US and across the advanced-country world.

  5. A student shows a combo pictures of three dictators, Austrian born Hitler, Castro and Stalin with Viktor Orban Attila Kisbenedek/Getty Images

    The Hungarian Government’s Failed Campaign of Lies

    The Hungarian government has released the results of its "national consultation" on what it calls the "Soros Plan" to flood the country with Muslim migrants and refugees. But no such plan exists, only a taxpayer-funded propaganda campaign to help a corrupt administration deflect attention from its failure to fulfill Hungarians’ aspirations.

  6. Project Syndicate

    DEBATE: Should the Eurozone Impose Fiscal Union?

    French President Emmanuel Macron wants European leaders to appoint a eurozone finance minister as a way to ensure the single currency's long-term viability. But would it work, and, more fundamentally, is it necessary?

  7. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now