April 2nd, 2015

How To Tell The State Of The Economy In France

I wasn't surprised yesterday when economists said that the economic situation in France was slightly better but still awful. In fact, I've learned that you don't need economists to know the state of the French economy. You just have to walk out and look at two factors.

1. How many people are in the cafes in the afternoon? When the economy is good, the cafes are filled in the morning, at lunchtime and in the late afternoon. When the economy sucks they are filled all day. Why? Because cafes are the cheapest form of entertainment for broke people. You can pay 1.5 euros for a coffee and sit there for five hours talking to your friends, reading a book or watching people walk by and not be asked to leave your seat. So, if the economy sucks the cafes are packed. If the cafes are not packed people are either at work or have money for more expensive things.

2. What is the quality of the average street performer? When the economy is good you need to have high quality ones out there. When it sucks people who have only marginal skills start comming out, because it's a step up from begging. Since the average guitarist on the street lately seems like they just learned two chords a week ago, you can bet things aren't going so well.

That's all you need - and is far more accurate than anything someone with an economics degree will come up with.