Safety first in France

French college students — even at a private design school — want a secure job, writes Virginia Postrel, who quotes a New York Times report on France’s free but low-quality universities that churn out students who have no marketable skills.

Officials, entrepreneurs, professors and students alike agree that too many students are stuck in majors like sociology or psychology that make it difficult to move into a different career in a stratified society like France, given the country’s troubled economy.

The fear of joblessness has led many young people in different directions. Students who have the money are increasingly turning to foreign universities or private specialized schools in France, especially for graduate school. And more young people are seeking a security-for-life job with a government agency.

U.S. college students, who are graduating into a booming job market, want to be challenged. They’ll turn down a secure job for an opportunity with more growth potential.

Postrel’s book on dynamism, The Future and Its Enemies is available in Chinese and Korean but not in French, she observes.

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