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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity As Demonstrated by the French This Week

Since the second largest demographic for healthpolicymaven readers hail from the beautiful country of France, this column acknowledges their January 8th loss, due to the terrorist acts of a few deranged Muslims. Radical Muslims persist in trying unsuccessfully to unravel democratic nations. United States citizens have marveled at the French demonstrations drawing 10,000 people against this senseless violence. The fact so many French people were willing to risk their lives for the sake of a free press underscores one of the fundamental principles of liberty, which is our right to gather and demonstrate, and the right to a free press. It is the latter of these principles which our forefathers held so dear which seems so fragile in these turbulent times. Though in the United States the loss of freedom in our press is due to corporate tyranny and public apathy as opposed to violence. Please understand the United States was appalled at the terrorism in Paris, but we are a country numbed by school shootings every year. The U.S. Justice Department indicates there are 45 violent deaths at schools in the United States each year. http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2014/2014042.pdf  Though a vigorous American population is trying to change this metric, we are making pithy progress. 

For the Americans reading this column, here is some information about our French countrymen, one of our strongest allies,  and their direct impact on the United States:
  1. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2013 Population Survey the third most common language in the United States is French, after English and Spanish, with 1,755,433 using French as their predominant language. http://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/acs-22.pdf
  2. Washington State alone has 7,000 French households
  3. France is one of the largest investors in U.S. businesses and has been since the 1980's. http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc1/ForeignInvestmentintheUnitedStates.html
  4. There are nearly 5,000 French-owned companies doing business in the United States and they employ over 650,000 people.http://www.ambafrance-us.org/spip.php?article2538
  5. France is the world's 5th largest economy with a gross national product of 2.8 trillion. http://www.export.gov/france/doingbusinessinfrance/index.asp
  6. According to the U.S. State Department there were 1.5 million French visitors in 2013. http://travel.trade.gov/view/f-2000-99-001/forecast/Forecast-COUNTRIES.pdf
  7. France is one of the oldest democracies in the world, overthrowing the king in 1789 and Bastille Day is celebrated on July 14th each year.
  8. The colors of the French flag are the same as ours and the Statue of Liberty was a gift from France.
  9. The French health system is widely considered to be one of the best health care systems in the world, providing care for all, and with electronic medical smart cards for residents since 1997 (something the U.S. still hasn't mastered).
  10. The United States spent $8,508 per capita on health care in 2011, while France spent $4,118, and they generated better health results. http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2014/2014042.pdf 
 To all French residents, visitors, and citizens I say "Vive la France! Where would we be without French influence in the troix F's; Food, Fashion, and Film. Merci Beaucoup.

If you are interested in learning more about French culture, here are some organizations in the United States which may be of interest:

Federation of Alliances Francaise U.S.A.
http://www.afusa.org/

French Embassy in the United States
http://www.ambafrance-us.org/

 French Culture.org
http://frenchculture.org/about/cooperation-with-civil-society-organizations

French American Foundation of the United States
http://www.frenchamerican.org/

Feel free to share this liberally throughout the globe. And this is the healthpolicymaven signing off  "au revoir."

1 comment:

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