Protesting in Their Birthday Suits

In France, everybody goes on strike now and then. Only entrepreneurs seem to be an eternal exemption, although they have more reason to strike than anyone else, given the forsaken retro-socialistic environment in which they are forced to muddle on. Going Galt anyone? It would be high time, if only to send a signal, but of course entrepreneurs are bearing risks, so this would be a difficult thing for most of them to do.

Anyway, everybody else in France does go on strike now and again, and this time  nude models have decided to remain clothed – no, strike that, they didn't keep their clothes on actually. Mind that these are models for painters, art students and the like, not Playboy bunnies or employees of the Titty Twister. They have a certain advantage: by striking naked, they have managed to attract a lot of attention (including ours).

 

nudes strikeNude models go on strike in Paris.

(Photo: AP)

 

So what is it all about? As the Daily Beast reports, the models are temp workers, and although they get a minimum wage of €15/hr. (which strikes us as fairly generous actually, but then again, life in Paris isn't exactly cheap), they have a number of gripes, as their temp status means they don't enjoy many of the other protections France's convoluted code du travail bestows on employees (you can read about this bizarre and economy-destroying piece of legislation that has permanently raised France's level of institutional unemployment to truly shameful levels in a previous article: “France's Sacred Labor Code”)

They do have one complaint which we believe has great merit: the government has simply banned the tradition of the 'cornet' – a tip jar that they used to pass around after finishing a modeling session. The reason for this ban is typical statist tripe, quite disgusting actually. Supposedly, the government “cannot allow people to collect untaxed income in a public building”.

 

“Proving that there is no French profession immune from collective work stoppages, the country is now facing a potential epidemic of empty sketchbooks and blank canvasses as its nude models threaten to cover up, complaining of low wages and poor working conditions, while also fighting for the state to recognize their work as a serious career rather than a paying hobby or part-time gig.

A group called La Coordination des Modeles recently staged a protest complaining that most life-class nude models are treated as temp workers, with none of the perks afforded most French workers, like job security or vacation pay. And this isn’t the first time the nude models have organized to protest working conditions. La Coordination formed in 2008, after Paris’ city hall—home to the Ministry of Culture and many state-sponsored art classes—banned the tradition of le cornet (or “the paper cone”), a makeshift tip jar passed around the studio to supplement a model’s paltry wages. The ban sparked a naked demonstration outside Paris’ city hall, with dozens of models braving the cold to demand job contracts, higher pay, and more “respect” for their work from the state.

The striking models argued that they relied on the cornet to supplement their near minimum-wage income of €15 per hour (roughly $20), a meager sum for a job that they say requires both artistic and physical skill; holding a pose for three hours at a time for nine-hour days is, they argue, more physically taxing than the manual labor required of other minimum wage workers. As one of the protest organizers told The Guardian, theirs is “a craft that should be respected; not just anyone can take their clothes off and hold a pose." (Roughly 100 nude models refused to attend classes that day).

[…]

But rules are rules, and the French government sees an untapped source of tax revenue. “Regarding tips, we can’t let people collect money that’s not taxed while working in a state building,” Christophe Girard, deputy Paris mayor for cultural affairs, told The Guardian.”

 

(emphasis added)

 

Capitalist Acts Between Consenting Adults

The French government is obviously not very eager to grant the models full-time employee rights (even though many of them are technically doing this job full-time and are quite correct when they state it is not as easy as it looks). This is mainly because the State itself would then have to pay for all their perks.

As long as private sector employers are forced to pay, the French government has no problem whatsoever with introducing the most absurd labor market distortions. The results speak for themselves: France nowadays has a moribund economy, marked by strong increases in unit labor costs and enormous rates of unemployment.

Regarding the tip jar issue, we would wager that the models used to make far more from these tips than from the perks they would get if they were reclassified as full-time employees. Obviously, no harm would befall France's public buildings if the models were allowed to collect tips. The real question should be: why does the State feel the need to interpose itself and prohibit people from engaging in voluntary capitalist acts between consenting adults? (note: this felicitous phrase was coined by libertarian philosopher Robert Nozick)

This mainly goes to show one thing: a State that promises to give people all sorts of handouts will definitely also greatly abridge their liberty. There is obviously little one can do about this, if one keeps demanding more goodies from the government and keeps assenting to the establishment status quo.

 

Conclusion:

The models are unlikely to succeed, given that their employer is the government. Meanwhile, the tip jar issue is a good reminder of what one must give up when living in a cradle-to-grave nanny state.

 

"I'm not accusing you of anything, Your Honor. I'm just saying the tip jar may create an impression of impropriety."There are some professions for which tip jars are inappropriate. Nude models aren't one of them.

 

funny-tip-jarsIt's for a good cause! Please note in this context: donations to acting-man.com not only help children avoid getting mullets, they will also one day help with sending a three-toed sloth into space.

(Photo via sprudge.com / Author unknown)

 

 

 

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