TEXT OF INTERVIEW
JEREMY HOBSON: The French are the ‘champions of the world’ — according to a magazine headline in France this week. Unfortunately that’s because France just came in first place in a ranking of the most pessimistic countries.
Marketplace’s European correspondent Stephen Beard joins me now from London, just across the English channel from France. Good morning.
STEPHEN BEARD: Hello Jeremy.
HOBSON: Why are the French so depressed?
BEARD: La crise de foie is no doubt how the French would explain it. That uniquely French digestive complaint brought on by too much wine and rich food. No this is a survey by a French marketing group about economic outlook. And possibly the explanation for the French despondency is something to do with unemployment — 9 or 10 percent — but also deficit cutting. France probably more attached to government spending than any other major country. That’s going to be cut in the year ahead, and it seems to be making the French gloomy.
HOBSON: Well, we certainly like our budgets here in the U.S. Nice and big and spending more than we have. What about us Stephen? How are we doing over here?
BEARD: Much better than the French. In fact the U.S. is more or less in the middle as far as optimism and pessimism is concerned.
HOBSON: And Stephen, who are the optimists?
BEARD: Vietnam, which tells you something about national mood. I mean it’s as much about where you’re coming from as where you’re going to. Vietnam was the most optimistic.
HOBSON: Alright, Stephen Beard in London. Thanks so much.
BEARD: Ok Jeremy.
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