The Baguette Police in France

An intriguing piece on Bloomberg about how rule-heavy the country of France is. There are rules for determining the height of sidewalk,  to the composition of the concrete used for construction, to the length of baguettes that can be sold at boulangeries:

A French baguette has to measure between 21.6 inches and 25.6 inches, or between 1.8 and 2.1 feet. Civil servants are required to check how windows open and close in the nation’s public buildings.

The 400,000 norms that go to make France France — many of them “absurd” — cost the state more than 500 million euros ($640 million) to implement and need to be reviewed to stop them strangulating the country, a 116-page report said this week.

All of this scrutiny adds up to a big cost:

Rules including those that ensure hotel stairs are bi- colored and that four-year-old children’s public school lunch has the protein equivalent of half an egg and two chicken nuggets have cost France more than 2 billion euros between 2008 and 2011, with more than 700 million euros just for 2011, according to the report.

More here.

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(via Chris Peacock)

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