Thrifty household spending in France means the economy grows more slowly, but it also means that it slows down more moderately, too. In France, it's nearly impossible to spend money you don't have.
French credit cards are essentially debit cards, so there's no need to cut them up when you want that new Chanel bag, and banks aren't keen on providing a home loan unless you have 20 percent down, and the mortgage payments make up no more than 30 percent of your income. As a result many French homeowners buy their first property at a later age; and compared to the UK, where 70 percent own property, 57 percent of the French own a piece of earth. As you can imagine, this also means France has not seen a subprime housing meltdown.
While the French indulge in good wine, food, and sinful cigarettes, at least they don't treat themselves to hefty credit card debt and unrealistic mortgages. Do you think Americans and Brits should borrow some of the French economic je ne sais quoi, or is the extreme slowdown worth past and future growth?