Political Economy

France in Crisis: Welfare, Inequality, and Globalization by Timothy B. Smith

By Timothy B. Smith

Timothy Smith argues that the French monetary and social version is imploding on itself regardless of sturdy intentions. undesirable regulations and vested pursuits that take advantage of the rhetoric of "solidarity" and the threat of globalization have avoided helpful alterations from being effected. Making common comparisons with the united states, U.K., Canada, Scandinavia, Germany and the Netherlands, Smith argues that modify don't need to stick to the inegalitarian U.S. or British paths in an effort to bring about a extra balanced French society.

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France in Crisis: Welfare, Inequality, and Globalization since 1980

Timothy Smith argues that the French monetary and social version is imploding on itself regardless of reliable intentions. undesirable guidelines and vested pursuits that make the most the rhetoric of "solidarity" and the threat of globalization have avoided worthwhile adjustments from being effected. Making widespread comparisons with the U.

Extra resources for France in Crisis: Welfare, Inequality, and Globalization since 1980

Example text

If this book takes French politicians to task for failing to redistribute income it is because it measures the French welfare state against the high rhetoric of its supporters. French social policy is wrapped up, with much fanfare, in the seductive language of “solidarity,” so any critique must engage with these assumptions. The stakes are high: the problems are so serious that they threaten the short-term political stability and the long-term economic future of the French nation. France has the second largest economy in the European Union and the fifth largest economy in the world.

Where does this sentiment originate? During the 1930s, unions expanded rapidly in the public sector and they bargained (and struck) for better “social” benefits. By the 1940s, the public sector had become the spiritual home of solidarity. At this time, the private sector had become so thoroughly discredited, so guilty by association with the Depression and the failure to withstand the Germans, that the public sector came to embody the very spirit of the nation. Today, this ideal has been perverted beyond recognition, since the public sector no longer stands at the avant-garde of economic progress.

Why? If government is “poor,” if it is unable to “afford” things, that is because of its inability to unlock resources from entrenched claimants and reallocate them for new needs. It is not poor; it is paralyzed. It is not malnourished; it is maladaptive. It is trapped in its own past, held there like Gulliver in Lilliput by a thousand ancient commitments and ten thousand committed clients . . Not only are programs virtually impossible to kill, but once put in place they are also hard to change.

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