Moreover in his critique of the French social welfare state he simultaneously

Moreover in his critique of the french social welfare

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model to realize these ideals. Moreover, in his critique of the French social welfare state, he simultaneously attacks another pillar of contemporary anti-capitalist ideology – the idea that unchecked global capitalism is the chief culprit for the problems besetting contemporary social democracy generally. At least in the case of France, Smith argues that “globalization” is an excuse rather than a cause of the problems afflicting France. In Smith’s view, by playing the “globalization” card, the French political elite has deflected attention away from their own policy mistakes and from the entrenched interests which make much-needed economic and political reform so difficult in France. In the remainder of today’s lecture I will explore in more detail how Smith establishes the general thesis of his book. I will provide you as well with some preliminary definitions of the most important concepts he uses in his analysis. France in Crisis is intended to appeal to a broad audience and have a practical effect on public policy, but it does take for granted some ideas that may not be familiar to you. Terms like social democracy or the social welfare state, neo-liberalism, globalization, Keynesianism and corporatism are not self-evident and require some clarification. In conclusion, I will turn to Smith’s account of the French corporate model of the social welfare state and the problems he see with this model. As an introduction to the themes of France in Crisis , however, I thought I would discuss briefly two events that took place last year in 4
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France. This coming Friday, October 27, is the first year anniversary of the beginning of a three-week period of violence in France that led to the burning of thousands of cars, wide-spread destruction of property, and at least one death. The occasion for this violent outburst was the accidental death by electrocution of two young men in a Parisian suburb who were apparently being chased by the police. (They made the fatal mistake of hiding from the police in a power station.) To understood these events, you need to know that in France, the impoverished, crime-ridden neighborhoods are found not in the inner cities, but in the surrounding suburbs. Moreover, these suburbs are not the pleasant suburbs of America, inhabited by desperate housewives and sullen teenagers, but desolate wastelands of run-down high-rises inhabited mainly by poor immigrants, many of whom are young, unemployed men. The violence started in the suburbs of Paris, but soon spread throughout France. The riots of last year illustrated with painful clarity the long-standing failure of the French state to integrate these immigrants into French society and to provide job training and opportunities to the angry youths who were at the forefront of the violence. Since last year, very little has changed. An article in last Sunday’s New York Times discussed the fact that in many of these suburbs the police are afraid to show their face. These areas have become in effect ungovernable. Moreover, the obstacles to social
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