Conversion through inequality: the transformation of the French social model

JANY-CATRICE Florence, LALLEMENT Michel. « Conversion through inequality: the transformation of the French social model ». In Lehndorff Steffen (ed.), Divisive integration. The triumph of failed ideas in Europe. Bruxelles : European Trade Union Institute (ETUI), 2015, pp. 179-194.

After the economic crisis at the end of the 2000s cost the French economy dear. The number of people employed in the private sector – not including agriculture – fell by 187,000 between the start of 2008 and the end of 2009. Never in the past 40 years had job losses been so high and the situation has not improved in the meantime. However, this crisis is not confined to a loss of jobs or a decline and continuing weakness in economic growth. It is also rooted partly in economic and social inequality, while French policy in response to the crisis has only exacerbated this inequality. The outcome is the crumbling of the basis of the welfare state and, generally, of the French model.

In order to show this we shall first look at how this model developed before the crisis. Secondly, we shall examine how France has responded to the crisis, especially with regard to the labour market. Finally, we shall attempt, more than five years after the onset of the crisis, to identify what it has to teach us and to describe the consequences. (…)

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Michel LALLEMENT est professeur du CNAM, titulaire de la chaire d’Analyse sociologique du travail et membre du laboratoire LISE