The Erosion of Support for Government Action in France: New Data and New Questions

Book Talk


Event Description

In today's France, environmental activists, "yellow vests", feminists, associations, and citizens are looking for solutions outside government rather than transforming government and public action itself. How did we get here, especially in a country whose central government has long played an outsized role? Has the welfare state given way to a corporate state at the service of the market? In this book, Delatte collected original data from the Treasury and Banque de France since 1949 to document the transformation of public action over 70 years. The most surprising result is a major misunderstanding: the government is more present today than it was at the end of the Second World War, during the emergence of the welfare state and the French planning system. But additional public action benefits companies, particularly those with the highest carbon emissions, rather than improving public services and the social welfare system. In short, a key driver of public spending and monetary action today, which has yet to be documented, is support for business. This may explain the loss of citizens confidence in government today. It also reveals the inability of contemporary public action to cope with climate change and transform the economic framework into a sustainable regime that respects our planet and, above all, into one better adapted to the changes already underway in our societies.