France: the view of the poor is hardening

According to a study, support for the welfare state is wobbling considerably

In the past, times of crisis had strengthened the sympathy of the french with the poorer, but since 2008 the opposite has been observed: solidarity is diminishing alarmingly, the view of the poorer is hardening, reports the french research center for the observation of living conditions (centre de recherche pour l’etude et l’observation des conditions de vie, credoc).

The basis of the commentary by research director jorg muller, which is laced with bitter tones, are figures from a study presented yesterday.

This shows that at the beginning of 2014, 37 percent of french people were convinced that those who live in poverty do not make enough effort. In 2009, when the economic crisis was widely felt, the figure was only 25 percent. In 2008 it was 31 percent.

The other indication used for a change in attitude is the spread of the perception that the unemployed would find work if they only wanted it. At the beginning of 2014, 64 percent were convinced. In 2009, the figure was 57 percent. In 2008, however, the figure was also high, at 68 percent. This is not explained in the study overview.

A similar curve emerges when we ask how government transfer payments affect the family. In 2014, 44 percent of respondents said that social benefits reduce their sense of responsibility. In 2009, only 36 percent did so, but in 2008 the figure was similar to the 42 percent recorded in 2014. Since the survey was conducted in the first months of this year, it is quite possible that the answers were given in 2008, before the crisis, or rather, that the survey was conducted in 2008, before the crisis. At a time when the crisis was not yet noticeable and this determined the views.

The interpretations in the media (here and here), which do not discuss the curves from 2008 to 2014, but the trend from 2009 to 2014, reveal above all one basic statement: that support in france for the welfare state is clearly shaky.

The strengthening of neoliberal positions is also shown by the fact that in the last two years alone, significantly fewer respondents thought that the wealth of the richer had to be redistributed more via taxes. Whereas in 2012, 71 percent of these were catching on, at the beginning of 2014 the figure was only 55 percent. Hollande’s policy has not changed the surveyed reprasentative 2.000 french people obviously abandoned their old social-democratic convictions.