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Letter: Don’t expect France to give up its redistributive habits


From the title of Eric Protzer and Paul Summerville’s letter (“Macron Must Harness Social Mobility to End Call of Populism,” April 27), I understood the authors to be calling for an end, or at least to the limitation, of the redistributive policies of France. I don’t think we need discuss the virtues of this proposal, because it is politically unworkable.

France has very significant public expenditure which today amounts to 60% of the gross domestic product. Much of it is devoted to redistribution policies. These policies have been successful, so much so that the Gini coefficient – which measures inequalities in income or wealth within a nation or social group – is 29 in France compared to 48 in the United States. .

Time and time again, the French electorate has expressed the wish to keep public spending at a high level. Marine Le Pen recommended increasing it in her electoral platform. When Emmanuel Macron became president in 2017, the proportion of public expenditure in GDP was 55%. He tried to reduce it, but without success, partly because of the pandemic.

So, for better or for worse, the French seem to be in a completely different universe from that advocated by supporters of Anglo-Saxon capitalism.

carlos mora
Longueuil, Quebec, Canada