Does Socialism Work In France?

France is not often thought of as a model for socialism, in fact many might not even know that they’re a social democracy With right wing groups on the rise, sky-high unemployment, and the president’s approval ratings in the gutter, many are saying that France’s long-running experiment with socialism is failing

However, others say this political ideology is a key part of both French culture, and everyday life So we wanted to know, what is socialism like in France? Well, historically, the birth of socialism itself can be traced back to post-French Revolution political theorists like François- Noël Babeuf They promoted economic equality and the right for workers to share in the profits of their production But France’s current socialist policies were mostly introduced by their longest sitting president, Francois Mitterrand He was in office from 1981 to 1995

His economic program worked to nationalize key industries, increase the minimum wage by 10 percent, introduce a 39-hour-work-week, a mandatory tax on the wealthy, and greater worker’s rights Mitterrand is credited with popularizing socialism and the Socialist Party in France In 2000, the “work week” was revised again, this time down to 35-hours, after which it would be considered overtime pay Additionally, on average, French workers see one MONTH of paid vacation every year, and among OECD countries France provides the most vacation time By comparison, the United States is the only advanced country in the world without legally 'guaranteed paid vacation

Short work-weeks and long vacations, plus pro-union laws and bargaining power make up the backdrop of France’s workers’ rights Like many socialized countries, France has also implemented universal health care In 2000, the World Health Organization ranked French healthcare as the best overall in the world But it doesn’t come cheap In 2014, the country spent 11

5% of their GDP on health care costs, which is more than five times what they spend on defense Health care costs the French government roughly $4,300 per person, and covers more than three quarters of all expenditures, which is high by European standards Still, it is less than half of what the US, which doesn’t provide universal coverage, spends per person on health care But nonetheless, France has been struggling The unemployment rate is over ten percent, and youth unemployment has been higher than 25%

Additionally, France’s left-leaning immigration laws have led to the third highest proportion of immigrants in the EU, as of 2013 The recent influx of migrants into Europe has seen protests and riots by the French, and waves of anti-left and anti-immigration sentiments In fact, despite the early popularity of French socialism, the Socialist party and other leftist groups have lost significant support in polling The most recent elections saw the rapid rise of the extremist right-wing group, National Front Socialist President Francois Holland has the LOWEST approval rating in French history, roughly 14%, and has many questioning not only his policies, but the ideology behind them

If this trend of right wing growth continues, it's possible that France will change dramatically over the coming years To learn more about President Holland, and why he is such a hated and unpopular figure in France, check out this video! Thanks for watching Seeker Daily, don’t forget to like and subscribe for new videos every day

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