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Le modèle social français
The French social model

About that blog...

Why this name, the «French Social Model»?

For a long time, the USSR claimed to be a "worker's paradise"; its Komintern has been spreading a radical, ideological propaganda all around the world. Picturing this "worker's paradise" from the inside gave a slightly different view. As France can hardly be compared to the USSR (France is far less powerful), similarities are merely obvious:
- ideology: lots of French alleged "intellectuals" were and still are communist. The die-hard French socialist mind stands still as opposed to modern free markets, (classical) liberal Anglo-Saxon policies, no matter the price, no matter the results.
- propaganda: the socialist agenda doesn't come from Moscow anymore. International media such as the AFP (its directors are named by the French government) or the new CII (the 'French CNN'), international neocommunist "Agitprop" groups such as Attac or other gangs of anti-Globalization punks, some European leftist think tanks, all of them relay a French-brewed biased point of view. France has the largest diplomacy in the world.
- goals: basically, to be a counterweight to America, now by the means of the EU and the UN.
This «French Social Model» is actually the last thing left in order to carry on the present socialist agenda, and the propaganda is so massive that anything deserves to be done to fight the monster. This is my little Samizdat.

Why showing pictures of poor guys dying in misery?

I'm not here to show misery because of what it is: unbearable. Those images are the reality of France. I take pictures of them on my every day trips to earn my life -- I'm despoiled of my income by about 75% taxes, in order to keep the glorious social model running one more month. I don't plan my trips in order to take pictures of homeless; they merely are here, sitting next to millions of Parisians. According to me, the most dramatic thing is, admitting of course that they shouldn't be so numerous, homeless people became as familiar as pigeons are for Parisians: they can see them everywhere and they don't care -- Socialism is also a mental disease, it creates merely inhumane reactions: "Nanny State is supposed to take care of them, so why bother?".
I've been hesitating for a long time, thinking I had to respect those poor guys' privacy and dignity. But I had to do so, I had to show what France had become, in order to witness to what should never be done...

Well, there are bums all over the world, in each big city. You claim it's because of socialism, but you can find a lot in America and other capitalist countries, but it doesn't mean free market economy has failed.

The first thing is true. But you have to come to Paris in order to see by yourself the extent the problem. The number of homeless people is growing exponentially, as poverty is falling all around the world. As far as I know, most of the bums in America are mentally-ill people, but you can't force them into hospital. Others are individuals who chose to live that way. In France, it's not the same problem: the mentally-ill persons are in jail, and 25% of the homeless do have a regular job, and others chose to live that way too.
Another very important thing as far as relief is concerned: incentives. in France, the Nanny State (allegedly) takes care of the poor: civil servants are paid to distribute (my) money to what basically become their customers, the benefits recipients become the justification for their very existence. Charities are also subsidized by my money: for the charity, the incentive is to have a whole lot of bums to "take care of", in order to get subsidies the next year; for the charity recipient, there's no incentive to get out of misery, as he'll always get the taxpayers' money and subsidized charities to get food and a bed. In Anglo-Saxon countries, the main part of the poverty relief is private charity: individuals giving their money and their time to take care of another individual. The incentives for the giver is to be glad of having helped somebody out of misery, and the incentive for the relief recipient is to satisfy the guy who helped him, because if he doesn't the Samaritan will stop helping him.

In the end: What for?

Only one simple thing: I'd be glad if people coming around have such images back in their mind the next time their hear or read the words «French Social Model».

What a nice post & pictures they are just a real mirror of reality...I myself meet those poor poeple evevryday in Paris and ashamed how poeple ignore them!!!!
Good job!

Thanks for your comment Hanane.
Do you have similar scenes in other French cities?

How about rural France?
Anon, I obviously cannot tell you for each city in France... I was born and raised in rural France, ans as far as my relatives are concerned, the problem seems to exist there too.
I suppose the problem it's not so visible as it is in Paris, because homeless people usually gather in big cities, where they can easily find welfare benefits, charities, trashes to search, a place to sleep.
Moreover one can observe a "migration" phenomenon during summer holidays: in the beautiful southern city of Montpellier for example, it is usually admitted than between 20,000 and 30,000 homeless gather there to spend their holiday in the sun, especially the young ones -- with their welfare benefits of course, getting it at the local post office.
A a conclusion, I would quote a well known French charity, Emaüs, that rings the bell every year: since 2002, the number of homeless people has terribly grown. According to them, millions live in barely uninhabitable housings, hundreds of thousands don't even have somewhere to sleep.
In the USA, most of the people you find homeless and on the streets as you picture, the people would be mentally ill or have a substance abuse problem. Alcohol, drugs, both......

We used to confine such people to asylums involuntarily, for their own good. The system was abused, scandals came out, then the book/movie "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest", and a feeling that these people could be treated outside the institutions.

They were wrong, as we had no good way to enforce that they actually got the treatments. They went back do drugs, alcohol, etc.

Ther are physicians as well as lay citizens advocating more involuntary confinement of such people, as they get themselves killed out on the streets.

Has this been reliably researched in France? How many of these homeless have drug/alcohol/psychiatric problems, and how many are mentally "normal" but can't get a place to live?

Thanks for the Emaus reference. I had read the Abbe Piere Foundation had estimated about THREE MILLION French live in substandard housing?? That's about one in twenty??
In France the involuntary confinement issue has been solved, and as there has been no such thing as research, only ideological babbling: Bernard Couchner abolished it in the late 90's. Now, homeless people are not sent into psychiatric hospitals, they live in the streets, and when too violent, they are merely jailed. A big part of people jailed are actually mentally ill persons. That's another face of the French social model.

Emmaüs has its own standards to evaluate housing. For example I live in a 25 square meters garret with no insulation and no bathroom (it's outside). Such a flat would be considered a rubbish closet in many countries, but here it's a nice and cheap condo, not a "substandard housing". Indeed it's relatively not expensive: I rent it ?433/$523 per month, as the average price would be ?500/$600 per month. Substandard housing is what the whole world had seen last summer, when 3 such buildings in Paris burnt with the inhabitants inside.
Thanks. I just want to make sure I understand what you're saying.

The place where you're living, where you say it has no insulation and an outside bathroom.

Sounds like what we might call a rooming house in the USA. Are you referring to a common bathroom in the hallway for multiple rooms? As opposed to an outhouse, actually outside the building? Like you might see in a rural area of the USA.

My question, though, are you saying that the housing that you have, that Emaus would say that is "adequate" housing? That for Emaus to call housing "inadequate" it would have to be much worse that what you have?
Yes, it's a common bathroom in the hallway, on my floor at least (7th floor, no lift), I don't know elsewhere. And indeed, as far as minimum confort is concerned, my housing is considered "adequate" housing.

A lot of buildings in Paris are of the same type: old Haussmann-style building rotting everywhere. And they are rotting because of a 1948 law that allow owners not to fit modern quality and security standards in exchange of the price control -- that's yet another law imposed by communists in the De Gaulle post-WW2 government. All the buildings built before 1948 law are in this case. If you can read French it explained here.
Thanks. My French is fair, but out-of-practice. Good enough to read the law, though. Thanks.

It reminds me of New York City rent controls. The effect has been the same, and now that I think of it, it dates from about the same time as your law.

Will you be running any pictures of the riots? Or is it too dangerous to go near the area?

The thing that amazes me is how there can be all that rioting, we are hearing about a million people in the USA news feeds.......but no one is killed or badly hurt.

There's probably more deadly violence on a quiet day in New York.

Or are we just not hearing about it?
(sorry for answering so late, been quite busy)

Well, actually the MSM don't do their job (as usual, indeed): they report riotting, things are serious, but Paris is not burning yet; but what they forget to report is the tremendous acceleration as far as French decline is concerned, I really don't know if France will exist in 2 years, the situation is so dramatic that things can turn to a civil war at any time. When asked about the immediate future, the average French answers: "It's gonna explode." I heard someone I know and trust reporting that the French military intelligence are waiting for a civil war within two years.
I am French and I sympathise a lot with you, your ideas and project. The 'French Social Model' is made for - and supported by - its beneficiaries - civil servants with a high level of income and dreaming social benefits. The political elite, left and rightwing alike, comes entirely (with very few exceptions) from the top rank civil service. The other part of the nation more or less pays for it. But the official ideologues (the ones the media invite) pray this hypocrisis as a wonder which everybody admires. I know a lot about it : I am a journalist of the public service... But not a civil servant. Friendly yours. Brice
A neighbor of mine, I thought I was conservative, this guy is to the right of me.

Well, he has a son working in Paris. He goes there to visit the son. Stayed there about a month.

He comes back, I made a joking comment that he was probably unpopular with his views (which I generally share though his are to the right of me).

He said, to the contrary, when he spoke with ordinary French citizens, there was the same variety you'd find in anywhere else, of course, but he found people were far more pro-American than you think if all you go by is the (USA) media. Because of his son living there, he would visit the more working, residential areas, instead of the usual tourist spots. It sort of surprised me, pleasantly. He said it surprised him as well.

Do you think there is a split between the French "elite" and the rank-and-file?

Sort of the same split you could say about the USA?
How do these homeless access healthcare in your area?

Can they just walk into a private doctor's office? (I would suspect not) Are there free clinics for the poor or the homeless? Hospital emergency departments?
Healthcare is "free" (i.e. paid by taxes) for them, as well as for foreigners (even for Saudi oil princes!)
The point is they wouldn't: most of them are so terminally dehumanized that they're waiting for a civil servant to bring them food, money, wine and health care. In France we are raised with the idea that the state is supposed to handle everything, our living too. Even our death.
Bravo ! Congratulations for your blog, and your wiseness. You're right to show to the outside world the other of Paris... This great capital. Once...

However, you should... move ;-) 18eme is really appalling.

Anyway, I used to live in the 5eme. And even there... it was coming : the disease. This is why I've decided to... quit. To quit this country. Forever. I spend much of my time now far away, in Asia.

And I'm laughing, on the beach while drinking a cocktail, at the fall of France.

Bon courage tout de meme a vous, vous qui restez sur le front.
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A picture is worth a thousand words. No hype, no propaganda: Here are pictures of actual France, shot on-the-fly with my cell phone.

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