Social Security and Social Services in France

By Alvin L. Schorr | Go to book overview

TRENDS

We turn now to a brief review of the major trends that are influencing the current development of social security. They involve demographic changes, evolution in the standard of living, and the influence of the Common Market.

Demographic changes. --Broadly speaking, French demographic developments that affect social security are similar to those in the United States. The large generation of young people born at the close of the war will be reaching maturity in the next few years. If they fit themselves into the smooth statistical curves that previous generations have been charting, practically none of them will remain unmarried. As the average number of children produced by marriages has been rising slowly, there will be a great many more children all at once than have been dealt with by existing programs. Greatly expanded child care and medical care facilities will have to be provided. Obviously, the cost of family allowance programs will greatly increase. The increase that must be foreseen is automatic and natural. That is, it is not within the control of legislators or administrators, except in the unlikely event that they choose to reduce benefit levels.

Political leaders sometimes take the position that increased fertility has resulted from the family allowance program. Administrators and demographers tend to be more cautious. They say, for example, that family allowances contributed to a general natalist spirit which is now a force in itself. They account in this way for the continued slow climb in fertility rates during the past decade, despite a relative decline in the significance of family allowances. (That is, wages have been rising markedly faster than family benefits, which become relatively less important in family income) (38). However, other facts cast doubt on even this gentler formulation.

One is struck by the parallel between French and American trends in fertility, despite the absence of family allowances in the United States. By contrast, Sweden has a lower birth rate now than at the time that public debate about a population crisis led to the adoption of family allowances. Further, one would expect family allowances to influence

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Social Security and Social Services in France
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Foreword iii
  • Contents v
  • Social Security and Social Services In France 1
  • The Ideology of French Social Security 2
  • Trends 8
  • Family Policy and Family Organizations 14
  • Conclusion 40
  • References 41
  • Glossary 45
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