Pension reform: “There has been a major organized downgrading in French society” Benoit Hazard

Pension reform: “There has been a major organized downgrading in French society” Benoit Hazard

On the eve of a day of major action against the pension reform, Benoit Hazard, an anthropologist engaged alongside the Yellow Vests since the beginning of the movement, is the guest of this “Essential Interview“, in which he evokes the ins and outs of this bill. “While there are more pressing social issues“the researcher begins by pointing to a timing unwelcome on the part of the government, highlighting the financial difficulties of the French in the face of the explosion in prices, both for energy and certain basic necessities. A desire for reform of the executive particularly badly perceived since the declaration of the president of the Council of orientation of the pensions according to which “Pension funds are not out of balance”, argues Mr. Hazard. Also, he underlines, the signal sent by our leaders to the population through this reform “totally useless”is that “the future closes”. More broadly, behind this manoeuvre, the anthropologist sees in it a continuation of the dismantling of public services in the continuity of “neoliberal policies” led by governments of left and right “for 30 years”. Anyway, like “the government finds itself in a minority position in relation to its population“ in view of the majority support of the French in favor of the mobilization against this reform, the latter considers that “It should question him at least on the need for a withdrawal and at most on the need for dialogue.“

According to Benoit Hazard, the ecological and energy transition “technocratically imposed” to the French is accompanied by a “regime change”. Since”a new world” without the consumer society from a process of industrialization on the basis of new energies is being established, there results a “uncertainty about the possibility of laying down social rights that are equivalent to the model that we are inventing”. “The government imposes a decline on French society”and “regime change [qui] is accompanied by a process of downgrading of French society”explains the researcher, who stings the government’s lack of anticipation: “While we know that for 20 years, we must get out of fossil fuels, no major research program has been launched”. And to drive the point home: “Energy is the heart that makes society work, [mais] the government is in an impasse, because these things were not anticipated”.

To argue this point of view, he highlights the government’s reversal of nuclear power in the context of the energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine. Initially in favor of reducing the share of nuclear power in electricity production, the executive finally took a 180 degree turn which, he denounces, reflects this lack of vision on the part of the State. The cause: the fact that this change of regime is “organized by interest groups or coalitions“ : “The State is put under the thumb of private interests and it is they who organize political destiny without thinking about the question of the long term“argues Mr. Hazard.


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