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Question: Opinion of the Yellow Vests protesters
FF   -20 (51.3%)
HP   -19 (48.7%)
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Author Topic: Yellow Vests resurgence in France, Macron reeling  (Read 2274 times)
136or142
Adam T
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« Reply #25 on: January 11, 2019, 07:39:52 pm »

There's also the broader issue of trying to find moralistic/pseudo-anthropological explanations for people's political behavior, something that's fallen out of flavor in serious political science since the turn of the 20th century but that's apparently still popular among lazy pundits and people who like to ape lazy pundits.

You can speak in riddles all you want, but it will only play for a select audience (mind you, I'm not actually following this story).

I thought what I meant was obvious from context. At least, the people it was targeted at seem to have gotten my point all right (see above).

It's clearly not just me though.

Top suggestions from Google for "French always"
1.on strike
2.late
3.protesting
4.surrender
5.complaining
6.lose wars

I try not to judge an entire group of people in a single collective way, but to dismiss the degree to which the French collectively protest as lazy pseudo anthropology is clearly itself lazy.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/france/articles/why-do-the-french-always-strike/

https://www.thelocal.fr/20180404/dont-mention-the-words-strike-culture-in-france

 
Denouncing the country's "gréviculture" or "strike culture", Gabriel Attal struck at the heart of France's political divide over the strikes which started on Tuesday and are set to take place on 36 days until June 28th.

So, even a French politician agrees France has a strike or grievance culture.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36387492


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Antonio V
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« Reply #26 on: January 11, 2019, 09:20:34 pm »

So your counterargument for why this isn't trite pablum by lazy pundits is to:
- Quote a bunch of articles by said lazy pundits.
- Bring up f**king google searches.

OK then, you've convinced me. This is top-notch political analysis.
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136or142
Adam T
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« Reply #27 on: January 11, 2019, 10:07:42 pm »

So your counterargument for why this isn't trite pablum by lazy pundits is to:
- Quote a bunch of articles by said lazy pundits.
- Bring up f**king google searches.

OK then, you've convinced me. This is top-notch political analysis.

One google search. Those were the results.  

Well, let's establish a baseline here.  Is everybody who you disagree with a 'lazy pundit'?

I thought TheLocal was a left wing British site, but it's French.  It seems to be centrist.

Oh well, this is the Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/feb/10/why-do-the-french-protest-so-much-google

Of course, these newspapers don't speak for all people and the writers don't even for all of their readership, but we have three British articles, one on the right (The Telegraph) one in the center (BBC) and one on the left (The Guardian) all being this same 'lazy pundit.'  This seems to suggest a whole lot of people engaging in the same lazy punditry.  

Not to mention a French paper making the same claim.  Lots of lazy people, and most of them aren't even French.   Smiley
« Last Edit: January 11, 2019, 10:45:24 pm by 136or142 »Logged
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Antonio V
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« Reply #28 on: January 12, 2019, 01:11:32 am »

...uh, yes, that's exactly how clichés work. Citing a bunch of pieces that all parrot the same talking points and add no substantive analytical content perfectly illustrates my point, so thank you very much for that.

And yeah, the vast majority of "opinion journalists" are worthless, lazy hacks whose whole job consists in peddling such clichés without an ounce of creativity or critical thinking. That's true for "left", "right" and "center" publications. I don't know what baffles you so much about this notion.
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136or142
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« Reply #29 on: January 12, 2019, 07:42:15 am »

...uh, yes, that's exactly how clichés work. Citing a bunch of pieces that all parrot the same talking points and add no substantive analytical content perfectly illustrates my point, so thank you very much for that.

And yeah, the vast majority of "opinion journalists" are worthless, lazy hacks whose whole job consists in peddling such clichés without an ounce of creativity or critical thinking. That's true for "left", "right" and "center" publications. I don't know what baffles you so much about this notion.

Okay, well how about this.  All you've said in this thread is that people who are commenting here have no idea what's actually going on in France (more or less.)  So, how would you describe the situation?

I appreciate that's broad, so you can start from the point of how are the French people entitled to their entitlements if you like.
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Lechasseur
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« Reply #30 on: January 12, 2019, 09:37:56 am »

I'm starting to get the feeling Macron won't survive as President much longer...

He will, because the French Constitution is basically designed to make the President irremovable both formally and in terms of practical incentives, but he might be on his way to turning into a lame duck faster than even Flamby did (even after his defeat at the European elections he wasn't quite toast). Of course, he still has a chance to avoid this fate, but time is running out.

Agreed, except by that point I think Hollande basically was toast. Nobody I knew thought he would run again and that Valls would be the PS nominee in 2017.

But yeah I agree, Macron will not be removed from office but he's entering lame duck territory now.
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Lechasseur
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« Reply #31 on: January 12, 2019, 09:41:32 am »

The French economy has been struggling for years, and might well now be vying with Italy to be the 'sick man of Europe.'

This is definitely true. I actually think Northern Italy is generally better off economically and socially than France overall is, the thing that pulls Italy down is Southern Italy and its severe problems.
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Antonio V
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« Reply #32 on: January 12, 2019, 01:54:36 pm »

...uh, yes, that's exactly how clichés work. Citing a bunch of pieces that all parrot the same talking points and add no substantive analytical content perfectly illustrates my point, so thank you very much for that.

And yeah, the vast majority of "opinion journalists" are worthless, lazy hacks whose whole job consists in peddling such clichés without an ounce of creativity or critical thinking. That's true for "left", "right" and "center" publications. I don't know what baffles you so much about this notion.

Okay, well how about this.  All you've said in this thread is that people who are commenting here have no idea what's actually going on in France (more or less.)  So, how would you describe the situation?

I appreciate that's broad, so you can start from the point of how are the French people entitled to their entitlements if you like.

Every group of people of any country is entitled to their entitlements. This is basic economic psychology: once you give something to someone, they start taking it for granted and taking it away feels a lot more painful than never giving it in the first place. Just look at the US where ever the most fanatical small-government conservatives still think they deserve their Medicare/Social Security/Food Stamps, just not other people.

So what you're taking issue is not "entitlement mentality" per se, rather it's the way in which people manifest it in the political sphere - ie, the fact that France has a strong tradition of disruptive collective action (violent protests, strikes, blocking roads etc.). Now, the reasons for this are complex and I'm not entirely qualified to analyze them, although if you really want an answer I'd say part of them have to do with political history (the long spell of political instability from 1789 to the 1880s making certain forms of collective action ingrained in people's habits), social history (the development of a labor movement strictly separate from and even antagonistic to political parties), political institutions (which, since 1958 at least, tends to insulate political decision-makers from milder expressions of public disapproval), and geography (the primacy of Paris in every aspect of French life making it an easy focal point - although the Yellow Vest movement has actually subverted this trend by being overwhelmingly provincial). Someone like Charles Tilly might have a lot more to say about this, and since this isn't my main area of expertise I'll stop there.

Whatever its causes, I'd argue that the French's ability to organize collectively in defense of their interests (regardless of whether these interests are legitimate or not) is a good thing, since it implies an engaged citizenry that is ready and willing to take part in the political protests - in other words, the very opposite of lazy. Countries like Italy or even America (although things might be changing for the better in the T***p presidency) where people take everything the politicians do lying down, are too atomized to organize, and just tend to thing it's not worth it, have a far more serious problem than France IMO. But maybe that's just me who thinks active citizen involvement in political choices is a good thing.
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coloniac
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« Reply #33 on: January 12, 2019, 02:43:18 pm »

...uh, yes, that's exactly how clichés work. Citing a bunch of pieces that all parrot the same talking points and add no substantive analytical content perfectly illustrates my point, so thank you very much for that.

And yeah, the vast majority of "opinion journalists" are worthless, lazy hacks whose whole job consists in peddling such clichés without an ounce of creativity or critical thinking. That's true for "left", "right" and "center" publications. I don't know what baffles you so much about this notion.

Okay, well how about this.  All you've said in this thread is that people who are commenting here have no idea what's actually going on in France (more or less.)  So, how would you describe the situation?

I appreciate that's broad, so you can start from the point of how are the French people entitled to their entitlements if you like.



Whatever its causes, I'd argue that the French's ability to organize collectively in defense of their interests (regardless of whether these interests are legitimate or not) is a good thing, since it implies an engaged citizenry that is ready and willing to take part in the political protests - in other words, the very opposite of lazy. Countries like Italy or even America (although things might be changing for the better in the T***p presidency) where people take everything the politicians do lying down, are too atomized to organize, and just tend to thing it's not worth it, have a far more serious problem than France IMO. But maybe that's just me who thinks active citizen involvement in political choices is a good thing.

Agreed, but at the same time I don't think going out on the street and barking your inferiority complex down a megaphone entitles to speak on behalf of the people. In the end the ballot box is a far more worthwhile tool. After all the other face of the "advocacy democracy" coin is the lobbyist culture that large swathes of French people rail against. 
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« Reply #34 on: January 12, 2019, 04:48:34 pm »

Something people should remember about France is that voters just naturally hate their politicians. Macron never had any hope of bucking said trend...

Img
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parochial boy
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« Reply #35 on: January 12, 2019, 05:59:36 pm »

Something people should remember about France is that voters just naturally hate their politicians. Macron never had any hope of bucking said trend...

Img


Yeah, but you're only allowed to make that joke if you're romand or walloon and have to put up with tedious french cultural hegemony all the time
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136or142
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« Reply #36 on: January 12, 2019, 10:03:01 pm »

...uh, yes, that's exactly how clichés work. Citing a bunch of pieces that all parrot the same talking points and add no substantive analytical content perfectly illustrates my point, so thank you very much for that.

And yeah, the vast majority of "opinion journalists" are worthless, lazy hacks whose whole job consists in peddling such clichés without an ounce of creativity or critical thinking. That's true for "left", "right" and "center" publications. I don't know what baffles you so much about this notion.

Okay, well how about this.  All you've said in this thread is that people who are commenting here have no idea what's actually going on in France (more or less.)  So, how would you describe the situation?

I appreciate that's broad, so you can start from the point of how are the French people entitled to their entitlements if you like.

Every group of people of any country is entitled to their entitlements. This is basic economic psychology: once you give something to someone, they start taking it for granted and taking it away feels a lot more painful than never giving it in the first place. Just look at the US where ever the most fanatical small-government conservatives still think they deserve their Medicare/Social Security/Food Stamps, just not other people.

So what you're taking issue is not "entitlement mentality" per se, rather it's the way in which people manifest it in the political sphere - ie, the fact that France has a strong tradition of disruptive collective action (violent protests, strikes, blocking roads etc.). Now, the reasons for this are complex and I'm not entirely qualified to analyze them, although if you really want an answer I'd say part of them have to do with political history (the long spell of political instability from 1789 to the 1880s making certain forms of collective action ingrained in people's habits), social history (the development of a labor movement strictly separate from and even antagonistic to political parties), political institutions (which, since 1958 at least, tends to insulate political decision-makers from milder expressions of public disapproval), and geography (the primacy of Paris in every aspect of French life making it an easy focal point - although the Yellow Vest movement has actually subverted this trend by being overwhelmingly provincial). Someone like Charles Tilly might have a lot more to say about this, and since this isn't my main area of expertise I'll stop there.

Whatever its causes, I'd argue that the French's ability to organize collectively in defense of their interests (regardless of whether these interests are legitimate or not) is a good thing, since it implies an engaged citizenry that is ready and willing to take part in the political protests - in other words, the very opposite of lazy. Countries like Italy or even America (although things might be changing for the better in the T***p presidency) where people take everything the politicians do lying down, are too atomized to organize, and just tend to thing it's not worth it, have a far more serious problem than France IMO. But maybe that's just me who thinks active citizen involvement in political choices is a good thing.

So, with the exception of you arguing that protesting is a good thing, what you wrote here is no different than what was argued in those four articles, or even what I argued.

"The French have a protest culture that has developed from 1789 on and they use protests to defend their entitlements."

As a neoclassicist on economics I believe there are balances that produce the best economic outcomes for most people:
1.A balance between government spending and private sector spending
2.A balance between security and 'creative destruction.'

In the United States, neoclassical liberals argue that the balance is too much in favor of the private sector and 'laissez faire.'

In France, the same neoclassical liberals like Emanuel Macron argue that the balance is too much in favor of security and the government.

If you have 'job guarantees,' for instance, that make it virtually impossible to lay off anybody, it also stands to reason that is going to provide a major disincentive towards hiring people in the first place.  This likely goes a fair way to explaining why France has a 10.4% unemployment rate.

So, yes, the United States also has significant problems.  However, a neoclassicist can easily argue without contradiction that the United States needs to move to the 'left' on economics to address its problems, while France needs to move to the 'right' on economics to address its problems.
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« Reply #37 on: January 13, 2019, 12:05:14 am »

No, we're clearly not arguing the same thing. You're conflating a sentiment (entitlement) with a form of its expression (protest) and I'm taking pains to disentangle them.

Now you're making some weird nonsequitur into macroeconomic generalities that has nothing to do with the point we were discussing, so I really don't know if you want this exchange to go anywhere.
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136or142
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« Reply #38 on: January 13, 2019, 12:13:49 am »

No, we're clearly not arguing the same thing. You're conflating a sentiment (entitlement) with a form of its expression (protest) and I'm taking pains to disentangle them.

Now you're making some weird nonsequitur into macroeconomic generalities that has nothing to do with the point we were discussing, so I really don't know if you want this exchange to go anywhere.

1.I think, in this case, that is a distinction without a difference.
2.You argued that the French are right to protest to keep their entitlements. I'm arguing what Macron is facing and also pointing out a likely consequence of the entitlement: 10.4% unemployment.

So, active citizen involvement is a fine thing. But, those protesting need to understand the consequences of what they are protesting for.   An active citizenry is not inherently an informed citizenry.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2019, 12:28:34 am by 136or142 »Logged
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« Reply #39 on: January 13, 2019, 01:44:42 am »

Your complete misunderstanding of this

2.You argued that the French are right to protest to keep their entitlements. I'm arguing what Macron is facing and also pointing out a likely consequence of the entitlement: 10.4% unemployment.

proves this

Quote
1.I think, in this case, that is a distinction without a difference.

wrong.

I never said anything about whether people "are right" to protest or not. That's a misunderstanding one can only make if they conflate my explanation for why people have grievances (which I deliberately kept value-neutral) and my explanation for why they express it a certain way. I could forgive you for missing that distinction initially, but continuing to do so after it was explicitly pointed out to you implies a serious lack of comprehension skills or of good faith.

(Oh, and yes, they are in fact right to protest, and neoclassical economics is worthless trash. But I don't think this point is even worth arguing with someone as thickheaded as you.)
« Last Edit: January 13, 2019, 01:48:12 am by Secret Cavern Survivor »Logged
136or142
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« Reply #40 on: January 13, 2019, 01:55:11 am »

Your complete misunderstanding of this

2.You argued that the French are right to protest to keep their entitlements. I'm arguing what Macron is facing and also pointing out a likely consequence of the entitlement: 10.4% unemployment.

proves this

Quote
1.I think, in this case, that is a distinction without a difference.

wrong.

I never said anything about whether people "are right" to protest or not. That's a misunderstanding one can only make if they conflate my explanation for why people have grievances (which I deliberately kept value-neutral) and my explanation for why they express it a certain way. I could forgive you for missing that distinction initially, but continuing to do so after it was explicitly pointed out to you implies a serious lack of comprehension skills or of good faith.

(Oh, and yes, they are in fact right to protest, and neoclassical economics is worthless trash. But I don't think this point is even worth arguing with someone as thickheaded as you.)

1.The point is that people are protesting to protect their entitlements.  Hence, it's a distinction without a difference.  I don't know anybody who protests in favor of things that they're against.

2.The evidence from Germany shows how an economy benefits when it is liberalized, but not to the point where it becomes laissez faire.

Of course you'd have to argue that neoclassical economics is 'worthless trash.'  It allows you to justify wanting to maintain a status quo that leaves millions of your fellow French unemployed.

Your attitude is no different than American Republicans: I'm alright Jack.

Interesting how you characterize me as 'thickheaded' yet I realized right away from your whiny protests against my characterization of the yellow vest protesters how you were obviously in support of them. 

You're clearly not as smart as you obviously like to think you are.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2019, 02:02:13 am by 136or142 »Logged
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« Reply #41 on: January 13, 2019, 02:01:32 am »

It's painfully obvious that the Yellow Vests' grievances are largely based on regional inequalities between the Parisians who control every aspect of French life and the comparatively immiserated inhabitants of the rest of the country, but both rational choice theorists and the woketariat see the idea of talking seriously about regional inequality as a threat so I'm not surprised it's not being discussed in this thread.
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136or142
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« Reply #42 on: January 13, 2019, 02:03:53 am »

It's painfully obvious that the Yellow Vests' grievances are largely based on regional inequalities between the Parisians who control every aspect of French life and the comparatively immiserated inhabitants of the rest of the country, but both rational choice theorists and the woketariat see the idea of talking seriously about regional inequality as a threat so I'm not surprised it's not being discussed in this thread.

If that were true, agriculture subsidies in France wouldn't have gone on for as long as they have.
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« Reply #43 on: January 13, 2019, 02:04:37 am »

It's painfully obvious that the Yellow Vests' grievances are largely based on regional inequalities between the Parisians who control every aspect of French life and the comparatively immiserated inhabitants of the rest of the country, but both rational choice theorists and the woketariat see the idea of talking seriously about regional inequality as a threat so I'm not surprised it's not being discussed in this thread.

If that were true, agriculture subsidies in France wouldn't have gone on for as long as they have.

In order for the existence of agriculture subsidies to be a sufficient counterargument, you have to also be willing to say that there's no regional inequality in the United States.
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« Reply #44 on: January 13, 2019, 02:10:58 am »

It's painfully obvious that the Yellow Vests' grievances are largely based on regional inequalities between the Parisians who control every aspect of French life and the comparatively immiserated inhabitants of the rest of the country, but both rational choice theorists and the woketariat see the idea of talking seriously about regional inequality as a threat so I'm not surprised it's not being discussed in this thread.

If that were true, agriculture subsidies in France wouldn't have gone on for as long as they have.

In order for the existence of agriculture subsidies to be a sufficient counterargument, you have to also be willing to say that there's no regional inequality in the United States.

1.The agriculture subsidies show the Parisians don't control 'every aspect of French life'

2.While regional inequalities exist in the United States, there is no dominant region in the U.S (despite the nonsense about the 'coastal elites') so, it's not necessarily the case that regional inequalities require a single dominant region.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2019, 02:23:34 am by 136or142 »Logged
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« Reply #45 on: January 13, 2019, 08:28:07 am »

Something people should remember about France is that voters just naturally hate their politicians. Macron never had any hope of bucking said trend...

Img


That is true, Giscard was probably the last president whose popularity didn't go down the drain really quickly.

And out of the current batch of politicians, I can't say I approve of any of the party leaders either.

But Macron made his problems worse by being condescending and speaking down to people, he'd probably be several points more popular if his attitude was better.
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« Reply #46 on: January 13, 2019, 08:35:22 am »

It's painfully obvious that the Yellow Vests' grievances are largely based on regional inequalities between the Parisians who control every aspect of French life and the comparatively immiserated inhabitants of the rest of the country, but both rational choice theorists and the woketariat see the idea of talking seriously about regional inequality as a threat so I'm not surprised it's not being discussed in this thread.

This
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« Reply #47 on: January 13, 2019, 08:35:46 am »

It's painfully obvious that the Yellow Vests' grievances are largely based on regional inequalities between the Parisians who control every aspect of French life and the comparatively immiserated inhabitants of the rest of the country, but both rational choice theorists and the woketariat see the idea of talking seriously about regional inequality as a threat so I'm not surprised it's not being discussed in this thread.

If that were true, agriculture subsidies in France wouldn't have gone on for as long as they have.

In order for the existence of agriculture subsidies to be a sufficient counterargument, you have to also be willing to say that there's no regional inequality in the United States.

Agreed
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« Reply #48 on: January 13, 2019, 09:02:22 am »

It's painfully obvious that the Yellow Vests' grievances are largely based on regional inequalities between the Parisians who control every aspect of French life and the comparatively immiserated inhabitants of the rest of the country, but both rational choice theorists and the woketariat see the idea of talking seriously about regional inequality as a threat so I'm not surprised it's not being discussed in this thread.

Yeah, the old divisions between town and country and between Paris and the provinces are a big part of this. But actually there's something else as well, and that's why it's even more serious than usual. Essentially, a large slice of the population lives in the strange twilight zone between the town and the country: the French jargon is periurban, and much as we should use banlieue rather than suburb to describe a certain sort of outer/middle metropolitan hellhole, which should use this term rather than the American 'exurb' or (especially not!) English expressions such as 'commuterland'. These big belts are a product of what might be thought of as longterm loopholes in French planning policy and surround all substantial French urban centres now. They are basically places where people to move to because the cost of housing is lower. The trouble is, communication and transport links back into the central city from the periurban areas is uniformly terrible. Public transport, in particular, is a joke. Which means that people in these places are extremely car dependent, even more so than people who live in the countryside proper. And are thus terribly sensitive to fuel prices: after all, the whole point of living Out There is because it is cheaper...
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« Reply #49 on: January 13, 2019, 02:24:36 pm »

It's painfully obvious that the Yellow Vests' grievances are largely based on regional inequalities between the Parisians who control every aspect of French life and the comparatively immiserated inhabitants of the rest of the country, but both rational choice theorists and the woketariat see the idea of talking seriously about regional inequality as a threat so I'm not surprised it's not being discussed in this thread.

Yeah, the old divisions between town and country and between Paris and the provinces are a big part of this. But actually there's something else as well, and that's why it's even more serious than usual. Essentially, a large slice of the population lives in the strange twilight zone between the town and the country: the French jargon is periurban, and much as we should use banlieue rather than suburb to describe a certain sort of outer/middle metropolitan hellhole, which should use this term rather than the American 'exurb' or (especially not!) English expressions such as 'commuterland'. These big belts are a product of what might be thought of as longterm loopholes in French planning policy and surround all substantial French urban centres now. They are basically places where people to move to because the cost of housing is lower. The trouble is, communication and transport links back into the central city from the periurban areas is uniformly terrible. Public transport, in particular, is a joke. Which means that people in these places are extremely car dependent, even more so than people who live in the countryside proper. And are thus terribly sensitive to fuel prices: after all, the whole point of living Out There is because it is cheaper...

This is a very important point. Thank you (and Nathan) for trying to elevate the tenor of the conversation a little.
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