François de Closets: “Boomers are predatory” – France

You oppose France’s occupation of the resigned France. When does the separation happen?

This rupture is recorded in numbers. The France of the Sixties is the France of exceptional growth, perfectly balancing its finances. It is a great industrial power and is practically at the head of Europe. France’s deficit accumulated in the 1970s and began to sink. We find the exact moment of this rupture at the time of the first oil shock, when everyone wonders who will pay for the increase in the price of gasoline … However, Georges Pompidou has only the word growing in his mouth. The president, who negotiated in May 68, is obsessed with the explosive character of the French. Hence his famous phrase “Do not anger them!” Hence the idea of ​​making companies pay by increasing their fees. Wages continued to rise and the French did not notice any crisis …

Can we speak of a break with the Gaullist concept of the nation?

completely ! De Gaulle put the French at the service of France. There, we put France at the service of the French. Nothing should be done to bother them! Even if the institutions persist, we have in fact turned into another republic. But we should not give the impression that the ’68 movement was the only reason for this change. The truth is that in the 1960s the French followed de Gaulle but without wanting to serve France. They found relief and finally found that the “old man” bothered them. The reason they made him leave. I have worked a lot on this contemporary history through my books and have tended to be skeptical of political parties, unions and corporations, while the main actor in all of this is the generations!

In fact, the post-war generation only knew consumption and now wanted to enjoy life. I call it Gil “Mitrach”, i.e. Mitterrand Chirac. We wear it from the left, from the right, but the goal of generations is the same.

Boomers are the children of parents who have experienced war and deprivation. How do you blame them for this thirst for pleasure and consumption?

In fact, the post-war generation only knew consumption and now wanted to enjoy life. I call it Gil “Mitrach”, i.e. Mitterrand Chirac. We wear it from the left, from the right, but the goal of generations is the same. It is the model of individual ownership and the end of the group’s supremacy over the individual. History is tragic and consists of wars, epidemics and famines. Suddenly, since 1965, there has been no such thing. We thought it would always be this way, without war, without crisis, and after all, we totally deserved it… We settled into this neglect. However, it was an arc that ended in 2020 with the return of the pandemic and then the war in Ukraine. We can’t blame baby boomers for taking advantage of this enchanted period. But the obvious danger of living in such happy times is not ready when the going gets tough.

Has comfort made an entire generation selfish?

2500 years ago, man was free but at the service of the city. The idea of ​​civil freedom imposed itself. However, today we realize that growth and technical progress have made this state of mind disappear in favor of individual liberty which means that I am no longer a citizen, but a customer and consumer of the all-risk company called France. France owes me things, but I owe nothing to her. Freedom, today, is less difficult to defend against false attacks on individual liberty – I think of wearing a mask and a vaccine! – Only against the pressure of all obey. Freedom is not to be defended, it must be built, even if it means making mistakes. What is unbearable to me is the matching of thought. When someone says to you, “At the time, everyone thought that…” you have to think for yourself. I have boundless admiration for the 1940’s resistance fighters, who were neither Jews nor communists, and who could have kept quiet…

The way we put up the problem of retirement absurd! Today, the generation that receives a situation is much better off than the one that pays. There are three times more poor among those under 30 years old than those over 70.

Do you think this congruence and selfishness can be found in the organization of retirement?

The way we put the problem of retirement absurd! We make retirement a social progress. This was true for the underground miner and still is for those with hard work. Our system means that retirement is passed on from generation to generation. However, the generation that receives today has a much better position than the one that pays. There are three times more poor among those under 30 years old than those over 70. I don’t think we can keep talking about retirees anymore. There are older adults between the ages of 60 and 80, who can still do an activity, and then seniors who have other needs. However, we have neither the staff nor the money to take care of the latter, whose number is increasing more and more.

Hence your thinking about the idea of ​​a prediction board for people in their fifties…

My suggestion on forecasting advice is concrete and inspired by what is happening in the Nordic countries. Throughout our childhood, we learn to be adults, but when do we learn to be old? When we examine the figures for healthy life expectancy, we are surprised to see that the French are ten years younger than the Swedes. First, because our medicines are more curative than preventative, and secondly, because our lifestyle is less healthy. So, you have to learn what aging is from the age of 50 and then regulate your aging, especially professionally. This is the feeling of passing in front of the prediction board, from the perspective of a service that is not military, but social. obligations based on the retirement age. The sooner you quit, the more you help others. It would actually create a civilian reserve, somewhat similar to volunteer firefighters. If you sum up, assets help seniors by contributing, and seniors help seniors. And companies must learn how to set up phased retirements as tasks evolve. The pension debate is so distorted that unions make retirement a social advance, while baby boomers have become a predatory generation that has organized everything for their own benefit at the expense of the younger ones.

* François de Closets, “Boomers Arch”, Fayard, 300 pages.

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