Is France in decline or in advance?

For years, articles and books flourish on the decline of France. This idea is taken back by the media that speak strikes, distress (their new buzzword), violence ….

During a discussion with friends, while we were looking for a theme for debate by pure pleasure of rhetoric, the sea serpent reappears. The roles were then distributed: A British friend decided to defend the thesis that France was in decline, while I would claim that it is a good thing (in the present context).

Indeed, the world is changing and what appeared to be a smoky utopia at Porto Alegre in the 90s begins to take shape. As testimony, I invite you to watch the movie Nathanael Coste and Marc of Ménardière, “En quête de sens”. It shows the failure of the present paradigm based on liberalism and individualism on a human and ecological perspective and it proposes alternative systems, simpler and more human (natural), based on personal change of thoughts.

My claim was as follows: a new social and economic paradigm is emerging, spurred by citizens, as the political systems try by all means at their disposal (media, education, large administrations …) to maintain the status quo and defend vested interests against change, hence their disconnection with citizens. France, according to its values has all the means to take up the challenge by playing the role of incubator on the international stage.

Relying on the work of the social psychologist Shalom Schwartz (2009) who ranked countries according to seven universal values, distributed along 3 segments. The presentation below will give you more details on the values and the segments.

France is in the group of countries which values intellectual autonomy, egalitarianism and harmony, giving behaviours such as pessimism (certainly in excess of rationalism and reflection) but also creativity, curiosity, distrust of the social order, the importance of social justice, the cooperation and power to civil society, especially associations.

That gives a lot of babies (despite pessimism), plenty of start-ups, social projects (over 220 business incubators), and good results in many indicators of well-being, a burgeoning literature…. In short, all the ingredients are there to promote and participate to this new emerging society, more sustainable and inclusive (especially with nature).

The same analysis can be made for each country. As the values may be opposed, they are important to understand in order to improve communication and negotiation at an international level.

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