Head of the centre for information and research on contemporary Germany (CIRAC), Cergy-Pontoise University. Today, René Lasserre heads the CIRAC centre for information and research on contemporary Germany
He is a renowned specialist in all dimensions of the German social model: co-management, professional training, Hartz laws, etc.
His latest publications include:
In Germany, the sense of responsibility has increased considerably. We previously had a system of protection based on state assistance and welfare cover; the logic has changed with the Hartz laws. This represents a paradigm shift, which the Germans are coming to terms with very well,contrary to everything that has been written in the French social science sector during the past few months.
The Germans have developed a structured form of liberalism promoting measured risks.
German people have successfully embraced globalisation. A willingness to accept risk is inherent in this new prosperity.
I believe we are seeing the emergence of four models.
1 – A social system that has reached maturity, on a sustainable basis, as in Sweden,with a strong level of confidence in the model, which is protective. However, this does not prevent Swedes from valuing individual responsibility.
2 - Germany is emerging with a renewed social model, with a strong sense of pride at having switched to this model following the stagnation due to the country’s unification. The Germans seem to have come through the transformation of their model and feel confident once again.
3 –There are models that are at breaking point or in a weakening phase, particularly with the anxiety affecting Polish people, who are nevertheless seen as the liberals of Europe, at ease in a system with accepted risks. Here, we can see that this is no longer working for them”.
4 –However, in the South, we can see a model within which the conventional protective, state-led social modelis being seriously called into question. In the IPSOS research, I found for instance that French people prefer to insure themselves individually, rather than paying into a collective system which they believe no longer offers any dividends.
Young Germans have great confidence in the future, whereas previous generations faced geopolitical concerns. They have confidence in terms of employment, thanks to the efficiency of the qualification system. They are not yet having children, but they are once again planning to do so. Moreover, that is why urgent work is being carried out on family policy aspects, because they will need to be ready very quickly.
The legitimacy of the French social model is being called into question. It is seen as costly and inefficient, which is consistent with the actual situation when you look at the rates of social cover that are achieved with a very high level of costs. This crisis is all about efficiency.
The British model took the impacts on board as early as the 1980s, with Thatcherism.
Responsibility, in the protestant sense, is an essential notion in terms of Germany’s social life. Collective responsibility is founded on the individual responsibility of each person. Catholics cultivate another form of responsibility, which is based on charitable responsibility, but the economic values are given by protestants, even in Catholic regions.
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