Adieu, Welfare State?

Often in the past, France has been a crucible of revolutionary change for all of Europe. True to that tradition, the nation in recent weeks has been at the center of what may well be the last great Continental convulsion in this century: the dismantling of the welfare state. For days, workers have poured into Paris streets to protest planned cuts in medical and pension rights. A few weeks earlier, an angry mob of shopkeepers firebombed a Bordeaux tax office to vent their rage over social levies that are driving many of them out of business.

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