- collective national insurance funded by contributions based on employment and managed jointly by employee and employer representatives;
- generally means-tested assistance benefits, funded by taxes and duties and managed by the State and regional authorities;
- free and universal public services (education and health) funded and organised by the State.
The social model therefore relates not only to social protection but also to other institutions at the heart of economic and social regulation in France.
The foundations of this model are being challenged by the emergence of new risks (long-term unemployment, job insecurity, downgrading of jobs, single parenthood, dependency, etc.) and by increasing inequalities (in terms of income, access to the job market and public services, and even, in more general terms, of ‘opportunities’, whether relating to academic success, social mobility or career progression). The difficulties associated with funding social protection and with the welfare state crisis have also had the effect of weakening the model. Indeed, for many, it will have reached its limits and will be faced with a triple crisis of legitimacy, solvency and efficiency.
At the same time, the social model is a central component of our social cohesion and of the French identity. The key issue for its future is to reconsider the objectives and the means we intend to allocate to it, taking into account our place within both a European and a global economy. With this in mind, there would appear to be three key questions that need to be answered: to what extent is solidarity taken into account in the social model? What positions do taxes, transfers and public services occupy in terms of redistribution? And finally what proportion of resources should be transferred from curative action to preventive action when it comes to dealing with modern-day risks?
Contributors: Claire Bernard, Hélène Garner, Camille Guézennec, Guillaume Malochet, Christine Raynard, with Marc Ferracci et Alain Trannoy