Acton Institute Powerblog

Gilet jaunes and the issue of intergenerational justice

France’s “yellow vest” protesters oppose the nation’s crushing carbon taxes on fossil fuels, but a deeper issue stoking discontent remains unexplored. Without addressing that issue, President Emmanuel Macron’s concessions to the gilet jaunes protesters “will certainly not resolve France’s underlying economic problems,” writes Professor Philip Booth in a new essay for Religion & Liberty Transatlantic titled, “Gilet jaune: the uprising of a generation.”

Arguably, we are beginning to see the results of the disastrous decisions to set up “pay-as-you-go” pension and healthcare systems after the Second World War. Instead of each generation building up savings to provide for the expenses of old age, it is the taxes of the working generation that pay for the pensions and healthcare of the retired generation in these unsustainable systems.

Booth writes, “The systems of welfare provision that we have set up are unsustainable, unjust, and may well lead to the breakdown of civil society.”

Read his whole essay here.

(Photo credit: Thomas Bresson. CC BY 4.0.)

Rev. Ben Johnson

Rev. Ben Johnson is Executive Editor of the Acton Institute's flagship journal Religion & Liberty and edits its transatlantic website.