Sunday, October 1, 2023

“The education and health crisis facing countries vividly demonstrates the dangers of short-termism”

Back in force thanks to the climate crisis, the concept of planning, as used by the government, does not mean that the State will take care of everything. Its aim is to reassure the French about the country’s collective capacity to act against global warming: having been underestimated, the problem has become a tangible threat to their way of life, their activity and their survival.

The process assumes that, after having defined a direction, a roadmap, marked by stages, is presented in a sufficiently convincing manner for the interested actors to get started. The outcome is not guaranteed, but the approach is infinitely better than moving forward blindly, at the risk of failing to control the tensions and unrest caused by global warming.

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It is certain that without this exogenous constraint, the idea that public action is governed by a vision must be carried out in the long term and aim to involve the largest possible number of actors would have been completely neglected, since the pressure is exerted on en opposite direction: the parties, one of whose functions is to produce ideas and direct debate, are failing, the administration is increasingly associated with the production of suffocating norms and political power is under the dictatorship of immediate expectations of and correct injustices as soon as possible, otherwise they will be eliminated.

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However, the current crisis in national education and health, two sectors that sealed the republican pact and gave nobility to the French social model, vividly demonstrates the dangers of short-termism. Slow deterioration occurred there for years, until suddenly all the problems converged and these two buildings, once the pride of France, appeared in a state of great fragility.

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Not only is the teaching profession no longer attractive, but national education is no longer associated with the notion of social advancement. The “level” is increasingly criticized and social inequalities are fossilized. In terms of health, the shortage of doctors competes with the exhaustion of hospital staff and the closure of beds, creating medical deserts that accentuate territorial division. How, under these conditions, can we continue to proclaim the right to health for all?

Emergence of new needs

The “Report on the state of public services”, published on Thursday, September 14, by the left-wing transpartisan collective Our public services have the merit of going beyond the simplistic statement according to which the degradation of these two French jewels is solely due to a lack of public resources. It points out the crisis of adaptation of these two models that only very imperfectly manage to respond to the increase in new needs linked, on the one hand, to the massification of education and, on the other, to the aging of the population.

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