Of all the social partners, it is the employers association (MEDEF) that seems most pleased, along with President Hollande: "Un succès du dialogue social", s'est félicité M. Hollande, qui voit valider sa méthode sociale-démocrate fondée sur le compromis social." But what else would he say? Of course the details will matter as the pact is turned into concrete legislation, and praise for the agreement seems to rest on the hope that it will change the tone of discussion of these details. Le Monde concludes with a remark that has the ring of a warning to Socialist deputies:
M. Hollande s'est déjà engagé à "transcrire fidèlement les dispositions d'ordre législatif prévues dans l'accord". Jean-Marc Ayrault a tenu le même langage. Et Harlem Désir, au nom du Parti socialiste, a apporté son soutien. Mais le plus dur est à venir : obtenir des élus socialistes le même respect de la démocratie sociale.Hollande had committed himself, hence it is up to the part to support him in the name of "social democracy." This demand for a blank check is rather exorbitant, given that the situation remains more or less as it has stood since 1992. The PS has never been un parti godillot. The fundamental assumption--which may be correct, but then again, it may not--is that France's competitiveness problem can be resolved through concessions on the front of "flexibility." But what if this is wrong? What if France's decline is more a result of bad industrial policy, mistaken strategic decisions on the part of capital, and government failure to channel resources and funds into dynamic growth sectors? The fearful worker clinging to his status quo as insider and rejecting all productivity-enhancing investment is a myth. Unfortunately that myth is reinforced by the comprehensible but short-sighted action of some workers when plants are closed (at Gandrange or Aulnay, for example). Insiders do sometimes try too hard to save themselves at the expense of outsiders. But that is not the whole story, and greater "flexibility" is not the whole solution.