Tuesday, February 25, 2014

90 Percent of French Youths Believe Finance Runs the World

Le Monde:
Mais pour la moitié des 18-25 ans, c'est tout vu, les politiques sont « tous corrompus ». Ces derniers ont bien encore du pouvoir (64 % des réponses), mais l'utilisent mal, puisqu'ils laissent la finance diriger le monde (90 %).
This survey of French youths, conducted by sociologists Cécile Van de Velde and Camille Peugny, paints a very pessimistic portrait indeed. Youth unemployment is skyrocketing, young people are exceedingly pessimistic, nearly 50% of those with low-status or no diplomas are unemployed, etc. Given these overwhelmingly bad numbers, the remarkable thing is that France has not seen more unrest.


Alex Price said...

I’ve never studied social science methods, but when I read statements like the ones quoted here from Le Monde, I don’t feel inclined to read on. Is one really supposed to take these sorts of figures seriously? In what sense is it even meaningful to assert, as your title puts it, that “90% of French youths believe finance runs the world.” How many of the youths interviewed would themselves know what they meant in answering negatively or affirmatively to a query on that topic? Or supposing that they did, which of the many different interpretations one could give to the statement “finance runs the world” did they intend? And did those interpretations match what the surveyors meant? One is meant to understand, I suppose, that a large number of French young people are cynical about politics and think that money rules the world. Well, that really is shocking.

Mitch Guthman said...

@ Alex Price,

I share much of your skepticism about the validity of these kind of extrapolations in survey research (as, I think, would Karl Popper). I really wonder how you could establish their accuracy without, for example, tracking down every French youth to see if that's what 90% of them actually thought.

On the larger question, I wonder what's wrong with the other 10% of French youngsters? Are they on drugs or what?