Pour défendre les plombiers polonais

Le modèle social européen se distingue, selon ses adeptes, par l’importance qu’il accorde à la « cohésion sociale ». Bien évidemment, il est aussi difficile de s’opposer à la cohésion qu’à l’amitié. Mais la véritable question est de savoir quelles politiques sont les plus efficaces.

Les politiques existantes pour la cohésion sociale se fondent sur la croyance que, s’il n’est pas rectifié, le libre jeu des forces du marché conduira à de vastes disparités entre les revenus et intensifiera le conflit social. Il ressort pourtant que la grande partie des transferts publics de revenus concerne la classe moyenne, alors qu’une proportion minime circule des riches vers les pauvres – et certains transferts se font dans l’autre sens. Par exemple, pour de nombreux systèmes de retraite, l’argent des pauvres revient à la classe moyenne, tout simplement parce que les riches vivent généralement plus longtemps que les pauvres.

La plupart des pays européens obtiennent en contrepartie de leurs dépenses sociales bon nombre de services publics, mais les disparités sont toujours bien présentes. Par conséquent, la diminution des dépenses sociales pourrait légèrement aggraver les inégalités et le conflit social. En outre, si les Européens ciblaient mieux ces dépenses, ils réduiraient davantage les écarts par des transferts sociaux moindres.

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