Every week, Economic Alternatives selects you the best graphics. On the menu of this graphorama: zoom on the impact of the government’s fiscal and social measures in 2020 and 2021, evolution of extreme poverty, some deconstructed received ideas on digital pollution, but also the risk of flooding in Ile-de- France, and the varying perception of gender by men and women.
1/ Taxes and redistribution: the wealthiest big winners in 2020 and 2021
In 2020 and 2021, the government continued its policy of tax reform (gradual abolition of housing tax, reduction of income tax). Social benefits have for the most part been under-indexed in relation to inflation (family benefits, activity bonus, disabled adult allowance, housing aid).
But due to the health crisis, certain allowances have been increased on an exceptional basis (additional disability allowance, solidarity allowance for the elderly). In the same way, various one-off social aids have been implemented: exceptional solidarity aid (AES) and increase in the back-to-school allowance in 2020, inflation allowance of 100 euros and energy check bonus in 2021.
What was the overall effect of this somewhat special period on the income of the French, once tax levies and redistribution mechanisms are taken into account?
According to the assessment drawn by Insee in its Social profile published tuesdayall of these measures have been favorable to the entire population since they have raised the standard of living by 280 euros on average, i.e. an increase of 1.1%, at a cost of 12.7 billion euros. euros in total.
But it is the wealthiest who have benefited the most: most of this increase comes from permanent tax measures which, by definition, only concern taxable households. Exceptional aid is very targeted on low-income households, but is much smaller in scale.
In total, all of these measures would have, according to INSEE calculations, very slightly increased the poverty rate by 0.1 point.
2/ Extreme poverty is gaining ground in France
548 euros to live each month. This is the median standard of living of the poorest in France in 2021. This is indicated by the latest report on poverty in France from Secours Catholique relating to the nearly one million people welcomed by the association in 2021.
Declining since 2016, their standard of living is below the extreme poverty line of 750 euros, which corresponds to 40% of the median standard of living of the general population, itself equal to 1,876 euros. And for good reason, nearly 7 out of 10 people welcomed by the association live below this threshold, and more than 9 out of 10 people below the poverty line of 1,126 euros.
The 40% of the poorest people welcomed by Secours Catholique have seen their standard of living drop since 2011. And 20% of this public has no resources: they are mainly foreigners with precarious legal status. Some of the people helped by the association are still doing a little better, but this is mainly due to the aid distributed during the health crisis. The cessation of these support measures could therefore once again weaken this public.
3/ Ecogestures: emails an insignificant pollution
Should we limit the number of emails we send to reduce our digital footprint? By declaring that to send “a slightly funny email to our friends with an attachment” consumes “much more energy” than turning off the light, the Minister for Energy Transition, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, called for the right eco-gestures to be targeted. Does sending an e-mail consume that much energy?
Ademe, the environment and energy management agency, has just released an interactive tool to measure the greenhouse gas emissions generated by digital technology. However, sending 10 emails per week for one year with an attachment, i.e. 520 per year – which is already a fairly large volume – emits 600 g CO equivalent2 (CO2e). What is this amount of CO equivalent to?2 ? At 2,600 m traveled by car or even in the manufacture of a tenth of a t-shirt. Sending 10 emails with a 1 megabyte attachment therefore emits as much CO2 than travel 50 m by car. An almost insignificant environmental footprint.
In the digital world, what is much more polluting is the production of equipment. For example, the manufacture of a television alone emits 350 kg of CO2e, i.e. nearly 600 times more than 520 e-mails with attachments sent during the year. That of a laptop computer is 135 kg of CO2e. And more broadly, if eco-gestures can be useful, you might as well direct them towards the most effective levers, but above all the ecological transition requires much more than changes in individual behavior. It is a systemic transformation of modes of production and consumption that must be tackled.
4/ This France which builds in flood zones
If it floated very hard, Paris could well sink. The Court of Auditors published a report last week on “insufficient prevention of the risk of flooding in Ile-de-France”. A hushed word to describe the degree of carelessness of a particularly exposed region, due to the density of its population combined with the morphology of its watershed and the vagaries of the weather.
A flood in the Ile-de-France that would reach the level of that of 1910 would result in direct damage estimated at around 30 billion euros. To the inadequacy of protective measures in the face of a major hazard is added an increase in exposure to risk.
Despite the adoption of flood risk prevention plans (PPRI), the municipalities concerned continue to build in flood-prone areas. Between a badly perceived risk and land pressure, the choice is quickly made. The PPRIs, signed by the prefects, are nevertheless documents that can be opposed to the town planning plans of the communities.
Why is this powerful tool (and envied in other countries) so ineffective? The Court offers several explanations. First, not respecting a PPRI is sanctioned very little. Next, the PPRIs are incomplete, obsolete, and even inconsistent from one community to another. Finally, their revision is not considered a priority by the State. But what are the police doing ?
Antoine de Ravignan
5/ You can feel more or less feminine or masculine
The separation of individuals into two groups, men and women, has limits, because one can feel more or less masculine or more or less feminine. This is revealed by a INED survey dealing with “gender variations”. Thus, only a little less than a third of men and a little less than a quarter of women say they are respectively very masculine or very feminine. Two-thirds of men say they are more masculine and two-thirds of women more feminine. But very few men and women say they are not very masculine or not very feminine, and very few claim a gender opposite to their sex.
Gender positioning is influenced in particular by level of diploma and socio-professional category. Thus, the more educated men are, the less they tend to say they are very masculine. It is linked, according to INED, “to the affirmation of a distinguished masculinity”. As for female graduates, they say they are less often very feminine. And certain professions lead them to call themselves “not very feminine”, such as farmers or workers.
Sexual minorities have also been studied. It thus appears that “not very masculine” remains a repellent category for men, including gay men, while “not very feminine” is a category invested by certain women, in particular lesbians. In short, overall, there is a devaluation of the feminine.