Claude Bébéar

The Courage to Reform Publication date : May 1, 2002

“We decided to bring together a number of independently minded thinkers representing different political ideas and backgrounds, but without any electoral goals, and endowed with recognised skill, civic spirit and common-sense. The result is an abundance of ideas and suggestions that ask only to be translated into action in the form of the daring and brave policies that the [French] nation requires. We need to reconstruct political thought. Antiquated ways of seeing, archaic thought patterns, and bygone paradigms anaesthetise France and paralyse the nation’s ability to act. Political action must now provide a global reply to the question: What must be done? What must be done in order to adapt to globalisation? What must be done to free businesses of the leaden boots that so often keep them stuck to the ground? What must be done to adjust taxation, and set free the energy and initiative that will energise employment? What should be done to make the division into administrative districts and the organisation of the national territory better adapted to reality? What should be done to make existing institutions more representative and more efficient, in order to improve the functioning of the administrative system while decreasing costs? What must be done to modernise the healthcare service, provide equal opportunities in education and strengthen the competitiveness of [French] higher education? What must be done to defuse the bomb of retirement pensions? What must be done to resolve the problems of integration in housing estates and in the suburbs? What must be done to enable France to play a key role in Europe, and to renew the very idea of citizenship? In order to reform, courage and skill are needed. Courage depends above all on independent thought freed from all customs and conventional patterns, ” writes Claude Bébéar.

The following authors have been brought together here under the editorship of Claude Bébéar: André Babeau, Nacima Baron, Jacques Bichot, Malek Boutih, Guy Carcassonne, Marie-Anne Frison Roche, Michel Godet, Henri Lachmann, Armand Laferrère, Daniel Laurent, Jacques Lesourne, André Lévy-Lang, Claude Le Pen, Thierry de Montbrial, Michel Pébereau, Etienne Perrot, Jean Rannou, Alain-Gérard Slama, Ezra Suleiman and Claude Vimont.