50 Years Ago: Birth Control and Unemployment in France
For many years the advocates of birth control as a cure-all for social and economic problems have pointed to France as a proof of their claim that unemployment and poverty can be abolished by the limitation of the number of births. In the Socialist Standard for August 1930 we examined this claim and showed that the theory is unsound. We pointed out that France had not solved the problem of working class poverty, and that unemployment had not been abolished. It was the absence of statistics, not the absence of unemployment, which made the claim appear to have foundation. Unemployment in France was for a time kept relatively low by the demand for workers to rebuild the devastated areas. We then confidently foretold a big increase in unemployment, and recent reports fully confirm our view. The following appeared in The Star (January 9th, 1932): “The French Ministry of Labour issuing its weekly unemployment return, estimates that there are 2,500,000 persons wholly or partly unemployed in the country, says the British United Press”. According to the French Federation of Trade Unions, the number is even larger, being 3,000,000. Most of them are not entitled to relief.
(From an article The Economics of Unemployment in France. published in the Socialist Standard, February 1932.)