What It’s Like Being An American On Unemployment In France

A comparison of the American and French social welfare systems.

Joshua Edward
8 min readJan 7, 2022


To be unemployed in America is to be marked with shame and humiliation. In France, the experience is vastly different. The French view not having a job as being similar to not having a spouse — eventually, you’ll probably find someone, you just haven’t met the right person yet. I have experienced unemployment in both countries, and I can attest that the American way of dealing with joblessness is way worse.

While it’s not common to hear it, France and America actually have a lot in common. Both countries share a long history together and run on similar forms of government that were born out of similar ideas and revolutions. France is actually responsible for the very existence of the USA since it was France who joined the colonial revolutionaries in their fight for independence. A couple of decades later, the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, handed the keys to western expansion over to the Americans in the form of the Louisiana Purchase.

In a rare twist of history, the two countries have never been at war with each other, rather they have been close allies throughout several major conflicts.

Culturally and politically speaking, the two nations have been closely connected since the conception of The United States of America, and the ongoing cumulative cogitation of shared cultural and political ideas and values has been massively mutually beneficial for both — one result has been Western Democracy as we know it.

Additionally, the close relationship between America and France has spawned such things as the modern cinema, which was first invented in France and then quickly was made into the world’s most powerful medium by America. The Statue of Liberty was a gift to the Americans by France, and the martini was invented in California and perfected in Paris, largely due to French bartenders trying to appease the thirsty refugees of American prohibition.

What’s my point? The USA and France are inexorably linked and have needed each other many times over the centuries. Today, America could benefit tremendously by learning a thing or two from its old friend about how to handle unemployment.



Joshua Edward

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