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Macron Gives France Hope That "Tomorrow Can Be Better Than Today"



(p. A27) PARIS -- When people used to ask me what I missed about America, I would say, "The optimism." I grew up in the land of hope, then moved to one whose catchphrases are "It's not possible" and "Hell is other people." I walked around Paris feeling conspicuously chipper.

But lately I've had a kind of emotional whiplash. France is starting to seem like an upbeat, can-do country, while Americans are less sure that everything will be O.K.


. . .


The French haven't become magically cheerful, but there's a creeping sense that hope isn't idiotic, and life can actually improve. As is common with a new president, there was a jump in optimism after Emmanuel Macron was elected last year. But this time, optimism has remained strong, and in January it hit an eight-year high.

It helps that France's economy is finally growing more and that Mr. Macron has made good on promises ranging from overhauling the labor laws to shrinking class sizes at kindergartens in disadvantaged areas.


. . .


"The France of the optimists has won, and is dragging the other part of France toward its own side," said Claudia Senik, an economist who heads the Well-Being Observatory, an academic think tank here.

The French are even taking an intellectual interest in this alien idea. There are optimism clubs, conferences and school programs, scholars of positivity and books like "50+1 Good Reasons to Choose Optimism." In September Mr. Macron was a patron of the Global Positive Forum, a study group of "positive initiatives" in business and government. ("Tomorrow can be better than today," the forum's website insists.)



For the full commentary, see:

Druckerman, Pamela. "The New French Optimism." The New York Times (Friday, March 23, 2018): A27.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date March 22, 2018, and has the title "Are the French the New Optimists?")






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