Paris is Burning, So What Else is New?

No one does a good riot like the French. But is this really just 1789 all over again?

In the last ten years, this medium-sized country has rioted about police harassment and brutality, class frustrations, rising unemployment, and even unpaid internships. During the riots of 1968 French students put their Columbia University counterparts to shame by tearing up cobble stones and creating makeshift barricades to use against anti-riot police forces—the violence escalating until it eventually caused the collapse of the De Gaulle government. Yes, rioting seems to be an intrinsic element of the Francophile consciousness, with modern France built on the backbone of those protesting unjust leadership during the French Revolution.

However, France today isn’t overthrowing a monarchical caste system but rather the hegemony of class and wage. Yesterday, such anger and frustration at the current economic situation in France came to a head as Francois-Henri Pinault, chairman and CEO of PPR (whose subsidiaries include Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, and Bottega Veneta among others), was held captive in his taxi for almost an hour by a group of disgruntled  employees unhappy at the recent announcement that PPR is planning major layoffs in the upcoming months.

This comes hot on the heels of an incident on Tuesday where four directors at a major French employer were blocked from leaving their offices by employees demanding improved conditions. While it would be easy to say that workers shouldn’t be targeting their rage at ‘helpless’ employers who are looking to stave off bankruptcy—and their own unemployment—the fact is that what these protestors are asking for are rather simple requests, like being able to support their families, plan for the future, and keep their jobs. Though many of the rioters tactic’s may be dubious at best, the real question isn’t “why are they rioting?” it’s why aren’t we?

The 4 types of thinking talents: Analytic, procedural, relational and innovative

Understanding thinking talents in yourself and others can build strong teams and help avoid burnout.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to collaborate within a team and identify "thinking talent" surpluses – and shortages.
  • Angie McArthur teaches intelligent collaboration for Big Think Edge.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Do you have a self-actualized personality? Maslow revisited

Rediscovering the principles of self-actualisation might be just the tonic that the modern world is crying out for.

Personal Growth

Abraham Maslow was the 20th-century American psychologist best-known for explaining motivation through his hierarchy of needs, which he represented in a pyramid. At the base, our physiological needs include food, water, warmth and rest.

Keep reading Show less

Brazilian scientists produce mini-brains with eyes

Using a new process, a mini-brain develops retinal cells.

Surprising Science
  • Mini-brains, or "neural organoids," are at the cutting edge of medical research.
  • This is the first one that's started developing eyes.
  • Stem cells are key to the growing of organoids of various body parts.
Keep reading Show less

Believe in soulmates? You're more likely to 'ghost' romantic partners.

Does believing in true love make people act like jerks?

Thought Catalog via Unsplash
Sex & Relationships
  • Ghosting, or cutting off all contact suddenly with a romantic partner, is not nice.
  • Growth-oriented people (who think relationships are made, not born) do not appreciate it.
  • Destiny-oriented people (who believe in soulmates) are more likely to be okay with ghosting.
Keep reading Show less