Laurence Fontaine: “We must give the poor as many choices as possible”

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MAINTENANCE. For the historian, the State does not sufficiently facilitate the access of the poorest to the market. Too many obstacles prevent them from finding accommodation or working.

Interview by François-Guillaume Lorrain

Laurence Fontaine, historian, author of Living poor. Some lessons learned from the Europe of the Enlightenment.

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Vhere is the end of a triptych. In 2008, in moral economy, Laurence Fontaine, a social and economic historian, had come to the conclusion that the poor were not excluded from the market. Therefore, in 2014, in The market, she had wanted to demonstrate, especially to the left, that we should not anathematize this market, which could help the poor, women, those without status. When she was asked to write an article on utopia in the Age of Enlightenment, re-read in the light of poverty, she plunged back into the great authors of this century. She discovers there a poverty experienced as a permanent risk, coping strategies that resemble those of today. Are poor then “those who live by their work”, which includes all keys…

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