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Monday, October 25

BLOG 7: PACKS (Pacte civil de solidarité)

More and more people are becoming skeptical of the institution of marriage. The high divorce rates on the one hand, (55% in Sweden, 45% in the US, 38% in France), increasing numbers of single parenthood on the other (in 2007, in the US 40% of babies were born to single moms), financial stress that complicates the rearing of children, infidelity becoming  more common (20% of men and 15% of women under 35 reported cheating), the no-fault divorce making the process easy and cheap, all have contributed to a fear of tying the knot, here, in the UK, and in Korea.

Well, is there an alternative besides cohabitation? The answer is coming from France in a package called PACKS (Pacte civil de solidarit√©).  As you have probably guessed, it is a civil union. The law was enacted to allow gay couples have some of the benefits of a marriage but it soon attracted the heterosexual population as well. The contents of the legislation allow the two partners to become contractants and organize their common life. They do it by registering a common declaration to the court in which they state their address in France or abroad. The contractants agree to mutual help while they are jointly responsible for debts occurred because of household expenses. They are eligible for tax benefits after three years while the tenant’s lease may transfer to the other partner if one leaves or dies. Also health benefits are transferable to the partner.

How do you dissolve it? Simply by filing  a common statement, or after a three month delay at the request of one partner. No lawyers involved, no legal fees, no lengthy processes.

How popular is it? The number has grown from 6,000 in 1999, to 140,000 in 2008. It is a half solution to marriage, it offers some of the benefits and removes the costs of a long term commitment.

 What is your opinion on the new form of union? 

Monday, October 18

BLOG 6: Your future: optimism vs. pessimism

In December 2008, in the midst of the deepest recession ever, the Financial Times conducted an optimism-pessimism survey in the U.S. , Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. In the European countries the majority (over 60%) were pessimistic about their personal economic future. In the U.S., most were still optimistic. Regarding the economic prospects of their countries, 83% of the French were pessimistic, followed by 70% the British. However in the US the pessimism rate over national economics reached a 52%.

I have always wondered if the numbers were correct. Are Americans more optimistic than Europeans? Although we are in no position to take the answers of our French and American group and generalize, still it is interesting to know what you think and feel.

Are you optimistic or pessimistic about your future and why?

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Monday, October 11


Are our daily lives similar? Or do we differ dramatically? Please choose a typical day and write a detailed diary. Don't just include your appointments but all the little things that you experience, like, dislike and have to resolve as the day unfolds. From the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep.

Monday, October 4

BLOG 4: llegal Immigration: Amnesty or deportation?

Illegal immigration continues to be a controversial and divisive topic, not only in the United States, but throughout the world. The debate over how to deal with the problem has focused on either legalization or deportation. The supporters of legalization point to the fact that borders are almost impossible to patrol due to their size and the existence of alternative routes whereas the native citizens embrace illegal immigration when it suits their needs. If you haven’t employed an illegal, probably you know someone who has. Furthermore they assert that amnesty is the right path. For who among us will condone the forceful separation of parents and children? Finally they point to the fact that immigrants, when they become legal, they contribute to our taxes.

The other side insists that illegal immigrants draw on the welfare system while they have broken the law and they should be deported. Of course that may happen only after they get arrested. Which may be a challenge given that in the US we have close to 11 million illegals and in France from 200,000-400,000.

What do you think the policy should be in your country? Legalization/Amnesty or deportation?.

Please answer by Sunday October 10.