In 1960, France had 200,000 cafes, said Bernard Quartier, president of the National Federation of Cafes, Brasseries and Discotheques. Now it has fewer than 41,500, with an average of two closing every day.The article goes on, listing diverse grievances from bartenders on what to blame for their current lack of profitability. Some blame it on the current financial crisis, some others blame it on Sarkozy's stricter regulation against smokers and drunk drivers. Some others blame it on the cultural change in modern generations. Listen to this bartender from Paris:
“The bar-cafes? They’re finished. Twenty years ago, people would go in the morning before work for a coffee and a cigarette. And now, it’s over. Young people don’t drink during the day, and when they drink, they drink to get wasted. Smoking is forbidden and they eat en route, with coffee in a paper cup. They smoke and drink at home.”The policy question is: should Sarkozy bailout bartenders together with or instead of car manufacturers? I think the answer depends on whether you believe or not in drinking at bars as a promoter of social capital. Apparently the answer is yes.