The French retirement system, like the American social security system, is facing long-term funding difficulties. As a result, the French are debating whether to expand the role of pre-funded retirement plans. The economic arguments presented in this debate are virtually identical to the economic arguments presented in the American debate on whether the American social security system should be partially privatized.
The French and American debates, however, diverge once history and ideology are considered. The French have a history of failed funded pensions in contrast to the United States where the failure of prominent underfunded pension led to the enactment of ERISA. And while individual choice and individual responsibility are quintessential American values, "solidarity" plays a much bigger role in the French debate.