The Fight Against “Intellectual Unemployment”: The Mobilization of the Trade Union of Intellectual Workers Faced with the Depression of the Thirties

By Alain Chatriot

The fight against « intellectual unemployment » : the mobilisation of the trade-union of intellectual workers faced with the depression of the thirties.

The question of intellectual unemployment is raised in France in the 1930s, in particular by an atypical trade-union confederation : the CTI (confederation of intellectual workers). Created after the First World War, this union’s goal was to join together the whole gamut of intellectual professions. Its project stymied by the extent of the economic and social crisis of these years. The union did not manage to obtain unemployment funds in spite of an effective parliamentary lobbying. Failing in this approach, the union turned to mutual aid and the ETI (an association of assistance for intellectual workers), financed in an original way : by a surtax on postage stamps. The theme of intellectual unemployment is also raised by academics and students who pose the problem of the future of highly educated youth. It is during this period that the University Office of Statistics (BUS) is created.


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