Economic Policy in France: from Modernism to Neo-Liberalism

Saturday, June 25, 2016: 4:15 PM-5:45 PM
189 Dwinelle (Dwinelle Hall)
Bruno Amable, Université Paris I Panthéon - Sorbonne, Paris, France
This paper analyses particular aspects of the transformation of the French model of capitalism, which can considered as close to the archetypal continental model in the classification of Amable (2003). For more than three decades, France has experienced transformations in most institutional areas (industrial relation, product markets, financial sector, etc.). These changes have oriented France in in a neo-liberal direction.

At the same time, France is also a country characterized by a very strong social opposition to neo-liberalism. And it is commonplace to consider that the role of the state is crucial to the French model of capitalism. These elements may superficially considered as a paradox.

The aim of the paper is to show that the neo-liberal transformation of France is not a phenomenon imported from abroad (e.g. the US), but the pursuit of a political project whose origins can be traced before the Second World War. The paper shows how a particular French ideology, modernism, has degenerated into neo-liberalism, and how this phenomenon is linked to the political and structural crises that France has been through for the past three decades. The paper analyses why some left parties have been particularly receptive to neo-liberal ideas and have been the main actors in the implementation of neo-liberal structural reforms.