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What can halt the 'French decline?'
Taipei Times ^ | November 08 2003 | Daniel Cohen

Posted on 11/08/2003 7:39:18 AM PST by knighthawk

The French are notoriously sensitive -- if not defensive -- about France's stature in the world. The French state spends vast amounts of money to propagate the French language and French culture, yet the French are painfully aware that the global position of their country is not what it once was.

No surprise, then, that during the last presidential election, the publication of a European Commission report claiming France's economic rank among European countries had fallen from 3rd to 10th place in the span of ten years caused soul-searching and controversy. Soon, President Jacques Chirac was accusing his rival, Lionel Jospin, of causing the "French decline."

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and Eurostat, the European body in charge of such data, thought they put an end to this aspect of the debate by showing that France, Germany, Italy and Great Britain all enjoy roughly equal per capita living standards. But the broader controversy wouldn't go away. Worried talk about "French decline" reappeared with this year's street protests against pension reform, mounting disputes over fiscal policy with the European Commission, and bickering with America over the war in Iraq.

Today's best-selling non-fiction book in France is a polemic by Nicolas Baverez, La France qui tombe (Falling France). Baverez's book is filled with quotations from de Gaulle and Napoleon. According to the author, France's last great achievements were in the 1970s, when the fast train, the TGV, and Airbus were launched. He castigates both former president Francois Mitterrand and Chirac for their "common talent to win elections and turn France into a loser." The book's success is itself a sign of a kind of "malaise." But of which kind?

Baverez's evidence of degeneration is not as convincing as he believes. For example, he cites the draining away of industrial jobs as the most glaring evidence of France's decline. But deindustrialization is common to all advanced countries. Indeed, France does actually better than most of its rich country rivals and, unlike Germany, the UK, or the US, has retained the same global market share in the industrial sector that it had in the early 1970s.

Moreover, according to a better measure of competitiveness -- foreign investment -- France does very well. According to a recent report by the Economic Analysis Council, direct investment in France grew to 60 billion euros (US$68.5 billion) in 2001, almost twice that of Germany. French cost competitiveness also improved (by 20 percent) in the last three decades, with higher productivity offsetting rapid wage growth.

But the core of France's long-run economic problems is precisely the fear of losing industrial jobs. France remains a strong industrial power in traditional areas such as automobile and aerospace industries, but it is falling behind in innovative markets, where smaller companies spread new technologies.

In short, Baverez's analysis points in the wrong direction. France has undergone a set of critically important reforms over the past two decades: economic and financial liberalization, elimination of price and foreign exchange controls, the end of credit restrictions, European liberalization, reduced inflation and trade deficits, the advent of the euro and the forced globalization of the country's firms. The French malaise has nothing to do with any of them.

France's problem is that it fails to recognize the new world of which it already is a part. French state capitalism is dead, and France is finding it hard to come to terms with its passing.

Indeed, France must be the only country in which a prime minister, Jospin, feels obliged to apologize the day after for saying on TV that "the state is not omnipotent."

Daniel Cohen is professor of economics at the Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris.

TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: decline; france; french
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1 posted on 11/08/2003 7:39:19 AM PST by knighthawk
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To: MizSterious; rebdov; Nix 2; green lantern; BeOSUser; Brad's Gramma; dreadme; Turk2; keri; ...

If people want on or off this list, please let me know.

2 posted on 11/08/2003 7:39:41 AM PST by knighthawk (And for the name of peace, we will prevail)
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To: knighthawk
The problem with the French and some other countries, they are too worried what the world thinks of them.
As you are very well aware of, there are some countries that are in this world today, that just plain don't like anyone no matter what another country does.
There is one thing that does really jump out at me though. The French have seemed to have forgotten what it is like to be French. They French have accommodated the many immigrants that have entered France and they have lost their identity. The French don’t know how to be French any more.
3 posted on 11/08/2003 7:48:33 AM PST by melvin
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To: knighthawk
I don't know what will stop the French decline. I do know how to insure that decline continues to pick up speed.

Boycott their products, services, companies and don't go on vacation to their $hitty country.

French Products to Buycott

Make it a lifestyle to avoid French products or products made by what appear to be a non French company in America. The reality is that many of these companies like Wild Turkey are owned by the French.

Let them fear the American Street---our combined wallets.

"France has burned too many bridges!"

Lets keep burning those bridges that the slimey and worthless frogs keep trying to build post Iraq.

$crew the $limey Frogs with a Boycott and no vacations in Slimey Frog Land!

French Products to Buycott

We can resist their wines which usually come in behind the good Napa Valley Wines and Australian wines in blind tasting without French Judges like in the Winter Olympics.

We can do without French Products and services for the rest of this decade. Here is a list of French companies and their products to avoid for the rest of this decade. Please keep this list and send it to your relatives, friends and fellow conservatives via e and snail mail!

*New additions to the list.

Air France

Air Liquide


Alcatel - Based in Paris France, Provider of communications equipment, including ADSL equipment, terrestrial and submarine optical networks, public switching, fixed wireless access and intelligent networks.

Allegra (Allergy Medication) - Produced by Aventis Pharmaceuticals based in Strasbourg, France

Aqualung (Including: Spirotechnique, Technisub, US Divers, and SeaQuest)

AXA Advisors

*Bacou-Dalloz-Makes Industrial protective devices

Bank of the West - Owned by BNP Paribas

Beneteau (boats)

BF Goodrich - Owned by Michelin

BIC (Razors, Pens & Lighters) - Started in 1945 by Marcel Bich. Originally based just outside of Paris. Began trading on the Paris Stock Exchange in 1972. 40.5% Publicly traded. Bich family still owns 33.5%.

Biotherm (Cosmetics)

Black Bush

Bollinger (Champagne)

*Browning Firearms**

Car & Driver Magazine



Chivas Regal (Scotch)

Christian Dior

Club Med (Vacations) - Owned in part by Paris based CDC (Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations)

Culligan (owned by Vivendi)

Dannon (Yogurt & Dairy Foods)

*Danone -Lea and Perrin, Evian and other food/water

*Decatholon Super Sport Stores or MVP Sport Stores*

* Dassault Systemes-(CATIA design software)*

DKNY - LVMH acquired 100% of Gabrielle Studio Inc., the privately owned licenser of Donna Karan trademarks back in 2001.


Dom Perignon

Durand Crystal

Elle Magazine

*Emile Henry French Cookware

*Enertec makes high speed recorders used in Recon aircraft p>Essilor Optical Products

*Essilon- Varilux Progressive Lenses for eye glasses



First Hawaiian Bank

George Magazine


*Grey Goose Vodka

*GroupeSEB owns Krups, Moulinex, Roweta and Tefal Cookware

*Groupe Shneider, owner of Modicon and Square D

*Guerlain Fragrances

*Hachette Filipacchi owner publisher of many magazines sold in the USA. See the list below:***


Houghton Mifflin (books) International Herald Tribune - 181 ave Charles-de-Gaulle - F-92521 Neuilly - FRSource:World Business Council for Sustainable Development '00 [Domain Registration], [Corporate Profile]

Jacobs Creek - Owned by Pernod Ricard since 1989

Jameson (whiskey Owned by Pernod Ricard )

Jerry Springer (talk show)




*Lea & Perrins a product of Danon

Le Creuset (Cookware)

L'Oreal (Health & Beauty Products)

Louis Vuitton

Marie Claire

Martel Cognac


Méphisto (Footwear & Apparel)

Michelin (Tires & Auto Parts) - Their phone number is: (33) 1 45 66 15 53 in France

Mikasa Crystal and Glass (purchased by ARC int'l in 2001)

Moet (Champagne)

Motel 6 - 33, Avenue du Maine- 75755 Paris Cedex 15 France

Motown Records

Mumms (Champagne)

Nissan (Cars) - Majority owned by Renault


Normany Butter

Parents Magazine


Peugeot (Automobiles) - Pronounced "Pooh Joe", must be French

Pierre Cardin

Playstation Magazine

ProScan - Owned by Thomson Electronics, France

Publicis Group (Including: Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising)

RCA (televisions & electronics) - Owned by Thomson Electronics, France

Red Magazine

Red Roof Inns - Owned by the Accor group based in France

Renault (Automobiles) major owner of Nissan

Road & Track Magazine

Roquefort Cheese - All Roquefort cheese is made in France

Rowenta (Toasters, Irons, Coffee makers, etc)

Royal Canadian

Salomon (Skis)

Seagram's Gin

Sierra Software and Computer Games

*Sodexho Alliance* French Food Caterer for the US Marines

Sofitel (Hotels) - Owned by the Accor group based in France

Sparkletts (Water) - Owned by Danone, based in France

Spencer Gifts

Sundance Channel

Taylor Made (Golf)


T-Fal (Kitchenware)

The Glenlivet (Scotch) *Top Tobacco - Dist. by Republic Tobacco L.P., Glenview IL, made in France

UbiSoft (Computer Games)


Uniroyal Tires - Owned by Michelin

Universal Studios (Music, Movies & Theme Parks) -

Universal Studios is owned by Vivendi-Universal, headquartered in Paris France


Veritas Group

Veuve Clicquot Champagne


Vivendi - Vivendi Headquarters, Paris France

Wild Turkey (bourbon)

*Winchester Firearms (US Repeating Arms)**

Woman's Day Magazine

Yoplait - France-based Sodiaal owns a 50% stake of Yoplait

Yves Saint Laurent

*Yves Rocher Cosmetics

*ZigZag (tobacco papers and roller products)*

Zodiac Inflatable Boats

*New additions to the list thanks to Freepers. If you have an addition, Freepmail me with the URL showing French ownership.

** Sad news but these two companies are owned by the Belgian Company Herstal, (French Light)

***List of 18 magazines sold in USA by Hachette Filipacchi with an estimated 50 million readers: American Photo, Boating, Car Stereo Review's Mobile Entertainment, Cycle World, ELLE Decor, ELLEgirl, Flying, Home, Metropolitan Home, Popular Photography, Premiere, Sound & Vision, Travel Holiday, Woman's Day Woman's Day Special Interest Publications.

****Lagardere owns the Virgin Megastore group in France, which it bought from Richard Branson three years ago. Its Hachette media division publishes a battery of magazines including Elle , see *** Hachette Filipacchi above. Lagardere also has a stake in the Airbus manufacturing operation. The company is capitalised at over €5bn.
4 posted on 11/08/2003 7:50:03 AM PST by Grampa Dave ("If you can read this, thank a teacher!....Since it is in English, thank a Veteran!")
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To: knighthawk
Dunno. Populate all of France with Englishmen, perhaps?
5 posted on 11/08/2003 7:50:22 AM PST by dr_who_2
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To: knighthawk
The answer: NOTHING. France has been circling the drain since Napoleon was exiled.

My monkey laughs at France.

6 posted on 11/08/2003 8:02:28 AM PST by Skooz (All Hail the Mighty Kansas City Chiefs: 8-0 baby)
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To: knighthawk
What can halt the 'French decline?'

Why hitting bottom of course!
7 posted on 11/08/2003 8:03:58 AM PST by AmericaUnited
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To: Grampa Dave

Are you sure this covers all US Fina stations Grampa Dave? This wasn't true a few years ago and they at least get their gasoline and oil products through TotalFinaElf which benefits the french batards!

And what about the Total stations?
8 posted on 11/08/2003 8:04:21 AM PST by SwinneySwitch (Freedom isn't Free - Support the Troops & Vets!!)
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To: dr_who_2
Or Germans even.
9 posted on 11/08/2003 8:09:32 AM PST by Gumption
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To: dr_who_2
Pave France: The British Need More Parking
10 posted on 11/08/2003 8:13:05 AM PST by Skooz (All Hail the Mighty Kansas City Chiefs: 8-0 baby)
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To: knighthawk
What can stop the French decline?

A bar of soap and some shampoo might be a place to start...

11 posted on 11/08/2003 8:17:28 AM PST by Joe 6-pack
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To: knighthawk
"The French are notoriously offensive..."

Who can halt the French decline?

That's like saying," Who can stop the spread of the French Pox?!"
12 posted on 11/08/2003 8:20:11 AM PST by tet68 (Patrick Henry ......."Who fears the wrath of cowards?")
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To: knighthawk
Malaise ? Maybe Jimma Carter could help, he KNOWS about that stuff.
13 posted on 11/08/2003 8:21:30 AM PST by tet68 (Patrick Henry ......."Who fears the wrath of cowards?")
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To: melvin
The French were always losers, losing to the English ever since hte battle fo Agincourt and making a fuss about it ever since. Now they want to overthrow the US., ha ha ha
14 posted on 11/08/2003 8:26:16 AM PST by Cronos (W2004)
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To: knighthawk
35 hour work weeks, 7 week vacations and 5 million Muslims as well as a state which allows 15,000 of its elderly die.

There is also a philosphical disease process at work there.

15 posted on 11/08/2003 8:26:38 AM PST by Helms (If Researchers Use Rat and Monkey Brains, Why Not Encorage A Liberal To Donate)
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To: knighthawk
"What can halt the 'French decline?"


16 posted on 11/08/2003 8:27:11 AM PST by CWOJackson
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To: Grampa Dave
If you think that boycotting French products will do anything to hasten the decline of the French nation you're wrong. They are flushing themselves down the crapper with both hands on the chain and what you propose is like peeing in the bowl as they swirl away.

Now if you mean to boycott as a matter of principle, to register your displeasure with French policy, well that is a reasonable response to their actions.
17 posted on 11/08/2003 8:35:50 AM PST by SBprone
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To: SBprone
Boycotting French products is definitely making a dent in their economy. Plus, it is waking the French people up to the fact that politicians like Chirac who indulge in fantasies of sticking the knife into the U.S. to prove French greatness are only hurting France.

The lesson needs to be driven home.
18 posted on 11/08/2003 9:04:44 AM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: SBprone
peeing in the bowl as they swirl away

Sounds like a plan.

19 posted on 11/08/2003 9:41:47 AM PST by M. Thatcher
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To: melvin
Mel, the great cities of Provence, Marseilles and Toulon, might as well be in Iraq. You can go for blocks without hearing a word of French, or seeing many people in western clothing.

What's worse, around Paris and other cities, there are many whole quartiers where YOU or I cannot go. Hell, the cops won't even go in without taking precautions. The Muslim immigrant thing is totally out of Frog contol.

Example: old pal of mine, retired guy in Toulon, former civil servant, lives in semi-public housing. Pension: 800Euro/month. His neighbor, some non-working Moroccan geek, has three wives and 18 children. He gets TWO Apartments, free, and with the Froggie version of AFDC, collects 4,000Euro/month + benefits (or rather the women do, he just controls it.)

It's French for "There goes the neighborhood." We shouldn't be too quick to point fingers. Our own bureaucraps have done the same thing to Maine, dumping many hundreds of Somali families on us, with similar results. This being a much larger country than France, the national pain is more diffuse. Let me tell you though, on a local level, it smarts good. Neither we, nor our sometime pals, the Frogs are doing a good job with this one. Maybe we can learn from each other?

20 posted on 11/08/2003 10:02:20 AM PST by Kenny Bunk
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