This case study on the impact of globalization on France starts by tracing the nationalistic and mercantilistic philosophy of France back to the time of Colbert [1619–1683]. It argues that although the policies of French administrations of the 1980s towards inward and outward investment underwent a complete volte‐face, these were only embraced reluctantly in the light of the imperatives of globalization and regional integration. It then comes as no surprise that some of the most vociferous critics of globalization are French politicians or bureaucrats – as documented by Michalet in the conclusion to the chapter. The chapter has two main sections, the first discussing the national aspiration with reference to the French ‘hierarchical‐capitalism’ model from the mid‐1960s to mid‐1980s. The second looks at the change from a partially opened economy to a fully open economy, which was marked by the beginning of the abandonment of the French model in favour of neoliberal economic orthodoxy from mid‐1982, and the later trend towards global integration from the mid‐1980s, which was marked by an upsurge of French business investment abroad, and the strengthened presence of foreign enterprises in France.
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