With our world in transition, and while economies all over the world are still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, not to mention the consequences of the war in Ukraine, it’s a good time to think of how we’re going to reform our structures and our policies. No more “business as usual”- it’s time to lead an economic transition so that we can couple prosperity with a fair approach.
The book explores the way we can get there, by learning from yesterday’s mistakes and confronting the challenges we face today and tomorrow.
To accomplish this task, I explore major events in economic, social, and political history, from the petrol crisis in 1973 to present times. Instead of approaching this as a historian, I approach it as an economist with “real-life” experience, aiming to understand how we got to where we are today. By applying lessons from history, we can find our way out of our current situation, in particular by decoding the way our leaders and intellectuals think and the way our institutions work. The objective is to make an educated and timely judgment, on past reforms as well potential future ones, using anecdotes and practical examples to illustrate.
Why is this necessary?
The world is changing, there’s no doubt about it. France is not the same country it was a few decades ago, but many of the same traditional institutions remain and haven’t yet changed with the times. France’s leaders are often guilty of a myopic, even blind, view of the economy and society in these modern times.
The country needs to adapt to face new challenges, adaptations that are critical for future prosperity and for fostering equity, which our society needs to be able to progress.
What are the key lessons we can take from the past?
Over the last fifty years, France has experienced some decisive moments. In the future, will our leaders be able to identify past mistakes and the reasons for which past reforms failed? Will they be able to outline how these shape new policies that deal with present and future issues? Will they dare to dust off, in a sustainable way, not only outdated ideas but also our antiquated institutions that are not able to enact change? Will they finally propose, over the long term, the right reforms that our country needs to succeed in our economic transition and to finally enter the 21st century, or will they remain mired in the past?
"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it", says the philosopher. A good motto to apply in order to move our society forward.
What are the challenges we face today?
To ensure economic and social prosperity with equity, there are many challenges that are not always easy to meet. Without making a laundry list of today's issues and the future reforms, the book proposes certain strategies that aim to:
· Better adjust our economic and social structures and our policies to international openness and globalization
· Make Europe evolve and adapt to promote the well-being of all
· Get out of our corporate leanings, which are still too prevalent, and take measures that favor competition at many levels of our society
· Carry out a tax reform that favors economic efficiency and social equity
· Reforming our sprawling State in order to reduce its weight, to better orient it and increase its efficiency and to manage economic equilibrium and public finances more effectively
· Deal with climate change and ensure the movement towards "green development", but following the principles of "good economics"
· Reform our trade unionism and the accompanying social dialogue.
In conclusion, I propose "A strategy for France" that could be adopted by political decision-makers and leaders of all kinds (not only political, but also economic, administrative, trade union, media, academic). It presents the basic lines of a reform of the State necessary to modernize and boost the efficiency and equity of our economic and social system. It also proposes reforms to fight against the corporate leanings that interfere too much with French customs and institutions. It is part of an inevitable globalization and of a Europe in flux: both are essential to ensure progress, prosperity, and freedom.