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French Politics

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 154–178 | Cite as

The neo-dirigiste production of French capitalism since 1980: the view from three major industries

  • Matthieu Ansaloni
  • Andy Smith
Original Article

Abstract

What structures France’s current model of capitalism divides academic specialists. For some, the dirigisme installed after 1945 is over because the country has simply adopted market liberalism. For others, French capitalism has resisted wholesale liberalization by becoming ‘post-dirigiste’. This article argues instead that the very nucleus of French dirigisme lives on. This claim is developed by analysing post-1980 change in three major industries (agriculture, defence aerospace and pharmaceuticals). If the inscription of French producers in international markets and global finance has indeed eroded national capacity to unilaterally determine economic practices and outcomes, often through investing in the European scale, many renewed modes of intervention have actually enabled French capitalism to retain its most significant institutions. Explanation for the political success of this ‘neo-dirigisme’ is traced to struggles that have taken place within and beyond the state. During these conflicts, actors seeking to embed neo-liberal content into economic interventionism have consistently won out over opponents who advocate a wider range of interventionist policy tools.

Keywords

Capitalism Dirigisme Agriculture Defence aerospace Pharmaceuticals Regulation 

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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LASSP-Sciences Po ToulouseToulouseFrance
  2. 2.Centre Emile DurkheimUniversity of BordeauxBordeauxFrance

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