Part of the Studies in Economic and Social History book series (SESH)


Asked at a televised press conference why he had risked alienating international opinion by selling gunboats to Israel, President Pompidou replied that the ‘dear old France’ of fine cuisine and the Folies-Bergère was finished. Contemporary France (of the early 1970s), he proudly asserted, had become a modern industrial nation, beholden to no one. The path to economic development was indeed a long one, and the links between profit and power were much in evidence all along. France must now be classed as one of the early starters among the industrializing nations. In the eighteenth century, administrators there grasped that her status as a great power would be put in jeopardy if she failed to emulate some of the innovations (notably in metallurgy) being pioneered by the British. As we have seen, she enjoyed some success in achieving this aim, even though developing in competition with such a formidable naval and economic power was bound to be an uphill struggle during the early stages. By the standards of the 1950s and 1960s at least, the economic growth of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries may now appear relatively slow. And there is no disputing that many of the old structures in agriculture and industry survived through until the middle of the twentieth century.


Eighteenth Century Economic Power Early Starter Business Leader Economic History 
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Copyright information

© The Economic History Society 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of NottinghamUK

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