“For Napoleon III as for Jules Méline, the issue of international trade was first and foremost political” | EUROtoday

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Lhe fierceness of the controversy between supporters of protectionism and defenders of free commerce invitations us to look again on the up to date historical past of France. On the size of the nineteenth centurye century, French protectionism was first outlined in political phrases in a rejection of the Ancien Régime, which, in 1786, had made the adventurous guess of a free commerce commerce treaty with England to succeed, from the surface, a modernization mired within the society of privileges.

The business opening was related to the Ancien Régime and the revolutionary episode opposed the “disastrous treaty” a protectionism whose vocation was not solely to make sure the success of industrialization, but in addition to provide the nation a base, an financial and political border protected against the headwinds of the open sea. The watchword of French producers, who turned their backs on the theses of liberal economists David Ricardo (1772-1823) and Jean-Baptiste Say (1767-1832), was then: “Not being Portugal” – nation taken for example by Ricardo to reward his concept of “comparative advantages”.

The English mannequin

With the constitutional monarchy (1815-1848), a liberal-minded technocracy outlined an unique program which affirmed that the true house of financial freedom would discover its place within the political contours of the nation born in 1789. Beyond that, the worldwide house was based mostly on a very completely different logic.

Wanting financial freedom in a market with out borders meant taking the danger of thwarting freedom within the inside market. Inside, there’s a decided observe of “let it happen, let it pass”; outdoors, safety. No contradiction between the 2 attitudes: one, quite the opposite, referred to as for the opposite. For these technocrats, who thus achieved the synthesis between Turgot (1727-1781), Smith (1723-1790) and Colbert (1619-1683), financial liberalism, removed from dogmas, may solely be understood in a scenario within the historical past and the connection of worldwide forces.

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The strongest customs safety was granted to the cotton trade. The English mannequin, admired then for its “national egoism”, had proven that this trade was the matrix of capitalism, the success of which appeared important for France to stay a fantastic energy. For Jean-Antoine Chaptal (1756-1832, Bonaparte's minister of the inside in the course of the Consulate, 1800-1804), protectionism, social coverage, “would mobilize the arms” and would break with the underdevelopment of the Ancien Régime.

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