Monday, March 06, 2006

Is France Drifting Towards Protectionism?

‘Economic Patriotism will be Europe’s undoing’ by Dominique Moisi 5 March

In France, the economic centrality of the state is not perceived as an anachronism in a global economy but an application of Adam Smith’s law of comparative advantage. France has a strong state compared with most European countries, so why not use the state in the service of the country’s ultimate economic interests?”


The ‘law of comparative advantage’ was not Adam Smith’s, it was David Ricardo’s, who stated the law of comparative advantage in his Principles of Political Economy and Taxation in the early 19th century. Smith explained the law of absolute advantage in Wealth of Nations, a cruder ‘law’ with a less general application to world trade.

The Moisi article is well worth reading for its central point that France is slipping into national protectionism and this conflicts with its previous pro-European Union stance.

Dominique Moisi is a senior adviser at France’s Institute for International Relations. Read his article from at:


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