The Popular Front in France
France did not experience such depths of economic depression as did some other European countries or the United States. Partially this can be explained by her ability to provide for most of her own agricultural and industrial needs so that she was less dependent upon foreign trade than Britain or Germany and could maintain national production behind high tariff barriers. In addition, a conservative financial policy shielded France from the worst of the financial crisis of 1931. Nonetheless, by 1932 the impact of the Depression began to be felt in France. The problems it brought—unemployment, falling wages and prices, declining production—were combined with more fundamental weaknesses: a nearly stagnant population which grew by only two millions in the entire interwar period; a low level of investment in industry (except in the area of war devastation, which had been reconstructed at considerable cost); low productivity and consequently low per capita income. Furthermore, compared to other European countries, France had been slow to enact basic welfare and labor legislation.
KeywordsCollective Bargaining Wholesale Prex Labor Legislation Labor Code Public Service Employee
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