France: the Strategic Management of Impending Collective Impoverishment

  • Jack Hayward


While the National Plan ceased until 1981 to be the framework within which the French government fits both its own medium-term policy decisions and attempts to co-ordinate in a comprehensive way the activities of the public and private sectors, it nevertheless still offers the best source from which one may discover how the government of the day perceives the current economic situation and the prospects facing the country. Consequently, if we wish to understand the state of mind of the official decision-makers, confronted by the post-recession problems of the 1970s, an indispensable starting point and permanent point of reference is the 1978 Report on the Adaptation of the Seventh Plan. Published in September 1978, just halfway through the duration of the Seventh Plan (1976–80), it helps us to understand the considered response of the tandem of President Giscard d’Estaing and Prime Minister Barre, drastically modifying the over-optimistic Seventh Plan’s presuppositions of 1975–6 and preparing the way for the Eighth Plan’s stoic summons to batten down the hatches for a stormy long haul. Though the Planning Commissariat (CGP) documents pay some passing attention to the views of other economic actors, we shall have to go beyond their increasingly governmentalised confines to consider how these other political and economic actors responded both to the 1970s’ recession and to the French government’s own attempts to cope with its consequences.


Strategic Management Collective Bargaining Money Supply Full Employment French Government 
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Notes and References

  1. 2.
    Ibid., pp. 8, 15, 18–20, 34; cf. J. Pelletier and H. Guillaume, Rapport de la Commission du Développement: Options du 8ePlan (Paris: Commissariat Général du Plan, 1979) paras. 212 and 521.Google Scholar
  2. 7.
    Ibid., pp. 46–50. On motor cars, see Christian Stoffacs, La grande menace industrielle (Paris: Calmann-Lévy, 2nd ed., 1978) pp. 135 ff.Google Scholar
  3. 15.
    >Rapport sur les principales options du 8 ePlan, pp. 34–5. On the Priority Action Programmes, see J. Hayward ‘From planning the French economy to planning the French State’, in Vincent Wright (ed.), Giscard, the Giscardiens and Giscardisme (London: Allen & Unwin, forthcoming). On the context of the electro-nuclear programme, see N. J. D. Lucas, Energy in France: Planning, Politics and Policy (London: Europa Publications, 1979).Google Scholar
  4. 26.
    Liliane Sardais, L’Etat et l’Internationalisation du Capital: Un essai sur la politique industrielle en France, Doctoral thesis (University of Paris X, Nanterre, 1977) pp. 387–91; cf. p. 380 ff.Google Scholar
  5. 29.
    Commission de l’Emploi, 8 e Plan, p. 176; cf. pp. 175–81, 207–12, 227. See also Révision du 7 e Plan, pp. 28–30; Rapport sur l’adaptation du 7 e Plan, pp. 84–5; Rapport sur les principales options du 8 e Plan, pp. 70–2. On the issue in the mid-1960s, see Jack Hayward, ‘The Reduction of Working Hours and France’s Fifth Plan ’, British Journal of Industrial Relations, VII/I (March 1969) pp. 84–112.Google Scholar
  6. See also the book by Jacques Delors, Exchange et Projets club : La Révolution du temps choisi (Paris: Editions Albin Michel, 1980). Le Monde, dossiers et documents devoted a special issue to ‘La Durée du Travail’, no. 70 (April 1980).Google Scholar
  7. 30.
    See the declaration by the CGT and CFDT representatives appended to the Economic and Social Council’s Avis on the Adaptation du 7 e Plan (October 1978) pp. 44–6 and on the Principales Options du 8 e Plan (May 1979) pp. 39–41. See also their views appended to Commission de l’Emploi, 8 e Plan, pp. 231–7; and the extended summary in Le Monde (14 June 1980) p. 41, of the 27 scenarios for the Eighth Plan. For the earlier background, see Jean-Pierre Oppenheim, La CFDT et la Planification (Paris: TEMA-Editions, 1973).Google Scholar
  8. 31.
    Ministère de l’Economie, Rapport sur les aides publiques à l’industrie (1979) summarised in Le Monde (25 December 1979) p. 22.Google Scholar
  9. 34.
    Rapport sur l’adaptation du 7e Plan, p. 55. On government-business collaboration in this industry, see my chapter on ‘Steel’ in Raymond Veron (ed.), Big Business and the State in Western Europe (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1974) pp. 265–9.Google Scholar
  10. 35.
    Diana Green, ‘Economic Policy and the Governing Coalition’, in Philip Cerny and Martin Schain (eds), French Politics and Public Policy (London: F. Pinter, 1980) p. 167; cf. Plan’s Finance Committee views in Révision du 7e Plan, p. 46. On what he called ‘the contradictions between liberal doctrine and interventionist practices’ in the Government’s petroleum policy, as reflected in its treatment of its chosen instrument ELF-ERAP, involving a ‘hesitation waltz between liberalism and interventionism’, see Bruno Dethomas, ‘Retour au libéral-dirigisme’, Le Monde (18 July 1980); cf. his ‘La réorganisation du groupe ELF-ERAP’, Le Monde (1 August 1980).Google Scholar
  11. 41.
    Rapport sur les principales options du 8 e Plan, p. 11; cf. p. 16. On the view that 1965 rather than 1974 marks the decisive break in French post-war development, see Henri Mendras (ed.), La Sagesse et le Désordre: France 1980 (Paris: Gallimard, 1980), notably the introductory chapter by Mendras, pp. 18–24 and Gérard Pavy, ‘Le retournement de l’année 1965’, p. 63ff.Google Scholar
  12. 42.
    On the Socialist conception of nationalisation and its pre-electoral programme, see Socialisme et Industrie (Paris: Club Socialiste du Livres, 1981). See also Alain Boublil (on the staff of President Mitterrand), Le Socialisme Industriel (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1977) especially part II, and L’Agression: L’EtatGiscard contre le Secteur Public (Paris: Club Socialiste du Livre, 198+0).Google Scholar

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© Andrew Cox 1982

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  • Jack Hayward

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