Resistance to change seems to be a deeply ingrained trait of French national character, and therefore traditional political accounts of France emphasize historical continuity. Yet, France has changed considerably in the past two decades, whether in economic, social, or political terms. This article reviews Changing France: The Politics That Markets Make and, beyond this book, asks how France has and has not been transformed. The central argument is that this change has taken place for the most part in the shadows instead of being publicized and debated. This has led to an overwhelming feeling of malaise in society and to a crisis of political representation.
This article examines how globalization and Europeanization interact with each other, either in a centrifugal or in a centripetal way, to alter French politics. It analyzes how globalization has redefined domestic politics in France and it explores whether Europeanization has accelerated or hindered these transformations. It studies in turn the impact of globalization and Europeanization on power, preferences and institutions — three essential components of a country’s domestic politics. The central argument is that globalization and Europeanization not only have transformed the nature of domestic politics, but are also becoming a new cleavage around which domestic politics are being structured.
The EU is a formidable power in trade. Structurally, the sheer size of its market and its more than forty-year experience of negotiating international trade agreements have made it the most powerful trading bloc in the world. Much more problematically, the EU is also becoming a power through trade. Increasingly, it uses market access as a bargaining chip to obtain changes in the domestic arena of its trading partners, from labour standards to development policies, and in the international arena, from global governance to foreign policy. Is the EU up to its ambitions? This article examines the underpinnings of the EU’s power through trade across issue-areas and across settings (bilateral, inter-regional, global). It then analyses the major dilemmas associated with the exercise of trade power and argues that strategies of accommodation will need to be refined in each of these realms if the EU is to successfully transform its structural power into effective, and therefore legitimate, influence.
Two alternate visions for shaping and explaining the governance of economic globalization have been in competition for the past 20 years: an ad hoc, laissez-faire vision promoted by the United States versus a managed vision relying on multilateral rules and international organizations promoted by the European Union. Although the American vision prevailed in the past decade, the current worldwide crisis gives a new life and legitimacy to the European vision. This essay explores how this European vision, often referred to as ‘managed globalization’, has been conceived and implemented and how the rules that Europe fashioned in trade and finance actually shaped the world economy. In doing so, we highlight the paradox that managed globalization has been a force for liberalization.
European policy-makers often speak of their efforts to ‘manage globalization’. We argue that the advocacy of managed globalization is more than a rhetorical device and indeed has been a primary driver of major European Union (EU) policies over the past 25 years. We sketch the outlines of the concept of managed globalization, raise broad questions about its extent, and describe five major mechanisms through which it has been pursued: (1) expanding policy scope; (2) exercising regulatory influence; (3) empowering international institutions; (4) enlarging the territorial sphere of EU influence; and (5) redistributing the costs of globalization. These mechanisms are neither entirely novel, nor are they necessarily effective, but they provide the contours of an approach to globalization that is neither ad hoc deregulation nor old-style economic protectionism.
Globalization and Americanization have often been intertwined and interchanged in the French political discourse. This article explores whether and how the election of Sarkozy, and then of Obama, are transforming this equation. The French obsession with globalization and Americanization was temporarily appeased at the time of the 2007 election, which enabled Sarkozy to come to power. Yet the French rapprochement with the US, at least on economic issues, is not so clear as has often been portrayed. However, the past couple of years have shown that globalization no longer equals Americanization. This should help mitigate the strains put on the Franco-American relationship by the world financial crisis.