Since the end of the Cold War, globalisation seemed to compel everyone to believe there was only one path, one model, one approach. As the crisis has demonstrated that this path was a dead end, we now all find ourselves forced to find others. In the end, there are two kinds of globalisation: the kind that fosters external growth, with everyone seeking, by all possible means, to take the jobs and markets of others, and the kind which fosters internal growth, i.e. a development model in which each individual, by producing more and consuming more, contributes to the development of all.
The first kind of globalisation takes the competitiveness-at-all-costs approach to the extreme by engaging in all forms of dumping and aggressive trade policies, crushing purchasing power and living standards. The second is based on increasing productivity, raising living standards and improving wellbeing. The first is antagonistic; the second is co-operative. The first pits economic progress against social progress; the second, on the contrary, links them.
Today, the whole challenge is for globalisation to make the transition from the first kind of approach to the second. The model of domestic growth in which social progress and human progress go hand in hand with economic progress is the one which has always enabled France to score her finest successes.
Basing competitiveness not on sacrificial policies that erode living standards, but rather on the search for global productivity through the quality of our education system, health care, research, public services, social protections and infrastructures, through our quality of life and the mobilisation of all our material and human resources, and the way private initiatives and public action have successfully complemented each other – this, basically, is what France has always sought to do. It is what best corresponds to her genius; it is what best corresponds to her ideal.
From an address by the French President to the meeting of Parliament in Congress in Versailles