Originally Posted by Florian
But protectionism is not the same thing as state intervention to bail out banks. Protectionism is the opposite of free trade, not the opposite of capitalism, and contrary to what Sulla says above, it has been practiced by all countries from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution to the present, not only by France---- once again the whipping boy for Sulla and American conservatives.
I didn't say France was the only nation which practiced protectionism. I'm saying that it was the one which practiced it rather consistently from the beginning of the Industrial Age until now. No other nation has had the same continuity of trade policy than France, and in my view it is the reason France lagged behind the British and the Germans in the 19th century as an economic power. From Bourbons to Revolutionaries to Bonapartists to Bourbons to Revolutionaries to Bonapartists to Republicans to Gaullists.
Nothing particularly controversial about this. I don't even think French historians deny it. Rather, doesn't the argument follow something about "preservation" of lifestyle rather than growth?