Originally Posted by Sulla the Dictator
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?
Let's see. Here are estimates
for 2011 GDP per capita of France, the UK, and Germany:
These numbers aren't all that different, if you ask me. They certainly don't imply dramatically different living standards in France than in its somewhat more wealthy neighbors. If this is what France has gotten from centuries of destructive protectionism, it suggests to me that either you're overstating the scope of the historical policy differences between these countries or you're overstating the destructive effects of protectionism.