Originally Posted by Don Zeko
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.
Except that I don't see the purpose of comparing GDP in 2011 when we're discussing systems. The GDP of France is $34,000 per capita, but the GDP of Spain is $30,000 per capita, and the GDP of Italy is $29,000 per capita. "Not that big a difference". It would be crazy for anyone to suggest that the "Italian model" or the Spanish one were functional and interchangeable with the French or British model. Instead, welcome to the deforming influence of the Euro. While France will not be as bad off as the Italians or Spanish in its aftermath, if Florian is old enough he might remember a distinct difference in living standards between 1992, say, and 2011 in France.
The Euro is a gigantic credit bubble. It is popping as we speak.
The GDP of France in 1938 was about $40 billion. The GDP of Germany at the same time was $80 billion. The GDP of Britain was $57 billion. If you're curious, the Spanish were at $9 billion and the Italians were at $23 billion. With variations between Germany and Britain at the lead, that is the usual arrangement of European economic power. France a distant third.