People, it is said, had enjoyed the 19th Century in France quite a lot, as the French locomotives, blowing their whistles, used to run between different cities. That was a period of different sort of Globalisation… Colonial Globalisation. Paris has always been considered as a modern capital. Visitors from home and abroad used to gather at fairs to experience the advancement of French technology. In 1860, neighbouring England had encouraged France to welcome the Liberal Economy. In his ‘Le Dictionnaire des idées reçues‘ (or the ‘Dictionary of Received Ideas‘), novelist Gustave Flaubert (December 12, 1821 – May 8, 1880) described it as “the cause of all evil“. It may be noted that the Dictionary of Received Ideas is a short satirical work collected and published in 1911-13 from notes compiled by Flaubert during the 1870s, lampooning the clichés endemic to French society under the Second French Empire. The publication is often paired with the Sottisier, a collection of stupid quotations taken from the books of famous writers. In 1869, French merchant fleets had sailed from Port Said, Egypt to large Asian markets via the Suez Canal, after receiving a green signal from the Queen of France. The main feature of the First Globalisation was the supply of finished European products to the colonies in exchange for raw materials.
In 1962, Paris demolished the border fences to provide the global buyers with surplus technology-dependent and high-yield agricultural products. With this, France created open markets for agricultural products across Europe. The Western European nation, which was rocked by increasing petro-prices, reportedly accepted Globalisation, and the Free-Market Policy was its centre of gravity. During this Second Phase of Globalisation, exchange of industrial goods, along with raw materials, took place in Europe.
Socialist François Marie Adrien Maurice Mitterrand (October 26, 1916 – January 8, 1996) had served as President of France from 1981 to 1995. He modernised the French Economy, as the global financial market, too, became well-organised during his Presidency. The fall of the Berlin Wall took place in 1989. Michel Foucault‘s (October 15, 1926 – June 25, 1984) posthumous publication ‘The History of Sexuality‘ (1984) replaced ‘Das Kapital‘ in former strongholds of Marxism, like Eastern Europe, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, etc. There was no universal target, but only deadly resilience, at that period of time. Foucault’s toolbox was like a weapon that could be considered as the Glasnost of an epic, or Globalisation of a short narrative. There was no longer any import or supply of goods in the Third Globalisation, as each and every part of the production process became globalised. Puppets, phones, aircraft were getting manufactured by assembling parts from all over the world with the help of Information Technology (IT) and Telecommunication System.
The screenplay, which had been written for almost 200 years, seemed to have reached its final climax in the 1990s. The European Union (EU) was established when the Maastricht Treaty came into force in 1993. The mission was implemented in the form of small coins, which found their places in the pockets of the buyers by 2002. Perhaps, Globalisation actually became Minimisation in those 10 years. The question arises here: How much had the public benefited from this Globalisation or Europisation? After 2002, a number of business houses left Europe for the lands of cheap labour, and labour-intensive industries became capital-intensive with the help of technological advancement. With this, the initial exuberance of Globalisation ended in deep depression. The fragmented production process not only created fragmented labour, but also gave birth to fragmented livelihood.
Although many became jobless in France, employment also took place behind the scenes. In the manufacturing sector alone, nearly 88,000 people lost their jobs from 2001 to 2007. However, 0.25 million jobs were created in the year 2019. Experts are of the opinion that technological advancement, and not Globalisation, is the root of the problem. The plight of the working class began in the 1980s, as 0.1 million French people were laid off from 1995 to 2007 due to an increase in imports from China. Surprisingly, the annual income of every household increased during this period!
Imports from China or Asia account for no more than 15% even in the Era of Globalisation, as the European countries (60%) are still the main source of French imports. Hence, France needs to boost industry, give various concessions to this sector, and to provide the industrial sector with cheap labour. Small industries have got a big boost in Germany over the past decade, thanks to immigrants from Turkey and Syria. They are much more industrious and brave than the Whites. In addition, the migration has rejuvenated the aging European population. Now, the Polish employers are welcoming Ukrainian refugees.
In other words, the fear of the Far-Rights that immigrants would destroy the French Economy is not with much base. Victims of Globalisation are easily influenced by these stories, and become racist. El Mouhoub Mouhoud, the Professor of Economics at the University of Paris Dauphine, has made an attempt to portray a picture of immigrants in France in one of his publications. According to the professor, France has one of the lowest immigration rates in the First World. Those, who have arrived in France from other countries, have brought some cultural and financial capital with them. Majority of them are ahead of the average French people, as far as academic qualification is concerned. Therefore, France, like Germany, can enjoy the benefits of immigration.
Experts are of the opinion that France should relax the rules of professional immigration, apart from allocating funds to build a proper infrastructure for immigrants. It would increase employment opportunities, and help the economy overcome the shock of COVID-19 Pandemic. Data show immigrants are mainly associated with housework (40% of the total staff), Police or security-related jobs (28%), construction sector (27%) and, restaurant and hotel businesses (17%). According to experts, suspicion and hostility towards immigrants have complicated the situation. The recruitment process has been made so strict that 30% of non-French candidates are rejected. However, the labour crisis prompted France to arrange special flights to Tunisia and Corsica in order to harvest crops during the pandemic.
The problem is that the Government of France provides the unemployed with grants only through employers. When a private organisation recruits an unemployed person, the Government bears a part of the person’s salary. This grant may be a waste of public money. Instead, the Government could have spent the money on social welfare projects. In such a scenario, France is all set to hold the first round of the 2022 Presidential Election on April 10, 2022. If no candidate wins a majority of the vote in the first round, a runoff would be held between the top two candidates on April 24. Incumbent President Emmanuel Macron announced on March 3 that he was launching his re-election bid to a second five-year term.
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