Pascal Salin

France, Try Harder for a Liberal Economy! Publication date : March 29, 2007

In France, Pascal Salin is regarded as an iconoclast. His earlier book, Libéralisme (Editions Odile Jacob, 2000), is one of the rare works by a French author to propose a complete, in-depth analysis of economic liberalism, which he defines as “the only true, realistic Utopia” for our time.
His new work takes his earlier argument even further — at a time when France seems to be shifting even further toward anti-liberalism and as new voices from various sectors are clamouring for greater market regulations.
Salin argues that the deep-rooted causes of France’s economic stagnation lie in its inability to accomplish a “liberal revolution” — despite claims to the contrary.
He demonstrates what he considers to be the failure of the so-called “French model”. He reviews the recent history of France’s missed opportunities, and asks if it is really capitalism that is in crisis, as is often held. In reply, he proposes a number of possible avenues to “awaken” the country and its economy.
“What have you done to France?” he asks indignantly, addressing his question to politicians of all parties.

The author denounces the hesitations and poor choices that have resulted in the current deadlock. In his opinion, France is not suffering so much from excessive liberalism as from a false form of liberalism, which he blames for prolonging existing economic rigidities. France, he says, has lost a lot of time, and this explains the difficulties it is experiencing in restoring economic growth. This book may serve as a useful reminder during the current election year. Salin argues that France should not succumb to more state control and to illusionary forms of protection simply because it is afraid of the future.
True to the spirit of economic liberalism, Salin concludes by arguing that economists whose recommendations change from day to day and politicians who do not take their ideas to their logical conclusion have deceived the French and sold out the future.

Pascal Salin, an economist known for his laissez-faire, even libertarian, positions, is a follower of Frédéric Bastiat, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. He teaches at the University of Paris-IX-Dauphine.