Michel Godet

The Courage of Common Sense Publication date : April 24, 2009

France appears to be declining and marking time. Michel Godet believes that if the fault lies with the French, so does the remedy, and he argues that it is possible, with courage and common sense, to build a future without dipping into the pockets of future generations and without increasing France's public debt. In his governing style President Sarkozy may have made a radical break with the past, but the various reforms underway have yet to show concrete results.

Godet offers a harsh diagnosis of the ills of the French economy and of the existing gridlock. He examines received opinions in the light of plain common sense and confronts them with the facts: he shows that globalisation is not to be blamed, that the precautionary principle may be dangerous, that the planet has an abundance of expensive oil, and that there are positive aspects in the ageing of the population.

Above all, Godet makes dozens of suggestions for the future, including seven key proposals, i.e.: how to make France's mammoth of an educational system progress; how to pull out of the 35-hour week gracefully; how to create hundreds of thousands of commercial jobs; how to ensure that there will be lasting solidarity between generations without family pauperisation. The book also contains an extensive commentary on the 2008 report by the Jacques Attali commission for the overhaul of the French economy.

This is a new, revised edition of a groundbreaking classic work. It offers a candid diagnosis of the ills of the French economy and makes concrete proposals, based on the current situation, at a time when reforms are urgently needed. Two years after the presidential elections, what can be done to shake France out of its torpor?

Michel Godet holds the chair of industrial forecasting at the French National Conservatory for Arts and Crafts. He is also an elected member of the Academy of Technology and of the Council for Economic Analysis. His previous book, Le Choc de 2006 (2004, 2006), was awarded the French Economics Book Prize. He is also the author of Emploi, le grand mensonge (1994, 1999).