Not So Happy Globalization: French Experience

Lapina N.Yu.


France's integration into the global economy was rather late, so the country was not able to become one of the leaders in open economy. As a consequence, the country’s industrial potential in many ways suffered a visible destruction. Globalization has not only transformed the French economy, it also has changed the social landscape in the country. Since the 1980s, France has seen a steady increase in social inequality manifested in the sizeable «wealth gap» between those who have successfully joined the «global competition» and those who have remained on its periphery. There has been an increasing socio-spatial disparity between successful territories (global cities) and the periphery. The middle class is declining, its lower strata are lumpenized, while the narrow upper layer merges into the ranks of privileged groups. Changes in social status and the loss of a normal life routine increase the social stress and generate new conflicts in society, these including the «yellow vests» movement that confronted the «two Frances» – the successful and the peripheral ones. The mass protest that swept France in 2018–2019 was the result of deindustrialization, the destruction of industrial potential, the degradation of territories and the plight of millions of French people. «People from the periphery» have been silent for a long time, suffering humiliation that comes from the loss of well-paid work in industry and its replacement by unguaranteed employment in the services. It is a movement for human dignity, against social injustice and the transformation of the French province into a ghetto. It touches upon the vital problems of French society, and therefore it would be naive to believe that the French social conflict has exhausted itself.


globalization; France; information economy; de-industrialization; spatial differentiation; middle class; social protest movements.

DOI: 10.31249/rsm/2020.02.11

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