Summary: the French usurious imperialism



2. The slowdown in the economic development of France.

3.Causes of industrial backwardness of France.

4.The beginning of the process of concentration of capital.

5.French international rostovschichestve.


The transition to imperialism in France was expressed mainly by the monopolization of the industrial and banking activities. The process of concentration of French industry was much slower than in the USA, Germany and England. In the late XIX—early XX century, a monopoly in metallurgy, coal, machinery and other industries. At the same time, the pace of concentration and centralization of banks France was ahead of other countries. Capital growth of the three largest banks in France: “Lyons credit”, “national accounting firm” and “General society” — reflected the following information: in 1870 their total capital amounted to 627 million francs, in 1890—1510 million, 1909—5250 million francs.

Throughout most of the nineteenth century in terms of industrial production France ranked second in the world after England. However, at the end of the XIX century for this indicator, it was on the fourth place (after the USA, Germany, England), and the growth rate of industrial production was far behind and the younger countries of capitalism — the USA, Germany, Russia. If at the end of the 60-ies of France gave 10 % of world industrial output, then in the end of XIX century only 7 %. In the future, its specific weight in world industrial production has declined even more.

Causes of industrial backwardness of France the following:

1. Economic situation in the country has seriously affected its defeat in the Franco-Prussian war. The total losses amounted to 16 billion francs, killed about 1.5 million people. France was obliged to pay an indemnity of 5 billion francs. Germany has passed two of the most economically developed region: Alsace, which was one of the centers of textile industry and developed agricultural production, and Lorraine, rich deposits of iron ore.

2. The French industry lagged far behind its main competitors on a technological level of production. Equipment which was installed at the enterprises in the years of the industrial revolution, to the end of the XIX century obsolete and outdated and needed replacement.

3. The industry of the country has experienced shortages of raw materials and fuel in a large number of imported coking coal and iron ore, black metal, copper, cotton. Expensive imported raw materials increased the cost of French goods and reduced their competitiveness on the world market.

4. Rather complicated was the situation in agriculture. ITS LOW LEVEL LED TO THE NARROWNESS OF THE DOMESTIC MARKET. Parallelnoe agriculture had “excess” population in agriculture and thereby reduce the labour market in the country. Peasant families limited the number of children, not wanting to break up family plots of land, which led to the decline of population growth. For 1870-1913. the amount in France is almost not increased. If in Germany during this period, the population rose from 41 to 67 million people in England — from 25.8 to 41.3 million, France had on the eve of the Franco-Prussian war of 36.9 million in the first world war entered with a population of 39.8 million people.

Low population growth has reduced the potential of the country, in terms of manpower, contributed to a further lagging behind France and greatly weakened its strategic position in the struggle with Germany.

5. Economic development was hampered and the policy of the French bourgeoisie. Had accumulated large cash resources not invested in the domestic economy. This is because the profit from small businesses and farms was much smaller than from foreign investments and securities. In addition, banks sought to avoid the dispersal of funds between thousands of small businesses and depend on their activities.

Was backward and the structure of industrial production. If the industry of the USA and Germany was dominated by heavy industry, the French industry is still leading position was occupied by manufacture of consumer goods. Of industrial goods in the world market is most appreciated luxuries: expensive silk cloth, furniture, clothes, shoes, perfumes and cosmetics, jewelry, artisan products, etc. the Rate of growth of the textile industry in 1870-1913 was almost twice higher than in the years 1830-1860, and the iron and coal dropped sharply in comparison with the first half of the XIX century.

Energy basis of the French industry were steam engines. Although France before other countries began to use electricity, however, the total capacity of power plants is slightly ahead of a small Sweden. For 1900 – 1913 the power of the French power plants has increased from 130 thousand to 750 thousand kW, while in the United States — from 1.2 million to 5.2 million, in Germany — from 230 thousand to 2.1 million kW.

In connection with the militarization of the economy, which was caused by preparations for world war, in the beginning of XX century there have been significant changes in the development of French heavy industry. The country has made progress in engineering, the construction industry, the aircraft industry. In the automotive industry before the first world war, France occupied the second place in the world. Developed shipbuilding industry, which has allowed 1.5 times to increase the tonnage of the merchant fleet. Having dozens of new iron and steel plants. During the 1900-1913 biennium. steel production increased 3 times, of cast iron — almost 2, coal — by 1.2 times.

However, despite the obvious successes of the French economy, the country remained agrarian-industrial. Of the 16 million people of the economically active population were employed in industry of about 2 million, or 12.5 %, while in agriculture — more than 5 million people, or 31 %, in trade — more than 4 million, or 25 %. France is significantly lagging behind the advanced countries and the pace of development, decreased its share in world industrial production and trade.

In the late XIX — early XX century in metallurgy, coal, machinery and other industries of France begins the process of concentration of capital. For 1892-1913. the number of metallurgical enterprises decreased more than twice, a significant reduction occurred in the paper, mining and some other industries. There are large monopolistic enterprises. In 1876 was formed the metallurgical syndicate”, Comite des forges”, which United the 13 largest steel mills. In 1883 occurred the sugar cartel, in 1885 — kerosene. The main enterprises of the military industry were United in concern “Schneider Le Creusot”, in the automotive industry the largest monopolistic associations of steel companies “Renault” and “Peugeot”. The process of monopolization has also affected the textile and food industry. The most typical for France, this time, forms of monopoly associations become cartels and syndicates. However, there were and corporations, which United enterprises of related industries.

However, the pace of concentration of production was slower than in the US, Germany and England. In the beginning of XX century in France there were around 77 thousand enterprises of the capitalist type, of which about 68 thousand manufactories. Industrial enterprises with number of employees more than 50 people were 9 thousand, they worked 30.1% of workers. In 1912 one company in France had an average of 8 workers, while in Germany — 17. Large enterprises in France was 3 times less than in Germany.

France, which was the country’s relatively backward agriculture and the slow pace of progress and industrial development, however, owned a huge monetary savings. French banks through joint-stock companies, and savings banks concentrated in their hands the long-term accumulation of capital, which greatly contributed to the existence in a country of predominantly small businesses in industry, trade and agriculture, did not require large capital investments. Therefore, small capital for the long term invested in banks and savings banks. The rate of concentration of the banking capital of France was ranked first in the world. In the beginning of XX century in the three largest banks (“credit Lyonnais”, “national accounting firm” and “General society”) was centered about 70 % of all investments. They disposed cash capital of the country and controlled a large part of industrial production.

Very intensively in France formed financial capital. The center of the financial capital of the country became a French Bank. To obtain high profits, the financiers and bankers are increasingly exported their capital to other countries. In the 70-ies of XIX century the French capital was invested in the construction of Railways in Spain, since the early 80-ies they were sent to Russia in the Donbass and Krivoy Rog. In the 80-90-ies of the French capital dominated the economy of Turkey, Austro-Hungary, the countries of South America.

Over time it becomes more and more a loan is usurious in nature. Increasing the volume of export of French capital from 15 billion francs in 1880 to 60 billion francs in 1914, Although the size of capital exports first place in the world took England, the world’s main lender was France. In contrast to England, which exported capital in the form of investment in the industry, France has taken it mostly in the form of a loan. In the country significantly increased the number of rentiers, locating money in foreign loans and without any industrial and commercial risk receiving interest on the bonds. Usurious phenomenon more and more spread in France and eventually left parasitic print on the entire economy. France has become a rentier state. So, for the 1870-1913 years, industrial production increased in 3 times, export of capital — 6 times. Before the war all the securities in France was estimated at 104 billion, and investments in industry and trade amounted to 9.5 billion francs.

Usury, the French financial capital secured economic backwardness, not only of France, but also countries that received loans Paris. In 1913, out of 42.5 billion francs of foreign investment France 12 billion was accounted for by Russia, at 3 billion to Egypt, the Balkan countries, Turkey, the Iberian countries, 2.5 billion on Austria-Hungary, 6 billion for the Latin American countries. In other capitalist countries (USA, England, Germany, Holland, the Scandinavian States) were in total about 7 billion francs in the colonies—2—3 billion francs. Thus, about 21 billion francs were invested in the underdeveloped countries of Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America. For the French usury many people paid a dear price. For example, with funds from the French loan, the Russian tsarist government suppressed the revolution of 1905-1907.

French monopoly enterprises participated in the struggle for economic partition of the world. At the end of the XIX century, France participated in 40 international monopolies, on the eve of the first world war — in the 100. However, its industrial position was weaker than the US and Germany. Given these circumstances and the rapid development of financial capital, have also significantly intensified its colonial policy. In the late nineteenth century was conquered Tunisia, part of West Africa, Equatorial Africa, Madagascar, etc. To the beginning of the first world war, France established a colonial Empire, which amounted to 10.6 million m2, and the population reached 55,5 million people. The territory of the French colonies in 21 times higher than the territory of France, which became the second after England’s colonial power in the world. By the beginning of the first world war, France created the second largest (after England) colonial Empire, which amounted to 10.6 million sq. km and the population reached 55,5 million people. Dependent countries have become suppliers of many agricultural products (rice, cacao, coffee, fruits) and raw materials (cotton, coal, iron ore etc.) for industry in France. In addition, since the beginning of XX century the importance of colonies as markets for French manufactured goods. Before the first world war France had taken in a colony of about 10% of the total exported capital, and the share of the colonies in the French exports of goods did not exceed 13% in imports to 9.5%. .Some of the territories were captured for strategic reasons.

French imperialism played a significant role in the preparation and outbreak of the first world war. The French bourgeoisie sought revenge for the defeat in the Franco-Prussian war, wanted the return of Alsace and Lorraine and to prevent attempts of Germany to establish hegemony in Europe and on the world market.

France was preparing for war. Constantly growing costs. the budget for the army and Navy. From all industries to military production, the pace of development has lagged behind the rate in other countries.

Thus, the peculiarities of the economic development of France in the second half of XIX — beginning of XX century was relatively weak industrial base, low level of production concentration and fragmentation of agriculture. At the same time, the country had a strong financial capital, which acquired the usurious character, possessed a vast territory and led an active foreign policy to enhance its interests.


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