France Is Different Because ...

It's no accident that France's postwar élite gravitated not into business but into politics and civil service. It promulgated the idea that if being American or even British is largely an individual enterprise, being French is a collective mission — one into which the élite has long presumed a special insight.

It has crafted a society that gives a large role to the state, which built one of the world's best public health systems and an enviable transport infrastructure, and preserved a rich cultural heritage. France has given its people time not just to work, but...

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