France: A Troubled Economy

For months now, a creeping economic malaise has been afflicting the French economy. Unemployment stands at its highest in a decade, while first-quarter industrial production fell 1.6% from a year earlier. Worst of all, the country's fifth five-year economic plan — now half completed — appears to be something of a bust. As Finance Minister Michel Debré admitted last week: "It seems that this year the objective of the plan will not be attained."

The French blame their woes on declining foreign sales, especially to deflated West Germany, which in the past has absorbed up to 23% of France's exports, but...

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