Nationalization, French-Style

In the U.S., the idea that the state should own major industries conjures up images of such titans of inefficiency as the Postal Service or British Steel. French Socialists cite a far different example: the Renault automobile company, which General Charles de Gaulle nationalized in 1945 to punish Founder-Owner Louis Renault for allegedly collaborating with the Nazi Occupation and which today stands out as one of France's most dynamic enterprises.

Renault is the world's fourth largest automotive firm.* It earned profits of $160 million last year, compared with a $349 million loss for...

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