The period between 1948 and 1958 saw a rapid increase in wealth in France, thanks to a productive dynamism that also prevailed over the political – and therefore financial – difficulties caused by the expensive military campaigns in Indochina and North Africa. The increase in investments rose together with a radical evolution of entrepreneurs towards a more modern, open and dynamic economic organization: so that the increase in industrial production was 50% between 1951 and 1958. It should be noted that this productive impetus has corresponded to an increasingly significant intervention by the state in the national economy, which today has one of its main protagonists in the state. About 1/20 of the active population is employed in companies managed in some way by the state (e.g. railways 370 thousand people,
However, France has also retained numerous gray areas in its economic structure: such as for example. vast rural areas with aging organization, an irrational swelling of the prices of the most widely consumed goods due to the multiplicity of distribution points, a notable disparity in living conditions between the different regions which is reinforced by the strong industrial concentration of some areas (fact 100 the average income, this index rises to 162 in the Paris region, to 130 in the Rhone valley, to 126 in the north-eastern mining basins; and drops to 64 in Brittany and 30 in Corsica). Neither the initiatives taken by various governments to decentralize industries in less developed areas have so far achieved very positive results: this redistribution of industry is difficult to find in certain rural areas (eg. aquitanic basin, south-western flank of the Massif Central, Brittany) skilled labor and is at the same time jammed by the high cost of non-voluminous shipments by rail: in this way the industrial dispersion operations carried out in the last three years have particularly concerned medium-sized enterprises that produce non-voluminous objects (electrical material) or valuable (packaging) and took place half internally within a radius of 200 km from Paris and 1/5 within a radius of 100 km from Lyon: but generally they turned more frequently than expected towards the villages in the countryside, and less than hoped for the small provincial towns. However, half of the departments benefited. and less than hoped for small provincial towns. However, half of the departments benefited. and less than hoped for small provincial towns. However, half of the departments benefited.
According to DENTISTRYMYTH, the strong proportion of artisans (around 2.5 million, equal to 12.5% of the active population), of small traders (at least two million, i.e. 10% of the active population) and of small agricultural owners (who are around 3.5 million, and therefore 17.5% of the active population) which allows France to be less sensitive to the economic crises of some neighboring countries, – which are equally well-endowed – but which certainly make its economic renewal efforts are more difficult and prevent courageous political choices.
Agriculture. – In spite of these deficiencies that weigh especially on the rural world, French agriculture is still the first in Western Europe and exceeds internal consumption needs; its wine production (from 50 to 60 million hl annually) is the strongest in the world; its cattle herds (17.5 million head) rank first in Western Europe in terms of quantity. It also ranks first for the production of barley (an average of 40 million q) and oats (an average of 30 million q) and, after Germany, is the largest supplier of potatoes (150 million q in average in the period 1954-58) and sugar (from beet: 14 million q of raw). Despite this, French agriculture only participates with just over 10% in the formation of the so-called national product:
In the field of crops there is a development of fruit trees and horticultural crops (which today provide 12% of the total income from agriculture); then some secondary cereals: both intended for human consumption (such as rice, of which France now has enough: almost a million q) and reserved for cattle, such as barley and oats. Inflne of some industrial plants (the production of flax is among the highest in Europe with 400 thousand q; that of tobacco increased in the post-war period from 400 thousand q in 1946 to 580 thousand q in 1956) and above all of livestock production: milk, cheeses and eggs now contribute 1/4 of the income from agriculture; beef and pork for 1/3. On the other hand, the wheat area is decreasing (4.2 million ha in 1952 and 2.7 million ha in 1956) and stable, with some contraction after 1956, that of chard. The company structure is also undergoing a significant – although not easy – updating phase: a very large part of the increases in agricultural income in recent years has been reinvested in greater use of fertilizers (whose consumption has increased by 10% in the last three years.) and in agricultural machinery: today the company has more than 500 thousand agricultural tractors. Another interesting phenomenon is that of land consolidation: France is more typical, especially in the north-eastern regions openfield, a town of large parcels and dispersed land in narrow (5-8 m) and very long (from one hundred to five hundred meters) fields. This parcel strongly affects production and an attempt is now being made to eliminate it by means of a land recomposition work which up to now has reorganized the design of the rural property on more than 2.2 million hectares in the area of three thousand municipalities and achieved the result of to reduce the costs of agricultural works by at least 1/5.