France and Germany have one worrying similarity: Both seem incapable of coming up with a sensible industrial policy.
In Germany, it’s seen as synonymous with state intervention and is therefore taboo. In France, this is the area where politicians seem determined to show their mettle. Both approaches can spell trouble.
Germany’s transition to renewables was decided upon without being backed up by a suitable industrial policy. Now, the environment, consumers and energy companies are all paying the bill.
In France, governments on both the left and the right try to lead sectors and companies to success by decree and if this success doesn’t come about, everyone hurries to cover up the failure with new interventions which make an even bigger mess. Then, an economic mishap becomes a political disaster.
And nobody seems to learn from this. Instead, new graduates come along from elite schools trying to prove themselves by meddling with companies.