While both countries had the same sorts of export surplus in the early 1990s, they have diverged massively since the D-Mark and franc were fixed in perpetuity. Germany has a current account surplus of 5pc of GDP: France has a deficit of 2.7pc, anathema for Colbertistes.
You can see from IMF data that the silent coup took place in the fat years of the global boom when Germany forced down unit labour costs; -1.7pc in 2003, -4.0pc in 2004, -3.3pc in 2005, -1.8pc in 2006.
Just a little note for the various lefties insisting that as Germany has been a successful economy we should therefore do what Germany has been doing.
I\’ve no problem with the idea of looking at what works then copying it. Seems like a very sensible thing to do in fact. But you do have to identify what it is that has been working.
And in Germany it hasn\’t been apprenticeships, nor unions on boards, it isn\’t manufacturing and it\’s not a bank rather than stock market financing system.
It\’s been screwing down the workers\’ wages.
So, when you start advocating screwing down the workers\’ wages so that we can copy Germany I\’ll be all ears. Until then, perhaps you could continue to work on that analysis of what did go right in Germany?