We judged it better to content ourselves with the untroubled possession of the domestic market than to risk the hazards of the world market, and we built a solid fortress of tariffs. Within the boundaries of this limited, but assured market, the French live calmly, comfortably enough, and leaving to others the torment of great ambition, are no more than spectators in the struggles for economic supremacy.From the "standard work" on the period, E.O. Golob's The Méline Tariff, at 245, quoted in William Bernstein's A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World, at 345 (2008).
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Economist Henri Truchy writing in 1904 about the French national character: