England and France, despite their historic rivalry throughout much of European history, share many important similarities. Their forms of government, economies, and political systems share important commonalities that make an analysis of the political and economics environments in the countries insightful. This sample essay from an Ultius professional writer explores the stark contrast between England and France.
Political and economic environment of England and France
The political and economic environment of England is similar to many other Western countries. They operate under a constitutional monarchy, which supports a prime minister as head of government. The current Prime Minister is David Cameron, who was elected to office in 2010. Cameron is the youngest Prime Minister in the history of the country’s constitutional monarchy. The Prime Minister of England has worked with other governments for decades to encourage trade and cooperation. The English government has a very traditional structure. Since taking office, Cameron has made it his goal to improve the UK’s position in the global race.
He stated he will do this by “increasing connections with the fastest-growing parts of the world.”
With this goal in mind, Cameron has planned several upcoming trips with the focus of these meetings on trade. The locations of his trips include Mexico, Indonesia, South Africa, Cambodia, and Kazakhstan. The government is hoping to double UK exports by 1 trillion pounds by 2020. Although some may thing this is a somewhat lofty or unrealistic goal, Cameron believes it is highly feasible with the backing and support of congress and the people of England.
Growth of markets
Currently, the politics and economics of England are closely tied because the Prime Minister is focusing heavily on the state of economics and England’s position within the European Union and global markets. Cameron explained in a recent speech:
“There are valuable markets out there that just haven’t received the attention from government that they deserve. Places like Mexico, Kuwait, Vietnam, Algeria, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, South Africa and Morocco.”
Cameron has made a great deal of changes with the economic end goal in mind, and many of his efforts have paid off.
In fall 2012, UK was officially ranked 8th most competitive country in the world. This was an increase from being ranked 10th just 12 months earlier. The competitiveness ranking is determined by the World Economic Forum (WEF), and it takes multiple factors into consideration when ranking countries.
British macroeconomic policy
According to the WEF:
“UK’s macroeconomic environment – the general health of the economy –remains weak.”
Cameron’s efforts are, in part, intended to strengthen the overall health of the economy after the European economic crisis left much of the continent in shambles. He believes that increase exports will create more jobs, which will strengthen business and help the economy grow stronger. Cameron advocates his position by saying:
“There is a global race out there to win jobs for Britain and I believe in leading from the front. So I make no apology for linking Britain to the fastest-growing parts of the world.”
Cameron wants to see members of Parliament acting more proactively in making foreign relationships that may lead to trade agreements. While he has both supporters on detractors on both sides of the issue, he remains focused on his plan. Unfortunately, there are other political issues that the UK government needs to address. Although these are not economic in nature, they did have influence on has others countries view the government as a whole. For example, Parliament has recently come under fire for being sexist.
The recent allegations made against the Parliament are being investigated. However, situations like this can lead to the government being misjudged or looked at in a bad light. Allegations have come out that former Lib dem chief executive, Lord Rennard unwanted sexual advances to a peer. Channel 4 News presenter Cathy Newman also got a taste of the widespread sexism, which she discussed in her news report:
“I was a political correspondent based in the Westminister lobby, for more than a decade before I started presenting Channel 4 News. I can vouch for the fact that it is a male-dominated environment…and yes, there was the odd instance of sexism directed at me.”
Although an investigation into Parliament being sexist does not have anything directly to do with the economy, the outcome of this investigation could make people look at England differently as a nation and a trade partner. There could be a good deal of public criticism. While Cameron has successfully completed the goals he set out to do, he may also need to stop and deal with the things happening around him.
France and the competitive marketplace
England isn’t the only country attempting to increase their activity in the global marketplace. France has also been working to be more competitive. Holding on of the most influential memberships in the European Union, the country has to abide by internal and EU laws. France has both a Prime Minister and a President. The current structure of the French government was created fifty years ago after the creation of the Fifth Republic.
The government of France is unique in a number of interesting ways. First, the parliament is not like England’s Parliament or the Congress in America. It is run on its own terms. Secondly, France practices a two-round single-winner voting; opposed to the single-round voting in places like the US. With its unique government structure leading them way, the country has worked to improve the overall condition of the country and increase their global competitiveness.
The French government has been working on redefining their image within the global market. In February 2013, the French industry minister, Arnaud Montebourg, hosted a glamorous event designed to highlight the many new high-tech designs being worked on. Montebourg has been waging a war against the image of French many other industrialized countries have.
One such incident involved the foreign owner of a company operating out of France publicly said he thought French workers were “lazy, overpaid and unproductive.”
This image of French workers is, at least in part, due to the actions of the unions. Montebourg is fighting the allegation in hopes of saving the image of the country and its workers.
France is eager to welcome foreign investors to the situation; however arrangements need to be made, so dismiss rumors and negative comments about French workers. He has already been down turned since they lost a position of competitiveness to Germany. Overall, France is sliding worse into a recession and face many of the same economic problems as America. Taxes are higher than they have ever been, and the government has already announced they will not make its deficit-reduction target in 2013. Even other French business leaders have acknowledged the negative comments and stereotype of French workers. Clara Gaymard, who is the head of the GE brand at the corporate level, Gaymard said:
“France’s image abroad is poor….[but] we are both a wonderful country and a very irritating one. This is the image France is attempting to replace. Their goal is to get more France-base companies to build and expand in France, while attracting foreign companies and investors.”
2012 Elections and France
The 2012 elections in France, as well as Greece, occurred simultaneously with the stock market noticeably falling. Many have suggested the stock market falling was a direct result of the elections because people no longer have faith in their government. While the United Kingdom is gaining positions in global competitiveness, France is losing them. They lost their position to Germany in the most recent evaluation.
“France has rapidly become less competitive relative to euro-area trade partners; at the start of the crisis French unit labor costs were well below those around the periphery, but they have since risen while high unemployment has squeezed down wages elsewhere.”
Another problem France experienced that England is not is the issue of the Euro (the principle currency of the European Union). Some European leaders and analysis are starting to argue the Euro is not going to last. France is distressed by the affect a calmer financial market, like the one it is experiencing now, will have on the Euro. There is widespread concern that the countries depending on the Euro as currency are going to experience a crash within the near future. This would only worse the situation for the French. Overall, France’s domestic economy is diminishing If confidence in the market fades too much, the government may crash.
The differences between the French political and economic environment and the British political and economic environment are drastic. While England is taking strides towards increased trade and global competition, France is moving backward. They are losing their footing in the global market, and their domestic market is also suffering. With the threat of the Euro crashing, the French economy may crash all together. To make matters worse, there is a great deal of political tension and arguing that does nothing to solve the economic issues. While not everyone in the UK agrees with all of Cameron’s decisions, they are not preventing him from trying, and he is demonstrating results. Since taking office, the economy in the UK has noticeably improved.
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