Politics in Gaullist France: Coping with Chaos

By Charles Hauss | Go to book overview

10
Centralization and Alienation

Parts 2 and 3 examined the Fifth Republic's successes at two levels. On one were the specific advances made under Presidents de Gaulle, Pompidou, and Giscard d'Estaing in economics, foreign policy, and overall governmental effectiveness. Those achievements certainly were important in their own right, but they also had a second level of meaning-- for the French system as a whole. Because of the changes made in the aftermath of 1958, the Gaullists were able to create a new regime with the potential for successful policy-making in general, not just during those years or in those policy areas.

The problems with the new republic existed at both levels as well. Chapter 9 showed that there were problems in a host of specific policy areas. Now we must see that those problems, like the successes, were not idiosyncratic, but reflections of the very bases, structures, and assumptions on which the Fifth Republic was built.

There is a very neat symmetry to the successes and failures. The Fifth Republic "coped with chaos" to the degree that it successfully got at two of the root causes of the traditional syndrome--the party and parliamentary systems. On the other hand, it has had policy problems and has inherent, endemic regime-level problems as well, because de Gaulle and his supporters did not do the same with the two other historical trends--centralization and alienation. Their very success at coping with the first half of the syndrome made the effects of the second worse.

The cumulation of inequalities can also be seen as the concentration of power in far fewer hands than had been the case during the Fourth Republic. At least among the groups that lost out in the process, that new powerful state left scars. In short, despite and because of the re-

-129-

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Politics in Gaullist France: Coping with Chaos
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables and Figures ix
  • Acronyms xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Part One THE PROBLEM 1
  • 1: Chaos and Coping 3
  • Part Two BUILDING BLOCKS 25
  • 3: The New Republic 27
  • 4: De Gaulle, the Presidency, and the Republic 41
  • 5: The Party System 55
  • Part Three SUCCESS 69
  • 6: Stability for Growth 71
  • 7: Foreign Policy and the Pursuit of Grandeur 83
  • 8: The Economy 97
  • Part Four THE NEW PROBLEMS 113
  • 9: Cumulative Inequalities 115
  • Notes 127
  • 10: Centralization and Alienation 129
  • Part Five CONCLUSIONS 143
  • 11: Curing the Evils of Faction Gallic Style 145
  • 12: The Evils of Curing the Evils of Faction 159
  • References 169
  • Index 179
  • About the Author 183
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