The French

The Anglo-French relationship has quite a rich history, from a century of war, to the current rugby rivalry. As an American, I am too glad France came to our aid against our colonial oppressors. Unfortunately, the French crown was not quite as good at accounting as sticking it to their rival. The debt incurred supporting the American revolution was one of the causes of French one.

It seems this aptitude for accounting continues to present day. A French leader recently opposed Amazon’s discount and free shipping policies. Assuming Amazon still has the right to set its prices, I pose a question. What is the difference between a ₤10 book with free shipping, and an ₤8 book with ₤2 shipping? What is the difference between a ₤10 book with a 5% discount, and a ₤9.50 book?

In the US some bookstores have closed because of competition from online retailers; however others have adapted. Barnes & Noble, a large US chain bookstore has added a coffee shop, comfortable chairs, and social events to keep business. Even B&N may be experiencing a slowdown. There may be less consumer demand for bookstores in the digital world, and I for one miss even the bookstore of my childhood that is no longer in business, I even remember the quaint smell of the place. However, there has also been decrease in demand for farriers, cobblers, and candlestick makers in response to technological change. The world seems better off for it.

Perhaps this protectionism is a product of French political system; and perhaps the best answer to it comes from a Frenchman.

Jay is studying the Diploma for Graduates in Economics by distance learning with the University of London International Programmes. He lives in Florida, USA.

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