The U.S. as a Model

The U.S. as a Model

Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber belongs to that small but influential group on the democratic Left in France which regards technological innovation as a key to a more progressive social order in Europe. These men pride themselves on their pragmatism, their lack of dogma in developing flexible combinations of public and private initiative under the spacious tent of democratic planning. They are drawn to the American rather than the Soviet model, although they remain aware of our racism and problems of poverty and urban blight. At the same time, with no illusions about the Soviet regime, they continue to evaluate both the achievement and deficiencies of Soviet centralized economic planning.

The administrators, teachers, polytechniciens, and social scientists who comprise this coalition are bound together not by a rigid program or complex organization but by a point of view. In the postwar era they considered themselves French and European. At home they wanted to shake their country loose from narrow nationalism, encrusted protectionism, bureaucratic stagnation. Equally, they wanted France to relinquish the “dream” of holding on to a colonial empire in the face of an irresistible counter-nationalism in Africa and Asia. They are a kind of new class.

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Lima