Courtesy Reuters


The biggest celebrity in France last year was neither an entrepreneur, nor a sports figure, nor even an entertainment personality. It was the sheep farmer José Bové, whose claim to fame was his destruction of a French McDonald's last August. He followed that with a triumphant trip to the Seattle meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO), bringing along 400 pounds of smuggled Roquefort cheese. Bové's protests against American-style globalization and U.S. trade retaliation against European products resonated strongly with the French public and politicians of all stripes. Indeed, in a nearly unanimous show of national support, France is now taking the international lead in the outcry against globalization.

Some might find it paradoxical that one of Europe's most successful economies would attack globalization so forcefully. France's unfolding conversion to market liberalism is partly a conscious effort by policymakers and partly an unintended byproduct of European

This article is part of our premium archives.

To continue reading and get full access to our entire archive, you must subscribe.

  • Sophie Meunier is Research Associate at the Center of International Studies and Lecturer at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University.
  • More By Sophie Meunier