Solidarity - France Economic History

" Solidarity", France and Belgium Economic History

Solidarite is a term much used in France and championed by such men as C. Gide and L. Bourgeois. The distinguishing features of their plan seem to be the abolition or fundamental modification of the wages system and the emphasis given to cooperative action and various forms of voluntary association. It regards as the foundation of solidarity "those voluntary contractual associations and institutions that are created deliberately with a view to creating this feeling."

Solidarite rejects the principle of competition, and so stands opposed to Liberalism. On the other hand, as accepted by most of its adherents, it differs from State Socialism in opposing the extreme length to which State Socialism goes in favoring government action, and from revolutionary Socialism in general in that it disbelieves in the efficacy of revolution or expropriation. Although considerable divergence exists among the ideas of its followers as to the part that the state should play, it virtually accepts the program of the so-called Katheder Socialisten as laid down by Schmoller.

Charles Gide (1847-1932), whose Cours d'economie politique is one of the outstanding products of French scholarship, himself proceeds from a historico-sociological standpoint, and it is significant that he both studied with Roscher and was influenced by Comte.

It must be admitted that, after Walras, and while dominated by "positivism" in method, no great work in general economic theory was produced by a French economist. The Liberalists worked along Classical lines, merely adopting parts of Marshall's system without any essential addition.