When the pandemic began, I immediately called on our industrial apparatus to go into the economy of war in order to make a forced march to produce masks, respirators, medical and hospital equipment, vaccines, which we lacked so much at that time. We didn’t. And we were able to fill these gaps in the best possible way with large impacts (and cost) of imports, except for masks and gel, which, after a latent period, were followed by textile and luxury goods manufacturers.
The result is tragic: while some of our neighbors made their industrial transition too hasty, we were content to buy what they produced on credit.
Mobilizing voices and working overtime
The transition to a wartime economy requires a real mobilization of public opinion and very strong technical measures: much higher wages, especially overtime in these industries; provide unlimited subsidized credits to any manufacturer that reliably starts such production or retools less needed production lines. Some countries have done this. Not to us. We have not even compiled a list of these companies, nor the benefits that should have been provided to them.
Today, the same refrain has to be repeated for other directions: it is no secret to anyone that our armies, like the armies of all other European countries, will soon be sorely lacking in ammunition and weapons if they continue, to their credit, to find ways provide the means to defend themselves and counterattack those in Ukraine who, on our behalf, are resisting the advancement of the dictatorship on the front lines.
These funds, if not drawn from our arsenals, consist of new products from our weapons companies, which are rejecting orders placed with them by our armies. In both cases, and at the present pace, our forces will soon be, if not already, unable to secure their posture of containment, much less a defensive posture if adversity requires it.
Keep your plants running 24 hours a day
Therefore, it would be urgent, very urgent to force the industrial enterprises of the defense sector to work in a forced march; force them to produce weapons and ammunition 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, paying the necessary price for this, “by all means”. Complementing it with the reconversion, temporary or permanent, of companies or, to a lesser extent, factories, ideally suited to these new needs: for example, the entire automobile industry could produce weapons.
Thus, “by all means” should concern, first of all, the production of goods for defense and security by those whose work it is, and through the retraining of those whose products are clearly listed as harmful to the environment and health. So it will be an opportunity to also force-march the tools needed for climate change and the agri-food transition, for water, for waste management, for the media and for democracy; In short, in all sectors of the economy life.
Show the aggressors that we can defend ourselves
It would also give any potential, if not likely, aggressor a clear signal that if they attacked us, we would have the means, at least the material ones, to defend ourselves.
And here again, you need to make a list of these companies and put them into operation as soon as possible, with exceptional salaries and working conditions: this is what the war economy is.
France, like other countries, did not do this early enough and en masse enough, in the years of great tension that preceded the first two world wars. To be convinced of this, it is enough to re-read, for example, such cruel pages dedicated to this by Stefan Zweig in Yesterday’s World and Mark Blok in Strange Defeat. Everything is.
Of course it won’t be easy.
common EU project
It requires preparation, organization, recruitment, release of practical and technical initiative at all levels in organizations. administrative and above all political will of all and always. It should also be a common project of all members of the European Union, calling on the continent to give itself the means of its sovereignty, the conditions for maintaining its way of life and its standard of living.
Again, we are very far from that.