Martin Thomas
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The empire and the French economy
Complementarity or divorce?
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Increased trade dependence between France and the colonies in the decade after 1927 was driven by loss of export markets elsewhere rather than by significant net growth in colonial economies. In 1928 the colonial empire became France's most important trading partner. Once the depression hit the French economy in 1930-31 the empire served as a reservoir colonial, providing raw material resources and a captive market to metropolitan industries confronted with empty order books. The idea of a unified French imperial economy in the inter-war years is misleading. Colonial federations, individual colonies and even regions within these colonies were highly disparate in terms of climate, topography, ecology, economic development, the local labour market and the growth of a wage economy. The colonies' economic subordination to France, so apparent in the depression years, was facilitated by imposition of common monetary systems.

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The French empire between the wars

Imperialism, Politics and Society


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