Carl Lagerfeld and some guest blogging from Emilien Chalancon, my student

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This time, instead of publishing my own train of thought, I am publishing the work of my student, CHALANCON Emilien, from Université Jean Monnet, Saint-Etienne, France (Department : Business and Administration, IUT Saint-Etienne). This is an essay prepared for a course in International Economic Relations, and devoted to the phenomenon of the so-called Yellow Jacket Movement.

I publish my students’ work, with their consent, of course, when I find a particular piece of writing particularly mature and bearing a sharp scientific edge. Here comes a piece of writing that shows intellectual maturity and the capacity to think beyond political correctness.

When I read any news about the Yellow Jacket Movement, I recall that social advertising, in 2008, precisely for yellow jackets and road safety, featuring Carl Lagerfeld saying: ‘C’est jaune, c’est moche, mais ça peut vous sauver la vie’, which, in English, spells: ‘It’s yellow, it’s ugly, but it can save your life’. Go figure why I make this association, still I tend to perceive French people in yellow vests as sort of dashing and trendy. Following some trends, anyway.


Here comes the exact wording of the essay by Emilien Chalancon.


FRANCE and Yellow Jacket movement


 To begin…

Liberté. Egalité. Fraternité. Over time, there is one nation has been differentiated from others by its freedom, social system and diversity: FRANCE. In fact, this state was the creator of the notion “soft power” and social security system. As you know, a big part of our medical treatment, school education, unemployment revenue is taken care by the state, it’s free. We call that “sécurité sociale”.

Citizens have the deep conviction that workers must pay contributions to people in need. That’s France: mutual help and respect. This is due to a national distribution of richness: 20 % percent of revenue goes to the tax system. The People is the Nation.

But, unfortunately, what made the greatness of my country before, is today a national and international element of discord. A part of the population is fade of the government and direct debits in our incomes. For some French people, the contribution for the unemployed, and other health insurances is too high.

Furthermore, citizens have to pay for wages of civil servants ( 5 million live in France). This collective tax payment, which is increases every year, force people to develop a hate around the government.

The social system is constantly calling into question also according to the crisis and many national protest movements. The last one is the most symbolic and violent of this century for my state. Since November, the “yellow jackets” riot with strong aggressiveness and this affected all the country.

The most alarming is that it spreads to economic and financial level’s inside and outside France (rate of jobs, Gross Domestic Product, National Stock Exchange). This last idea brings us to the following problematic: What are the economic and financial consequences of the Yellow Jacket movement at the domestic and international level for France?

First, we will explain the movement of yellow jackets. Secondly, we will see the economic and financial consequences at the domestic level. And then, we will finish with the consequences at the international scale.


I-Origin of Yellow Jacket

II-Economic and financial consequences at the domestic level II-Economic and financial consequences at the international scale

     I-Origin of Yellow Jacket

 Since few years, the French government has to face with endogenous and exogenous elements. The financial crisis of 2OO8 encouraged the State to raise taxes, cost of living and grew dramatically the public debt. This was necessary because of our social system : as I said before, it’s based on equal distribution of income. But salaries of the people did not follow that trend. A certain number of inhabitants still are not able to pay taxes and to live.

The price of food, clothes, gas, rent, petrol are always increasing. In November 2018, the government raised the amount of 8 centimes for petrol and 10 centimes for gasoline (= 0,35 PLN). This was the straw that broke the camel’s back! People are exhausted about the government.

From November 17th, 2018, the movement is organized around road obstructions on highway and national roads. After many violence with police and none dialogue with the President, yellow jackets demonstrators started to destroy symbolic national monuments. Actually, they want to overthrow the establish governments and believe that Mr. Macron didn’t listen the “national anger”.

But why people reacted just for that ?

For my point of view, I didn’t understand the reaction. In our history, my people always made crazy revolutions from very soft reasons. Since 2 years, our economy is on top 7 on the international ladder, we also won the last football world cup in Russia (it creates very powerful social link for a country to win a football cup).

The election of Mr. Macron (pro-entrepreneurial) encouraged many citizens to create their own business and promoted commerce. I mean, the environment was very enjoyable. But, a little rise of the price of petrol, and everything goes wrong…

To finish with, I think the life is too much comfortable in France. We are used to live with excessively wellbeing according to our social care system. A little inconvenience makes people mad. This is another argument that justify the creation of Yellow Jacket movement.

The issue is very dramatic for the economy and the finance of France: the minister of economy, Mr. Lemaire, speaks about a “disaster”.

II-Economic and financial consequences at the domestic level Economical aspect:

First, France has the world’s 6th largest economy by 2018 nominal figures and the 10th largest economy by PPP figures. It has the 3rd largest economy in the European Union. It is an agricultural, industrial and tourist power both on a European and on a global scale. France has a diversified economy: industrial, tourism, luxury, aerospace engineering.

The industrial sector (chemical, metallurgical, automobile) is one of the most develop and profitable for the State (12.4% of GDP). There is big group likes: Boiron, SNF, ArcelorMittal, Omerin and so on…

The Yellow Jacket movement has strongly compromised the activity of its companies. In fact, among the 280 000 participants of manifestations, a large number are workers and other employees of these industrial enterprises. Due to a significant number of demonstrators over the country, businesses have difficulty to hiring massively qualified workers.

Furthermore, the tourism is another big sector of revenues (84 million international tourist arrivals every years). The principal destination is of course Paris. Unfortunately, deteriorations by demonstrators of l’Arc de Triomphe, or also Les Palais des Tuileries, les Champs-Elysées decreased dramatically the number of tourists. From November 23 to 27, according to the MKG Consulting Observatory – OlaKala Destination, there have already been between 20,000 and 25,000 overnight stays canceled for the whole of December.

All these elements have huge impacts on the economy. On December 10, the Minister of the Economy linked the movement of Yellow Vests and the decline of growth, citing a decrease of 0.1-point growth of our national wealth.

On December 10, the national bank “Banque de France” announced that, it divided by two the French Gross Domestic Product growth rate it forecasts according to Yellow Jacket movement.

We could see an increase in business failures early next year, not only small traders but also larger distributors.

This type of event tends to accelerate the structural change of consumers towards the Internet sites. 41,000 employees were placed in partial activity or unemployed because of the closure of businesses.

And finally, the movement has several impacts in other economic sectors: the decline in turnover is estimates of 15% to 25% in supermarkets, 20% to 40% in the retail trade, and from 20% to 50% in food service.

Financial aspect: CAC 40 affected

The CAC 40 is a benchmark French stock market index. The index represents a capitalization-weighted measure of the 40 most significant values among the 100 highest market caps on the Euronext Paris. These values correspond to the most rentable financial French companies like: Airbus, BNP Paribas, Carrefour, LVMH. The stock market place, called “Bourse de Paris” is in the street quarter of “La Défense” in Paris.

The Yellow Vests rioted with strong hostility in “La Défense” street towards Chief Executive Officers of CAC 40 enterprises. This violent manifestation has forced some executives to move temporally to another European stock market place.

The CAC40 reduced its earnings penalized by Vinci (-3.1%), Carrefour (-3.3%) or AccorHotels (-1.5%) : three values victims of fears related to the national protest movement of Yellow Vests.

At the “Bourse de Paris”, the shares of the incumbent operators (EDF and Engie), which supply electricity and gas to regulated tariffs, fell by 7% and 2.9% respectively between 4 and 10 December following the raise of the petrol price’.

For the supermarket sector : Carrefour shares lost 13% in one month and Casino 4%.

French government bondholders now require 45 basis points more compensation than a 10-year Bund (first time in the history of my state).

III-Economic and financial consequences at the international scale Economic aspect:

Before Yellow Jackets

France had always been a model of diplomacy & welfare state. The election of Mr. Macron in may 2017 attracted many foreign companies to settle its businesses in France, closed to borderlands and reinforced international relations with our partners (Germany, Spain, USA). Our top 10 partners, which account for two thirds of our trade (67%), remain mostly European countries and continue to be so. Germany retains both its first position, its weight in our trade, which has decreased very little since 2012 (from 17.2% to 16.9% in 2016) and its gap with our other partners.

Moreover, China even accepted to buy an incredible number of French public debts thanks to a secure political climate at the end of 2017. This operation is also a strong wish to implant Chinese enterprises in France and to control economic decisions of the French government (if you control public debts of a country then you control the domestic government).

But, following to the Yellow Vests riot, all these plans have been completely modified.

Yellow Vets impact

For the rest of the world, Yellow Jacket movement constitutes the 2nd French revolution. This national attraction made many discussions in other countries about the social and economic stability for my nation. In Europe as in the United States, the media once again put the “yellow vests” on the front page. The image of Macron, so far very favorable, is degraded. And we all know that Chief Executive Officers of giant groups take very close attention to medias and social stability of a country to implement their companies there.

The manifestations in Bordeaux have strongly scared the giant Japanese Toray Carbon Fibers based in the city. Actually, the group wants to move from other European country.

Furthermore, at the end of 2018, the Spanish enterprise MECALUX group (nb 2 in European logistics) had for project to create a big subsidiary in France. But this move was canceled according to an insecure atmosphere in my state.

And this kind of example are numerous…

Financial impact:

The street quarter of “La Défense » in Paris is the second financial place in Europe. The first rank is detained by “The City”, famous place of London. With the Brexit treaty, many big financial companies and credit rating agencies based on The City want to move from another attractive place.

La Défense was the first choice of many of them. Macron created attractive fiscal conditions, the street was redesigned to receive these new companies. By the way, all the conditions were perfect for this new implantation of financial enterprises in Paris.

But, like always, the Yellow Jacket movement had scared financial enterprises based in London to move from Paris.

At the moment, Italy is probably the new desire of the financial companies.

Finally, some foreign investments of USA & China in favor of France were cancelled. Walmart & Chinese Petroleum wanted to finance new operations (Walmart subsidiaries in Paris, petrol extraction in the middle region of France). All of them are remove to new project because of Yellow Vest movement.


“Gilets jaunes” put the mess in my country. Now, I am still in an inexplicable situation. WHY MY COUNTRY MAKES STUPID THINGS WHEN EVERYTHING GOES WELL… Why?

Maybe because with have too much things, too much safety.

 Maybe because we are spoiled child. But Yellow Jackets are not the only




Carl Lagerfeld and some guest blogging from Emilien Chalancon, my student



This time, instead of publishing my own train of thought, I am publishing the work of my student, CHALANCON Emilien, from Université Jean Monnet, Saint-Etienne, France (Department : Business and Administration, IUT Saint-Etienne). This is an essay prepared for a course in International Economic Relations, and devoted to the phenomenon of the so-called Yellow Jacket Movement. Read more at



Yellow vests movement, student,    


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