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Banks and Industry in France and Britain from the 1880s to the Second World War

André Straus Directeur de recherches, CNRS ; enseignant, université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.

Most of the comparative studies about the relationships between banking and industry on the long term have been focused on the comparison between Britain and Germany. The discussion concerning the relative efficiency of each financial system vis-à-vis the growth of industry in those countries has often been stated and is relatively well known. To propose another comparison could enlarge the problematic. I propose here a comparative study about the relationships between banking and industry in France and in Britain from the last third of the nineteenth century until World War 2. The reasons of this choice are the following. Firstly the two countries are the first that began to develop industrialization. Secondly, during that long period, their financial systems have known some important alterations. Finally, in going away from a comparison Britain/Germany, often based on a frontal opposition between market-based and bank-based financial systems, I hope to help to lead to a more comprehensive and nuanced appreciation of the realities of the financing of industry and of its problems.

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