Switzerland, European Union
History books generally refer to the golden age of French civilization in the seventeenth century as the Age of Louis XIV or the Age of the Sun King, yet, were there any justice, it would be more appropriate to refer to that historical era as the age of Colbert, for it was Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Louis XIV's minister of finance, whose wise management of the financial machinery of the French state and whose policy of economic self-reliance delivered France from the chaos of the religious and civil wars, stabilized the country and thereby provided the foundation for France's world empire and fabled cultural accomplishments at that time. 1 Karl Marx made an important contribution to the history of ideas in the nineteenth century when he perceived the essentially economic nature of social relationships and historical change. And in the twentieth century Adolf Hitler's rapid rise to power can be largely explained as a consequence of the German people's belief that the Fuhrer was the only man in Germany who was capable of rescuing them from the economic plight in which they found themselves in the wake of the worldwide depression of the 1930s. These historical examples should alert us to the fact that, without a strong economic foundation, no civilization can become truly great, and on a far more serious note, that a weak economic foundation is a sure recipe for social disaster. It should therefore come as no surprise to no one in the readership of this journal that it is essentially a difference of opinion about economic principles which is at the heart of the current dispute between the Swiss Confederation and the European Union.
Page, H. Dwight
"Magnificent Obsession: Switzerland's Role in the Future of the European Union,"
Swiss American Historical Society Review: Vol. 38
, Article 2.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/sahs_review/vol38/iss1/2