1March 2013 marks the anniversary of what will hardly be commemorated: the thirtieth anniversary of the change in economic policy taken by the François Mitterrand government in March 1983, a little less than two years after the political changeover of 1981. This was a change in direction known as the "austerity turn," even though the expression was carefully banned at the time by its users. Its consequences were such that it warrants reexamining it closely, even more so because current events seem to be returning us to neighboring shores thirty years later. The event was surrounded by a little mystery and many tales. Erik Orsenna, who was an advisor at the Elysee palace at that time, gives his account of the context surrounding Mitterrand's decision. The main problem, behind the state of public finances, was in fact the parity of the franc and the mark within the framework of the European Monetary System. Jean-Michel Quatrepoint reconstructs the facts behind the issue and analyzes the effects of the French defeat in the monetary battle.
2The turn is still too recent for the historians to have fully understood it. Jean-François Sirinelli considers the ways and manner they might approach it.
3What if we take the same path again? Of course, we never step twice into the same river and the circumstances are quite different. However, it is difficult to fight against the feeling that history is repeating itself when confronted with the direction that François Hollande's government is taking today. Franck Dedieu, Benjamin Masse-Stamberger, and Adrien de Tricornot look into the parallels between the situations and strategies. At a minimum, the benefit of such a comparison highlights the mistakes to avoid.