How Successful Were Colbert's Reforms in Strengthening the French Economy in the years 1661-1683
Jean-Baptise Colbert was a Royal advisor to the king. He was later made the Minister of Finance in France in 1665. While he was one of the King's royal advisors he made several reforms to try and strengthen the French economy. The result of these reforms were mixed.
Before 1661 the French economy was in ruins. The economy had been greatly damaged by the 30 years war and there was also great corruption among the nobility. Colbert knew to get the French economy moving again he had to create and protect french industries, restrict imports and encourage exports. He did this by endlessly regulating and supervising what came in and what went out of the country. He tried to make French industry especially in luxury items, the first in Europe. He was partially successful with this and France was known for making certain luxury items, for example tapestry and porcelain. This had a positive effect on the economy as France was seen to make high quality products that were desirable.
To get France's internal and external trade going again it was clear that other factors of industry needed to be reformed. Before Colbert's reforms transporting goods across France was costly and tedious. Many duties had to be paid as you moved from one part of France to another and by the time the product had reached it's destination it had already lost a significant amount of it's value. Colbert replaced this complicated system with a simple import and export system. This was successful and trade and industry increased as now it was far more efficient.
For luxury products to be exported the transport system in France was in a desperate need of reform. Colbert knew to get products to their destination quickly and efficiently new roads, canals and ports were needed to be built. This was successful in strengthening the economy as it provided employment for people which meant more money was...
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