The Plans

Now looking at Chapter 5 of R13, ‘Le Discours du Plan’. Will come back to the various introductory parts which include a discussion between Deleuze, Foucault and Guattari and a subsequent summary around ‘logical categories’ of collective equipment, then ‘interventions militantes’ from Marie-Thérèse. The various sections thereafter go through each of the 6 plans.

Understanding and documenting this discussion involves setting out the history of the French State’s plans and the administrative structures involved. After several unsuccessful attempts to find a digital version of the ONU Bulletin No.5 on ‘Installation et services collectifs’, which R13 say is the origin of the idea and expression ‘équipment collectif’ (eventually ordered from the BN reproduction dept., but too expensive to copy), I found digital versions of each of the 6 plans via a French gov website celebrating the 70th anniversary of the first, the ‘Monnet Plan’. These are the documents to which R13 refer, although they look at the sixth via its publication by 10/18 (surprising instance of 10/18 publishing State documents!).

So, although the term ‘collective equipment’ relates to the use of the term ‘collective services’ (‘services collectifs) in the United Nations report from 1953 (Bulletin no 5 of the ‘review’ Habitation, Urbanisme et Aménagement des campagnes) R13 focuses in the main on the 6 ‘plans’ (1: 1946; 2: 1954-1957; 3: 1958-1961; 4: 1962-1965; 5: 1966-1970; 6: 1971-1975).

These ‘plans’ have their origin in the immediate post-war when de Gaulle was advised by Jean Monnet to draw up a strategy for economic renewal following the war. [See Cobban 1965, pp. 218, 244 ff].

[Note added later: John Ardagh, The New France: De Gaulle and After, orig. Secker and Warburg 1968: ‘the war offered the French a breathing space in which to re-think the future’ (19); ‘the most important of these groups was formed around Jean Monnet in Washington, and out of it grew the ‘Plan’ which has played such a vital role in the French revival’ (20). ‘belief in expansion and progress’; ‘The innovating technocrat began to come to the fore, in place of the conserving bureaucrat’; De Gaulle’s ‘high-handedness’ and resignation of liberal ministers e.g. Edgard Pisani (first Minister of Equipment); fruits or prosperity were not shared, leading to greater social division and failure to devote resources to social progress; May 1968; Monnet’s first Plan for long-term recovery, aided by Marshall Plan (from 1947); describes the Plan as a ‘voluntary and pragmatic association between State and industry’ and points to the ‘specifically French’ element of the ‘technocrat’; ref. to nightmare vision of technocrats in Godard’s Alphaville; the main breeding grounds of the technocrats are the ‘Grands écoles’ e.g. Ecole Polytechnique or Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA) – ‘Some even elevate this (idealistic faith) into a kind of philosophy; technology is for them a key to human happiness, and an elite possessed of this secret will guide and save the world.’

Emergence here (22nd August) of the concept of technocracy; resonances with the arguments of Simondon.

Ardagh mentions that the Secretariat du Plan was based in a private house ‘in the shadow of the Ste Clothilde church on the Left Bank’ (41). Mentions that the Third and Fourth Plans ‘widened the range to include social needs, such as welfare and housing’ (46)

A lot more on the development of industry, lacks detail on culture. ]

The first plan or ‘Plan Monnet’, titled ‘Premier Plan de Modernisation et d’équipment’, focused on industrial strategy in the context of the ‘dilemma’: ‘modernisation or decadence’. The Commissariat Générale du Plan was established in 1946 to take this forward, with Jean Monnet as the lead. The report itself is in the form of a letter addressed by the Commissariat to the ‘advisory group’ or ‘Conseil’. It stresses the need for modernisation, for economic stability, and ‘collective effort’ (involving the support of Unions). It has a strong rhetorical force, arguing that modernisation is not only necessary but inevitable if France is to be a serious competitor on the global stage (that is among developed States). The problem is set out at the outset – unless France develops its own resources it will reply on imports and its financial reserves will run out. The 4 objectives it sets out are: 1) to develop national production and exports 2) increase the revenue from work 3) to ensure full employment of ‘manpower’ (main d’œuvre) 4) to elevate the quality of life of the population and the conditions of the habitats of the population. It’s worth noting that while the consultations for the national plan have to a large extent been accomplished, those on the ‘territoires d’outre-mer’ have not.

The Plan then notes that social equipment will involve further investments in 1947. The main emphasis throughout is on economic productivity (in comparison to other states which during the war had a considerable industrialisation e.g. the U.S.). The work of repair necessitates a substantial investment, particularly as concerns the ‘centres nécessaires à la vie ouvrière’. If the fundamental task is to elevate the conditions of existence of the population, there is only one efficient means: ‘Or, il n'y a qu'une façon réelle d'améliorer le standard de vie insuffisant d'aujourd'hui: c'est de produire davantage’. Immigration and the extension of the working day are only immediate measures. This (fairly cynical) perspective – more productivity for the same number of hours – is to be attained by better machines and methods. In other words, from a Marxist perspective, the worker is seen uniquely as a tool, as a ‘force of production’. Previously, it is noted, French workers produced about a ¼ less than those in the US.

Overall the emphasis on ‘equipment’ arises as part of the problem and solution – France is economically unproductive compared to other nations. In order to be competitive it has to improve the productivity of its production i.e. the value produced by each hour of work. It can’t rely on immigration (cheaper labour?) or on more hours of work, thus the machines themselves must be improved. Equipment is closely related to the machine. It is a question of ‘rénovér l'appareil et les méthodes’. E.g. in this proposition: ‘la masse d'équipements qu'elle exigera sous forme de machines, de constructions immobilières et de travaux de génie civil, sera nécessairement très importante’ (23). And this sentence is interesting: ‘A l'intérieur, il faudrait plus de travail pour produire une même quantité de marchandises et de services. La population devrait donc ou travailler plus longtemps, et cela d'une façon permanente, ou voir ses conditions d'existence considérablement aggravées, tandis que les autres pays continueraient de progresser sur la voie du bien-être.’ The first Plan thus establishes a kind of equation between the length of the working day and social conditions, and ‘well-being’. The problem is also put in terms of the productivity of e.g. 4 hours of French work vis a vis 1 hour of US work i.e. productivity per hour of work. Monnet seems to suggest that such a situation, along with the consequent lowering of salaries is susceptible to produce a ‘reaction’, hinting at the (Marxist) analysis that capital gauges working conditions against the possibility of social revolt.

Consumption is envisaged as a consequence of an increased productivity of labour i.e. it is the necessary resourcing for the labour force. ‘On peut discuter s'il n'est pas préférable de développer ou de créer telle industrie de transformation plutôt que telle autre, quels niveaux il faut se proposer pour les différentes productions agricoles, avec quelle rapidité doit se faire la reconstruction, etc ... , mais il est évident que l'expansion de la production, dans quelque direction qu'elle soit orientée, exigera des quantités considérablement accrues de charbon, d'électricité, d'acier et de ciment, une agriculture suffisamment mécanisée pour assurer à la population le ravitaillement necessaire et enfin des-moyens de transport proportionnés’.

Despite what was said earlier, the specific plans for each element point to the need for immigrant workers, especially since the departure of prisoners of war will affect the level of manpower! Each of the sections on the different areas of production underline the lack of manpower. Drawing on ‘non-active sectors’ (including ‘travail féminin’) is proposed as part of the solution, also including Algerian immigrants. All of this is on the basis of a 48 hour week, i.e. with an increase from 40 hours.

There is an important footnote on p. 85: ‘Le programme d'équipement social (hôpitaux, écoles, crèches, etc...) n'a pas encore été précisé, les dépenses de cette catégorie sont comprises dans la ligne “autres investissements” et ne sont isolées jusqu'à présent que pour 1947’. These ‘other investments’ are footnoted as: ‘Bâtiments et équipements publics divers (routes départementales, écoles, mairies, etc.), équipement social (hôpitaux, hygiène scolaire, lutte antituberculeuse, terrains de sports, etc.) et recherche scientifique’. These are costed at 80 million francs.

Consumption has to be regulated, the report goes on to say, so that the French do not consume more than they produce and allow for a certain amount of investment (saving): ‘L'exécution du plan a également pour condition que les investissements somptuaires et mêmes les investissements utiles, mais moins utiles que ceux prévus par le plan, soient différés’. ‘Il s'agit de faire en sorte que la production se relève 'plus vite que la consommation, afin de dégager une marge suffisante pour réaliser des investissements et des exportations plus importants qu'avant-guerre’. There is thus a sort of equation between production and non-production and consumption, and the global market. Consumption has to be limited, ‘si les Français le veulent’.

As noted above, throughout the report the notion of equipment is used in reference to the physical machines and raw product needed to increase productivity. Social equipment is an extension of this. Thus the idea and expression ‘social equipment’ is introduced as a kind of adjunct or extension of economic or industrial, agricultural equipment.

The commission for ‘Consumption and Social Modernisation’ entails, says the report, the examination of the ‘human and social problems posed by the Plan’. There is an acknowledgment that the provision of ‘medico-social’ equipment is insufficient. There are plans for schools, hospitals and habitations (collective ones are proscribed). P. 197 gives composition of the commission for Consumption and Social Modernisation.

Moving to R13’s analysis of the first report, we see that they underline the aspect of ‘reconstitution’, after the damages incurred by the war, and the orientation of the plan around the notion of equipment. They cite the introductory statement: ‘la reconstitution des outillages et équipments publics et privés endommagés du fait des événements de guerre’. Although the emphasis of the plan is on economic productivity, the Plan mentions in the last para. of its introduction, that: ‘L'équipement social, en raison de ses insuffisances actuelles n’a pas moins besoin d’être développé que l’équipment économique, essentiellement visé par le décret constitutive et l’un des Commissions de Modernisation a été spécialement chargée d’en dresser le Plan. Dès maintenant, une place a été réservée aux hôpitaux, écoles, terrains de sports, etc. parmi les investissements à réaliser en 1947.’

R13 underline, however, that ‘social equipment’ is subordinated to economic equipment (and that a similar proposition is included in the 6th plan, in 1971!, i.e. it is the lowest of priorities): ‘La base de départ sera ainsi créée pour entreprendre, dans une seconde étape, la transformation des conditions de vie et notamment du logement’.

The ‘special commission’ mentioned above is the ‘Commission pour la Consommation et Modernisation sociale’, the purpose of which, according to the Plan (as noted above), was to examine the ‘human and social side of the problems posed by the Plan’ (173). R13 pick out the mention of ‘medico-social’ equipment and stress the rapidity with which this is passed over. They note that there is nothing on education (presumably Universities).

The analysis in R13 identifies four related terms: economic equipment – production/social equipment­­–consumption. R13 thus identify the implicit idea here of ‘equipment of consumption’.

Further documents are identified, including the ‘report’ on the plan from the ‘first semester’ 1947, which includes a chapter on ‘public equipment’. Figures are given for the investments in each of several sectors, including ‘equipment social’, distinct from ‘research-teaching’. R13 detect ambiguity around the notion of ‘educative’ equipment. In the ‘Etat des operations du Plan’ from Dec 1949 they find the term ‘collective rural equipment’.

In other words, in keeping with the previous section in which R13 stress the importance of the terminology, (i.e. ‘collective equipment’ comes into being as a concept when the expression is used), ‘collective equipment’ is non-economic (non-productive), linked to consumption, and collective, or social, rather than individual.

The second Plan, March 1956, makes no mention of collective equipment (though it does refer to ‘equipment scolaire’ and ‘sanitaire et social’. The emphasis is on the crisis of ‘logement’. This is referred to as ‘social equipment’.

In the Third Plan (1958-1961) educational ‘equipment’ becomes a ‘social’ priority. There is opposition between ‘productive sectors’ and ‘expenditures of investment of a social character’. In other words social equipment is seen as an unproductive expense. This reinforces the distinction of the first plan between economic equipment and social equipment, but ‘economic’ becomes ‘productive’. Social equipment is seen as a kind of building. Thus a ‘glissement silencieux’ whereby ‘social’ becomes ‘unproductive’ + the new category of ‘urban equipment’.

Fourth Plan 1962-1965. Here the term ‘collective equipment’ appears for the first time, and R13 underline this. The ‘uses’ of consumption are considered. It is noted that the ‘consumer society’, assoc. with the US, veers towards ‘satisfactions futiles’ which generate ‘malaise’. ‘Perhaps’, the Plan goes, it would be preferable to put progressive abundance in the service of a ‘less partial idea of Man’. In view of a ‘greater equilibrium of human groups.’ This is a ‘texte déjà celèbre’ , say R13. I wonder why.

Collective equipments are seen as a ‘fruit’ of expansion: ‘la production est aux equipment collectifs ce que l’arbre est la consummation du fruit’. The same opposition i.e. productive/unproductive or production/consumption. But this is supplemented by another opposition between ‘individual consumption’ and ‘collective consumption’. ‘Individual’ consumption is associated with the US, which produces ‘futile satisfactions’ (for false needs). Collective consumption relates to a ‘real need’ and a total man. R13 comment: ‘on est dans le champ de l’humanisme.’

Collective equipment is thus immediately and organically linked to the representation of man but also to ‘man in the city and the ‘movement of urbanisation.’

Social is confused with ‘public’.

5th Plan – 1966-1970. Collective equipment becomes part of the language. It is put on the side of (unproductive) consumption. But there is confusion over where it comes in terms of financing. Collective equipment is confused with administrative financing. R13 say this is a ‘telescopage’.

6th Plan 1971-1975 – floating terminology. ‘Les mots dansent’. ‘Collective function’ appears.

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