Sarkozy's Free-Market Muscle

Finance Minister Lagarde could help him cut spending and reduce red tape

Even France's most committed capitalists have long turned their noses up at the "Anglo-Saxon" model of economic development, which many French say stresses corporate profits at the expense of jobs and community. So how to explain Christine Lagarde, the new Finance Minister in Paris? A longtime partner at a Chicago-based law firm, she's the most unabashed market advocate ever put in charge of French economic policy. And her background as a transatlantic legal star and trade negotiator could prove crucial in helping President Nicolas Sarkozy carry out his ambitious reform program.

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