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Emmanuel Macron Wants to Pay Workers a Dividend

The newly reelected French president is taking a page from Charles de Gaulle’s playbook in proposing a more equitable division of corporate profits.

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Illustration: Charlotte Pollet for Bloomberg Businessweek

From France’s struggle to rebuild after World War II through the riots of May 1968, Charles de Gaulle championed an idea for rallying workers and getting the country back on its feet: A more equitable division of profits between employers and the employed would create a path between communism’s “implacable and perpetual dictatorship” and capitalism, he said.

By the general’s own reckoning, opposition from a coalition of detractors spanning Marxists to libertarians meant his economic philosophy was only partially realized during his time as president. More than half a century later, President Emmanuel Macron is dusting off the Gaullist textbook in an attempt to save France—and himself—from political and economic crisis with what he calls a “worker dividend.”