Thursday, November 29, 2012 | 9:55 AM
Concrete, not canvas, was the backdrop for our first Big Tent in Paris. We held the event in the imposing Palais d’Iéna, home of our hosts the Conseil économique, social et environnemental. The President of the CESE, M. Jean Paul Delevoye, pointed out that concrete was the great symbol of progress when the palace was built in the 1930s.
Today, the Internet represents progress and the day’s theme was to ask how the digital revolution can bring economic growth back to France and Europe. According to a new OECD study, the Net already accounts of 13 percent of American business output, impacting every industry, from communications to cars, and restaurants to retail. OECD economist Taylor Reynolds called on other countries to collect data in order to make comparable estimates in other countries. In a video message, the French digital economy minister Fleur Pellerin said digital companies grow faster and are more profitable than others in Europe. That’s why, she said, digital companies must be at the heart of future French economic growth.
While that idea sounds uncontroversial, it provoked a series of hotly debated questions during the course of the day. Does the digital revolution create or destroy jobs? How do we balance the value of data and the protection of consumers? Why do investors in digital startups prefer London or Berlin to Paris? We heard about the size of the opportunity for France, as in this film.
We also heard about the scale of France's competitive challenge, as in this film promoting London, not Paris, as a home for start ups.
For France, will it be a digital revolution, or bust?