The French economy was radically transformed after World War II. Economic stagnation in the 1930s, caused in part by the conservative attitudes of businessmen and bankers, had resulted in France lagging behind its nearest neighbours in 1945 in terms of its degree of industrialization and modernization. A large proportion of the population still worked in agriculture (using very outdated farming methods), and small businesses, which were equally unproductive, proliferated. The traditional image of France was thus of a rural France profonde (depths of France) dominated by artisans, small shopkeepers and the peasantry. The economic history of France in the latter half of the twentieth century is thus, on the one hand, a tale of how state intervention helped to turn the economy around to make the country one of the top five industrial nations of the world, but on the other hand, the story of how the state was to become the scapegoat for the country’s economic ills as the ideology of economic liberalism took hold in France.