Imagine a French Managing Director who, through the company he would have created, would boast about building a private fortune of 132 million euros in a few months. It would be an immediate scandal.

And yet, last week, an anonymous French person just won the same amount of money with a €2 entry in a game of luck, the « EuroMillions jackpot » and there is no outrage about that at all; single winner over more than 42 million grids played in Europe.

This clearly shows the strange relationship of the French people with wealth: becoming rich by chance, (or just possibly by exercising an artistic or sports activity) is tolerated.

Becoming rich by one’s work, especially if one must also direct the work of others is intolerable.

The left refuses it by Marxist ideology (designed by people who have never read Marx, first admirer of the bourgeoisie). The Right opposes it by religious ideology (designed by people who have never read the Bible, first admirer of enrichment, if it is put at the service of others). The former glorify equality. The latter poverty. They both share a common hatred of those who earn a lot of money by operating businesses. They both tolerate  inherited wealth only, carefully protected by taxation.

And yet, both left and right are looking frantically for drivers for growth. They will search in vain for them as long as they refuse to recognize that, since time immemorial, the possibility of becoming wealthy has been the key driver of market growth.

In countries where it is possible to make a fortune by creating products or services, where those who get rich are glorified, a large part of all enterprising people try everything in order to succeed. They innovate, build businesses, generate wealth, create employment. This is the case in the United States, Germany, Great Britain (Protestant countries for whom the scandal is poverty, not wealth) and today in many countries of the South, where major industrial groups are born and where microfinance recognizes the right of each poor person to become rich.

In countries like France, where wealth is increasingly frowned upon, where those who are trying to become rich are increasingly being singled out, and where taxation takes everything they earn, this driver is disappearing: fewer people are taking steps toward creating businesses; and those who still want to take this path will do so elsewhere.

In total, it is in countries where it is the easiest to make a fortune that the average standard of living is increasing faster, because emulation is a key factor in collective wellbeing. It is obviously true that the right to make a fortune must not just go to the children of the ruling classes, but so that everyone, may have access to this right, including children from disadvantaged areas.

This is obviously not the only driver of growth. Education, public utilities, the rule of law, health care for all, fair taxation are other examples, which must make it possible for each person to achieve his or her aspirations, whatever they may be, and in particular, if it is the case, to make a lot of money in an honest way.

But making a fortune cannot be an end in itself. Profit must be like the brush in the hand of the painter: a way to make one’s life, that of others around us, and those around the world, a work of art.

France will never find a path of growth without this huge ideological shift, and none of today’s pathetic debates are preparing its advent. It is therefore urgent to put the right to become rich in our national toolbox.