In 1883, the traveling engineer Conrad Claeys is sent by the Company of Fives-Lille to Argentina. The company builds trains, bridges, and sugar refineries throughout the world. At the end of the 19thcentury, globalisation of the economy is underway and Conrad Claeys is one of its pioneers.
A century and a half later, the phenomenon has become routine; French engineers still traverse the globe for the same company: like Conrad Claeys, Lionel Goiset must set up a new factory, no longer in Argentina, but in China. The international standing of this company of the North of France has long been a source of pride for its workers.
During the 1950s, Fives-Lille employed over 5,000 people at its vast factory premises in Lille. Then globalisation became synonymous with relocation and factory closures. French industry was forced to adapt…
What is left in today’s globalised world?