President of the De Cristoforis Strategic Studies Center (Italy)
The existence of economic warfare was perceived as early as in the 19th century by intellectuals of the caliber of Victor Hugo and academicians from diverse fields as the ineluctable evolution of the logic of conflict, which, from material war waged on battlegrounds by soldiers with arms, would be transformed into a “softer” form of encounter between nations in the international marketplace, and subsequently into a free exchange of ideas among free spirits.
The tensions underlying international exchange are indicative of the importance of cultural factors in economic warfare and oblige companies to be aware of the scientific progress if they intend to continue developing.
It took France a long time to define a culture of its own in the field of intelligence, and until the previous century, the French word renseignement had a negative connotation. The political elite considered this activity to be degrading and comparable to dirty police work.