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Meccano industriel

English translation: playing 'Meccano' with (the) industry

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
French term or phrase:Meccano industriel
English translation:playing 'Meccano' with (the) industry
Entered by: Martin Cassell
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08:35 Sep 18, 2007
French to English translations [PRO]
Government / Politics / Defense industry
French term or phrase: Meccano industriel
Can anyone shed some light on this term? The specific context is an interview with the French Defense Minister. Meccano, AFIK, is a building toy with a bajillion parts that boys especially love, so I'm curious as to how it works as a metaphor here.

Here's the specific context:

Comment voyez-vous votre rôle de patron de l'industrie de défense ?

Ce seront les industriels qui prendront des initiatives en fonction de la stratégie de leur groupe. Il m'appartient ensuite de veiller à ce que les intérêts du pays soient préservés. J'attends aussi que les patrons de ces groupes proposent un certain nombre de restructurations à l'échelle européenne.

Vous n'êtes donc pas partisan du Meccano industriel...

Pour moi, ce Meccano ne peut pas être décidé ex nihilo au ministère de la Défense. Il doit se faire à partir des coopérations des programmes d'armement qui amènent à penser à des restructurations ou des rationalisations industrielles.


Many thanks!
Tamara Salvio
United States
Local time: 01:11
Meccano
Explanation:
The image here is of the industry itself being treated like a construction kit, whose components are disassembled and recombined more or less on a whim as divisions are sold off, merged, renamed. The phrase does seem to have some currency.

Can't call to mind a similarly "snappy" (... no, that would be Lego ...) phrase in English, though.


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2007-09-18 10:30:11 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

The phrase "industrial Meccano" has one or two uses (from mainland Europe) but it feels to me like a calque.

How about "playing Meccano with the industry" ?

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 7 hrs (2007-09-18 16:31:57 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Tamara, (speaking as a complete non-specialist in French economics) I think "Meccano" can be as much to do with a hands-off approach by the State as interventionism. See p.ex. http://www.humanite.fr/2004-03-23_Politique_Un-inquietant-Me...
.
Selected response from:

Martin Cassell
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:11
Grading comment
Thanks Martin! - I think humanité might just be put off by the state's privatisations or public/private initiatives given their political views. But whether it's grabbing companies or divesting them, it's still the State running the show and "playing meccano". But you're right in alluding that there is no single translation - it all depends on the exact context.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +2MeccanoxxxBourth
3 +1Meccano
Martin Cassell
3nesting industrial structure
Francis MARC


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
nesting industrial structure


Explanation:
just a proposal

Francis MARC
Lithuania
Local time: 11:11
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 24
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
Meccano


Explanation:
In this respect, the Airbus aircraft we know and enjoy are pieces of gigantic Meccano. The wings are (or were) made in Wales, landing gear in ... Spain(?), engines somewhere else, fuselage sections all over France, something in Germany. All the bits are transported by air, road, barge, and sea to Toulouse and bolted together, hopefully with something more substantial than the little bolts and square nuts of my Meccano childhood. Large, oversize boxes marked "Airbus" - containing fuselage sections, I think - are a regular sight on the roads near here, heading up to Les Mureaux

Since everything is a "kitset" to some extent, I fail to see the problem. Whether made in different corners of a single company or in different corners of Europe or beyond, the result is the same.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2007-09-18 09:57:36 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

"of a single COUNTRY" is what I meant to say.

xxxBourth
Local time: 10:11
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 73

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Martin Cassell: I think it's the industry which is being broken down and rebuilt from parts, not the aircraft
11 mins

agree  AllegroTrans: yes, basically my car is Meccano (although one of my sons thinks it is more like Lego)
2 hrs
  -> You don't actually drive the dreaded Allegro, do you?

agree  jean-jacques alexandre
4 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
Meccano


Explanation:
The image here is of the industry itself being treated like a construction kit, whose components are disassembled and recombined more or less on a whim as divisions are sold off, merged, renamed. The phrase does seem to have some currency.

Can't call to mind a similarly "snappy" (... no, that would be Lego ...) phrase in English, though.


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2007-09-18 10:30:11 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

The phrase "industrial Meccano" has one or two uses (from mainland Europe) but it feels to me like a calque.

How about "playing Meccano with the industry" ?

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 7 hrs (2007-09-18 16:31:57 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Tamara, (speaking as a complete non-specialist in French economics) I think "Meccano" can be as much to do with a hands-off approach by the State as interventionism. See p.ex. http://www.humanite.fr/2004-03-23_Politique_Un-inquietant-Me...
.



    Reference: http://gillesmoulin.blog.regionsjob.com/index.php/post/2007/...
Martin Cassell
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:11
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 16
Grading comment
Thanks Martin! - I think humanité might just be put off by the state's privatisations or public/private initiatives given their political views. But whether it's grabbing companies or divesting them, it's still the State running the show and "playing meccano". But you're right in alluding that there is no single translation - it all depends on the exact context.
Notes to answerer
Asker: my own research led me to the same blog ;-). I'm getting the impression that its the State playing "Meccano" with industry - backing restructurings, mergers etc.

Asker: FWIW, the blog I found most helpful was this one :http://fboizard.blogspot.com/2006/03/jouer-au-meccano-industriel-quel.html I think in the end this is State intervention (dirigisme) in industry


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  BusterK
3 hrs
  -> thanks!
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Changes made by editors
Sep 19, 2007 - Changes made by Martin Cassell:
Created KOG entryKudoZ term » KOG term


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