The Futures of European Capitalism

The Futures of European Capitalism

The Futures of European Capitalism

The Futures of European Capitalism

Synopsis

In this path-breaking book, the author argues that European countries' political-economic policies, practices, and discourses have changed profoundly in response to globalization and Europeanization, but they have not converged. Although national policies may now be more similar, especiallywhere they follow from common European policies, they are not the same. National practices, although moving in the same general direction toward greater market orientation, continue to be differentiable into not just one or even two but three varieties of capitalism. And national discourses thatgenerate and legitimate changes in policies and practices not only remain distinct, they matter. The book is a tour de force which combines sophisticated theoretical insights and innovative methods to show that European countries generally, but in particular Britain, France, and Germany (for whichthe book provides lengthy case studies), have had very different experiences of economic adjustment, and will continue to do so into the future.

Excerpt

As a term, globalization has often been left vague and undefined, better to conjure up the large panoply of forces that have seemingly imposed similar imperatives across advanced industrialized countries. These forces may be understood primarily in terms of the economic pressures stemming from the internationalization of the financial markets and trade and the rise of global corporations; the institutional pressures emerging from the rules and rulings of supranational trade organizations and collective actors; and/or the ideas circulating worldwide that present those economic or institutional forces as imperatives for change. But whether seen mainly as a set of economic, institutional, or ideational forces, globalization has served as a major rationale for governments to alter their countries' monetary policies by focusing on tight budgets, low inflation, and caps on public debt, deficits, and spending; their industrial policies by liberalizing the financial markets, deregulating the rules governing business, and privatizing public sector firms; and their social policies by cutting social spending, rationalizing social services, and increasing flexibility in labour markets.

In consequence of globalization, governments have given up significant amounts of national autonomy—that is, their ability to make decisions independently, without regard to external economic forces and actors—and national control—that is, their power to influence economic forces and actors operating in the national territory, whether externally or internally based. But they have also in many instances managed to retain or regain control over those forces and actors. They have done this individually through national regulation as well as through their influence over global economic actors, given such actors' continued national grounding politically, culturally, economically, and managerially. and they have done it collectively through supranational economic governance institutions and collective actors which,

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