Contemporary Austrian Politics

Contemporary Austrian Politics

Contemporary Austrian Politics

Contemporary Austrian Politics

Excerpt

Helmut Kramer

At the beginning of the 1990s, on the basis of the indicators most commonly used to rank countries economically, it is clear that Austria is one of the dozen or so of the world's most prosperous countries. Austria is classified as a small state with respect to its total population, and it could be considered a middle power in the areas of art and culture (Austria has 0.14 percent of the world population, about 1 percent of world output and a 1.32 percent share of world trade).

This advantageous position, according to the dominant standards of development (Kramer 1983; Katzenstein 1984; Höll 1985), goes hand in hand with the extremely intensive interconnection between society and economic policy in the international system. As with other economically successful small states--nine of the fifteen richest countries in the world have a total population of less than 10 million--the Austrian economy is to a high degree open to world trade. More than a quarter (26 percent) of the goods produced in Austria are exported. If one adds services produced for the international market, particularly tourism, the export quota increases to 47 percent. The consequences of the rapidly increasing economic internationalization of the last decades--that is, the intensification and consolidation of international economic relations (and at the same time the increasing importance of economics in international relations) and the dependency that results from it--in many ways affect small countries more strongly and directly (Kramer 1983; Höll 1983; Jaeggi 1983). Therefore, measures to promote economic recovery, decisions on economic and social policy, foreign trade and monetary policy must be made while carefully considering international developments, the positions of the major powers and of the transnational . . .

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