A New Politics of Social Solidarity in Post-Crisis Europe?

This is a power point presentation I will deliver at the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies (AIAS), at the University of Amsterdam, on Thursday 5th April. The title of the paper is ‘the Labour Market Response to the Eurozone crisis in Germany, Spain, Netherlands and Ireland’. Our conclusions point to distinct trajectories of liberalisation, premised on historically specific political coalitons, and challenges some of the core assumptions underpinning the ‘Varieties of Capitalism‘ theory. 

All are welcome. The abstract is as follows:

 The institutional architecture of the Eurozone prohibits adjustment to shocks by means of devaluations or exchange rate adjustments, and has exposed a variety of coordination problems in the EMU. Given this constraint, and using a comparative political economyframework, we will examine the labour market response to the crisis in Germany, Netherlands, Spain and Ireland. We will examine to what extent domestic policy responses follow a neoliberal logic of liberalization, supply-side measures, austerity and differentiation/inequality, or an egalitarian logic of coordination, demand-side measures, social protection and  equality.

We are particularly interested in trying to understand why certain responses have been prioritised over others at national level and to what extent they are being induced by domestic interests and/or European constraints. We illustrate that the national labour market reform strategy in our case studies are shaped by domestic political interests. The outcome is a form of coordinated labour market dualisation in Germany, coordinated liberalized flexibility in the Netherlands, liberalized de-regulation in Ireland and liberalized labour market segmentation in Spain.  

All of this seriously calls into question the future of diversity of European varieties of capitalism, and begs the question whether we need a new politics of social solidarity in post-crisis Europe?

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