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Atlantic Capitalism versus Rhine Capitalism in the European Community

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Abstract

The advent of the Single European Market in 1993 has prompted a debate about the differences between the German social market economy and the British liberal market, and whether these can coexist. ‘Rhine Capitalism’ based on social solidarity will remain a source of competitive advantage through its emphasis on continuous development of labour skills and technology. Britain's ‘Atlantic Capitalism’ lacks such a framework for dialogue between government and producer interests, which will make the creation of a national competitiveness strategy to counter deindustrialisation problematic. At the European Community level, some regulatory framework similar to Germany's Ordnungspolitik will probably emerge to underpin the operation of the Single Market.

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1. Theoretical Perspective: Social Forces and the Struggle Over European Order 2. Global Restructuring, Transnational Capitalism and Rival Projects for European Order 3. The European Roundtable: an Elite Forum of Europe's Emergent Transnational Capitalist Class 4. The Roundtable's Changing Strategic Project and the Transnational Struggle over European Order 5. Transnational Class Agency, the Rise of 'Embedded Neo-Liberalism' and the Evolving European Order References
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Despite political support and reiterated calls for re-industrialization, the German model (defined as a strong industry backed by the banking sector; greater cooperation between trade unions, the government and corporate boards; an export-driven economy) has remained unachievable in France. The industrial sector and exports have been receding since the 1970s; industrial relations have deteriorated and the ‘National champions’ policy (that is, picking winners, for example, Airbus, or creating them via mergers, subsidizing large-scale pivotal industries, for example, IT Plan of 1968, coal and steel industries) was abandoned in the 1980s. Did that vacuum let the British model slowly take root in France? Are France and the United Kingdom heading toward greater convergence, or do elements of differentiation remain? This article argues that despite some changes to a more liberal political economy in France, British-modelled ‘active’ labor policies, and a shift to international and financial capitalism remains stronger in France than in the United Kingdom. The current crises help highlight persistent differences.
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The 2007–09 financial crisis has prompted critical self-reflection, not least because of the socioeconomic costs to more susceptible social groups. This paper targets public policy accounts of EU integration for their agent-centred, pluralist analysis, which systematically failed to address latent asymmetries and inequalities. For this reason, these accounts are largely incapable of either explaining the crisis except in contingent terms or of suggesting fruitful political responses. Instead I outline a historical materialist apparatus to contextualize the financial crisis within the longer-term rise of financialized capitalism in Europe, its key agents and dominant worldviews. In turn, I employ this apparatus to examine post-2000 EU financial integration before suggesting certain key lessons for a post-crisis agenda.
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Accounts of the future of the welfare state are often presented in crisis terms. Some commentators identify globalization as a force that has already led to a major retreat by the state and is likely to lead to further downsizing of the public sector. Others see the future burden of an aging population as creating huge public expenditure pressures that can be countered only by increased parsimony in most areas of spending. Although both crisis scenarios contain elements of truth, analysis of recent public expenditure trends shows that both are substantially exaggerated as general representations of likely developments over the next two or three decades. However, unnoticed by most commentators, a real, longer-term crisis is beginning to make itself felt. This crisis arises, in part, from the demographic impact of a cultural transformation in the labor market, in progress for several decades. Extreme scenarios of possible consequences over the next 50 to 100 years include population implosion, mass migration, increasingly dangerous eruptions of right-wing populism, and, possibly, territorial conflict between developed and underdeveloped nations. This is not a crisis of the welfare state but rather a crisis for which the welfare state may be an essential part of the answer. The only way Western societies can lessen the future impact of the ongoing cultural transformation of the labor market is through the redesign of welfare state institutions to confront these new challenges.
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Considers the extent to which a single market will be achieved in Europe, its likely characteristics, and the impact it will have on national approaches to market regulation and vice versa. The study focuses on Britain and Germany in order to compare two contrasting approaches to 1992, which are explored through industry case studies which examine the interactions of market- and policy-led forces. Each study concentrates on the analysis of one of two broad areas of EC legislation: issues of mergers, standards, and public procurement; and sectoral studies of telecommunications, banking, and insurance. The authors argue that Britain and Germany will strongly influence the eventual form of the Single European Market, and therefore present significant clues to the tasks facing the EC in the near future. -after Authors
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This article presents new evidence of the ‘hollowing out’ of British manufacturing. It shows that large British firms are building up their overseas activities while the manufacturing operations which remain in Britain are increasingly sheltered and low tech. The authors argue that these developments set limits on the effectives of national industrial policy. Britain's peculiar national problems must in any case be seen as part of a larger European problem about German manufacturing predominance
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This article examines the impact of international business on the kind of class compromises that evolved and characterised many West European societies until the late 1970s. It raises the question of why class compromises endured longer in Austria and Sweden than in Belgium and the Netherlands. The argument is that domestic business in Austria and Sweden has fewer alliances with international capital and is, therefore, in a sense less integrated in world markets than those in Belgium and the Netherlands. The conclusion of the article, based upon recent trends, points out that the differences between the four countries appear to be rapidly disappearing.
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This article examines the empirical and theoretical validity of the power of banks over industry in West Germany. An outline of the historical development, structure and institutions of credit in the Federal Republic is followed by discussion of the three alleged factors behind the banks' power: the functional linkage of bank and industrial capital; property rights and ‘personal influence’; the planning and economic guidance capacities of the banks. Finally, it is argued that the thesis of bank power in Germany, in the light of empirical evidence and theoretical reflection, should be somewhat more differentiated.