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From Triumph to Crisis: Neoliberal Economic Reform in Postcommunist Countries

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Abstract

Cambridge Core - Political Economy - From Triumph to Crisis - by Hilary Appel
... According to various analyses, these countries have enacted "banking" (Mér} o & Piroska, 2016), "finance" (Johnson & Barnes, 2014), or "economic nationalism" (Bohle & Greskovits, 2018). Together with Russia, they pursued a model of developmental statism explicitly invoking economic nationalism and openly seeking to confront liberalism as the major threat to their countries (Appel & Orenstein, 2018;Bluhm & Varga, 2020). It is, however, unclear why these countries would embrace economic nationalism. ...
... It is, however, unclear why these countries would embrace economic nationalism. Several explanations focus on discontent with the economic results of globalisation (Appel & Orenstein, 2018;Toplišek, 2020) or the societal demand stemming from domestic business following the late 2000s crisis years (Naczyk, 2014;Scheiring, 2019). This article's contribution is a study of the development of economic nationalist ideas; it argues that important parts of these countries' political and intellectual right-wing elites sought a break with liberalism already around the turn of the century. ...
... Economic nationalism in Poland and Hungary is usually explained in terms of these countries' disappointment with liberalism following the financial crisis of 2007-2008 (Appel & Orenstein, 2018) or as a reaction to "neoliberal globalisation" (for a review, see Toplišek, 2020). This article adds to these explanations an analysis of how "neoliberal globalisation" came to be perceived as a threat in Poland and Hungary, two countries most closely associated with its successful pursuit. ...
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This article emphasises the non‐economic goals of economic nationalism and in particular its often overlooked political goals. Drawing parallels between economic nationalisms in Central Europe and East Asia, it focuses on Poland and Hungary and asks why did these countries turn to economic nationalism. The article traces this turn to ideational foundations developed by right‐wing intellectuals over the last two decades, arguing that right‐wing intellectuals believed that liberalism has failed what they conceived of its most important (political) purpose, the need of a radical break with the communist past. Based on a study of the writings and careers of leading Polish and Hungarian right‐wing intellectuals, the article draws attention to the nature of the perceived threat to the nation. It contributes to the sociology of nationalism an analysis of how such a threat emerges and translates into a guiding idea of illiberal economic policies.
... CEECs remain distinctive within Europe and the world (Grzymala-Busse, 2017, S4; Krekó & Enyedi, 2018;Thijs et al., 2018), in part because they embraced neoliberal economic policies more than any other developing world region (Appel & Orenstein, 2018;Pula, 2018). CEECs rapidly liberalized and globalized their economies while cutting social provision dramatically for populations that believe that the state should play a strong state role in welfare provision (Pop-Eleches & Tucker, 2011). ...
... Scholars have theorized that CEEC governments continued to advance liberal economic policies due to a desperate need for foreign capital (Appel & Orenstein, 2018;Bohle, 2020;Nölke & Vliegenthart, 2009;Shields, 2019). Under communism, CEEC enterprises ran on outdated technology. ...
... In order to attract foreign investment, CEECs competed with one another to adopt neoliberal economic reforms (Appel & Orenstein, 2018). International financial institutions such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) created ranking systems that showed exactly what type of reforms to introduce. ...
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Since 2008, Hungary and Poland have developed a distinctive populist economic program, which has begun to spread to other Central and East European Countries (CEECs). This article develops a theory of the political economy of populism in CEECs, arguing that these countries’ dependence on foreign capital constrained them to follow (neo)liberal economic policies. After the global financial crisis, populist parties began to break from the (neo)liberal consensus, ‘thickening’ their populist agenda to include an economic program based on a conservative developmental statism. Case studies of Hungary, Poland, and Serbia describe these policies and show that they exhibit a particular form of economic nationalism that emphasizes workforce activation, natalism, and sovereignty. This shift has gone hand-in-hand with attempts to attract investments from Eastern authoritarian states, illustrating the connection between CEEC development strategies and sources of foreign capital.
... Academic research on knowledge transfer in the area of social policy has strongly focused on the 'Washington Consensus', a set of neoliberal policy prescriptions promoted primarily by international financial organisations (cf., for example, Appel and Orenstein, 2018;Babb, 2013;Babb and Carruthers, 2008;Ban and Gallagher, 2015;Béland and Orenstein, 2013;Brooks, 2015;Broome, 2015;Farnsworth and Irving, 2018;Li et al., 2015;Orenstein, 2008bOrenstein, , 2011Sabatovych, 2016;Schlaufer, 2019;Schmitt and Obinger, 2013;Vadlamannati, 2019). Conditional loan agreements of the WB and IMF for financially struggling countries were often accompanied by structural adjustment programmes (SAP), which 'have long been criticised as a coercive form of economic reform measures' (Stone, 2012: 491; on the effect of IMF conditionality, see Daoud et al., 2017;Forster et al., 2019;Kentikelenis et al., 2015Kentikelenis et al., , 2016Lee and Woo, 2020;Nelson, 2017;Rickard and Caraway, 2019;Stubbs et al., 2017). ...
... In a related argument, Appel and Orenstein (2018) describe the willing adaptation of the transferred knowledge and even exceedance of advice, the neoliberal ideas of the 'Washington Consensus', in Central and Eastern Europe. The 'Washington Consensus' prevailed in various forms and to varying degrees across the post-socialist world for nearly two decades independently of the political orientation of the respective governments. ...
... In particular, it tests the assumptions of the literature regarding the neoliberal agenda ('Washington Consensus') promoted by IOs through knowledge transfer and about the power they supposedly have through loan conditionality to impose their will on countries in financial need. In addition, it examines 'avant-garde measures' (Appel and Orenstein, 2018) of neoliberal reforms exceeding the requirements from IOs. Starting at the beginning of the knowledge transfer process (i.e. with the advice IOs hold in store), this article is primarily a (descriptive) text analysis using qualitative content analysis to test assumptions of the literature on a detailed empirical basis. Thus, it advances the understanding of IOs by subjecting prominent claims in the literature to empirical scrutiny. ...
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This article tests the assumptions of the literature regarding the neoliberal agenda (‘Washington Consensus’) promoted by international organisations through knowledge transfer and about the power they supposedly have through loan conditionality to impose their will on countries in financial need. In addition, it examines ‘avant-garde measures’ of neoliberal reforms exceeding the requirements from international organisations. Looking at the social policy concepts and advice these organisations give countries in the former Soviet Union, it utilises the example of healthcare reform in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. The article examines the general advice these organisations gave between 1991 and 2018 for the reorganisation and management of the countries’ healthcare systems, especially concerning the introduction of a mandatory health insurance system.
... The bias explains how the continuing power of neoliberal globalists is solely contingent on the ECE's dependency on foreign direct investment (FDI), which has been declining since the GEC. Appel and Orenstein's (2018) ideationalist account highlights the one-way change. Neoliberal globalists therefore lose to conservative nationalists due to the declining FDI because the ECE societies are reduced to calculating subjects which simply adjust their ideas to the economic flows. ...
... In the 2000s, the globalist projects replace them as a result of the EU accession and the FDI inflows. Since the 2010s, the rollback scholarship observes the renationalising projects which replace the globalists ones (Appel and Orenstein 2018;Fabry 2019;Toplišek 2020). Besides these nationalist and globalist orientations, I recognise the role of economic interests and moral worldviews in shaping these projects. ...
... Researching the Czech pension reform, I further break the binary association between economic globalism and neoliberalism on the one hand, and that between economic nationalism and anti-neoliberalism on the other. The ECE pension privatisations epitomise the globalist projects in the 2000s, while their partial reversal is characteristic of the nationalist projects in the 2010s (Naczyk and Domonokos 2016;Appel and Orenstein 2018). The 2013 Czech pension privatisation presents, however, a fusion of neoliberal nationalism and globalism in the self-imposed austerity management of the GEC (Myant et al. 2013). ...
Article
Neoliberalism has been allegedly challenged in East Central Europe. The neoliberal rollback by both nationalist forces and their economic nationalism in Hungary and Poland is commonly used to confirm this regional generalisation. In this generalisation, economic nationalism promotes anti-neoliberal state strategies because it challenges the economic globalism which was formerly privileged by the neoliberal globalist forces in these strategies. This paper challenges such a generalisation. Focusing on Czechia, it counterargues against this rollback thesis by stating that neoliberalism has overcome the global economic crisis and the political crisis of its austerity management. The transnational class approach is then offered as an alternative to the rollback scholarship: contrary to the rollback thesis, Czechia illustrates how economic nationalism can also promote neoliberalism. Moreover, Czech neoliberalism remains resilient because a pragmatic coalition of two neoliberal—nationalist and globalist—forces retains an enduring influence on the country’s economic strategies. These findings cultivate the regional generalisation but contribute subsequently to the broader debate on the worldwide rollback of neoliberal globalisation due to the political rise of economic nationalism.
... At the same time, Hungarian welfare and housing policies were replaced by family policies which mainly support working middle class families (Szikra, 2019). Fiscal policy in Hungary has seen the late introduction of 'flat' (personal income) taxes, which is regarded as a clear indicator of 'neoliberalism' (Appel & Orenstein, 2018). Economic nationalism and protectionism in the field of banking, telecommunication and public utilities is combined with generous support for the influx of FDI into productive industrial sectors, such as car-making (Bohle & Greskovits, 2019). ...
... Fidesz intends, as has been claimed early on by Tóth et al. (2012, p. 148), '[…]to strengthen the position of the elite and the upper middle layers of Hungarian society in order to put them in a position to ignite a new development phase based on their capital and savings and to lessen the role of foreign actors'. A strong interventionist state to the benefit of domestic companies has been also PiS' driving economic paradigm (Appel & Orenstein, 2018). These changes are about the creation of something loosely resembling a 'developmental state' that fosters the emergence and strengthening of domestic economic actors for the sake of national survival (Bluhm & Varga, 2020). ...
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Focusing on the emergence of ideas and the knowledge networks involved in producing a counter-narrative to the liberal and neoliberal ideational consensus of the 1990s and 2000s, this contribution traces the intellectual trajectory of the illiberal turn in Poland and Hungary. We make use of the ideational scholarship differentiating between public philosophies, problem definitions and policy solutions to discuss how illiberal state transformation and heterodox socio-economic policies became the new paradigm that the two ruling parties PiS and Fidesz have promoted during the last decade. We suggest that the viability of PiS and Fidesz’s policies was largely conditioned by the increasing influence of conservative networks in the public sphere which prepared the grounds for these reforms. The contribution discusses the main intellectual actors, structures, and ideas paving the way and legitimizing illiberalism in the two countries.
... Kornai, 2016;Magyar & Madlovics, 2020;Mih alyi & Szel enyi, 2020) and Poland (Plattner, 2019;Przybylski, 2018;Wodak, 2019). On top of that, recent political processes being unveiled in Hungary and Poland tend to be also frequently described as a backlash toward (neo)liberal economic orthodoxy prevailing in these two postcommunist countries (Appel & Orenstein, 2018;Csaba, 2022;Lendvai-Bainton, 2017;Scheiring, 2020). In this article, we argue that this interpretation might be disputed ...
... He even formulated the next step -"build a country in which foreign banks and bureaucrats do not tell us what to do" (Naczyk, 2014). Appel and Orenstein (2018) notice that the initial successes in avoiding austerity measures stem primarily from the de facto nationalization of the funded pension pillar, which in turn helped to ease short-term fiscal pressures, creating a space to manoeuvre for the newly elected Hungarian government. ...
Article
This article aims to assess the causes of the recent emergence of Polanyian counter-movement in Hungary and Poland and their attitudes towards neoliberal orthodoxy prevailing in post-1989 socioeconomic development. This article is structured as follows. Firstly, we approximate the fundaments of neoliberal thinking through the inner workings of Vanberg and Hayek. Secondly, we incorporate the Polanyian framework, focusing primarily on the concept of a countermovement. Lastly, we assess the development of neoliberal features in the political economy of Hungary and Poland, trying to position the emergence of Fidesz and Prawo i Sprawiedliwo s c (Law and Justice, PiS) into this development. We argue that both countermove-ments emerged as a result of general discontent with neoliberal development. Whilst the political economy of Orb an's regime remains critical of neoliberalism mainly in the rhetoric, camouflaging neoliberal orthodoxy with developmental rhetoric , the conservative governments in Poland made a substantial shift from the neo-liberal orthodoxy following their rise to power in 2015.
... They advertised it a simple, business-friendly tax scheme that would boost international competitiveness of the country. Any within country flat tax opposition was weakened by the fact that rising number of neighbouring countries was adopting the flat tax (Hilary Appel and Mitchell A. Orenstein 2018). ...
... This was mostly theoretical reasoning as no evidence existed that introduction of the flat tax would bring these positive effects. Before the 1990s except Hong Kong no country had experience with the flat tax (Appel and Orenstein 2018). ...
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After the breakup of former Yugoslavia Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia followed different income tax reform trajectories that could explain currently different levels of income inequality in these countries. Our paper analyzes redistributive effects of introducing progressive tax systems, like the ones currently implemented in Slovenia and Croatia, in the Serbian context. Using microsimulation modeling and Survey on Income and Living Conditions data for 2017 our results suggest that implementation of both Croatian and Slovenian tax system would yield lower levels of income inequality and poverty if applied in Serbia. Slovenian system achieves larger decrease in inequality due to higher tax burden on the top incomes and brings significant increase in tax revenues. Croatian tax schedule achieves stronger decrease in poverty as more generous personal allowance exempt higher portions of low incomes from labour taxes.
... In most cases, these new owners were strategically interested in receiving rents. Only rarely were they prepared for any creative adaptation of the privatized property to rapidly changing domestic and international technological, economic and political conditions (Appel and Orenstein, 2018;Mencinger, 2013;Zaslavskaya, 2018). The Soviet transformation model was not literally followed in all Eastern European countries. ...
... The values are interpreted as covering destructive trends in value-normative systems and practices. The trends include the spread of the culture of extreme versions of commercialism, consumerism, bureaucratic efficiency without human touch, tolerance for deepening economic and political inequality, foreign dominance, etc. in opposition to traditional and most modern ideals of justice in the organization of social life (Ágh, 2019; Appel and Orenstein, 2018). ...
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The paper contains analyses of attempts at explaining the profound changes in Eastern Europe after 1989. The analyses are guided by the conceptual framework of social interaction. It covers the micro, meso and macro level of the social organization. The first target is the theory of transition. The diagnosis reveals some constructive features of the theory together with its difficulties to get operationalized and effectively used in explanations. The major deficit of the theory is the absence of a concept of society. Based on the concept of social interaction the conceptual framework of societal transformation efficiently functions as a heuristic tool and as an organizer of knowledge. Is the societal transformations conceptual framework sufficient for a full-fledged explanation of the reform processes in Eastern Europe? The search for an answer leads to increasing relevance of the region’s involvement in the globalization. The conclusion is that the impact of global trends should be integrated in the explanatory procedures of the continuing transformation of Eastern European societies.
... These policies were more liberal and marketconforming than those of other European states. Appel and Orenstein (2018) argue persuasively that such extremely liberal policies were adopted as a means of 'competitive signalling' by CEE governments seeking to attract foreign investment. Indeed, before the economic crisis, FDI flowed into CEE states, but as their economies grew, inequality increased across the region. ...
... For the most part, labour market policy has been characterized by liberalization and flexibilization, with CEE governments responding to pressures from foreign investors for strong control over hours and pace of work, conditions of labour agreements, and hiring and releasing of workers. (Appel and Orenstein 2018) According to Fodor and Kispeter, 'labor is vulnerable to ebbs and flows of international investments (2014: 387). ' A significant share of employment throughout the region, typically estimated at about 20 per cent with levels varying across countries, is informal or off-the-books, meaning that it is not subject to enforcement of minimum wage levels, social security taxes, safety measures, etc. ...
Chapter
Development of Welfare States in East-Central Europe 2010-2020
... However, experimentation with alternatives has started in several parts of the world. In Eastern Europe, for instance, increasingly vocal critics of liberalism have called for, and soon started experimenting with, developmentalist policies reminiscent of East Asian state-led development (see Appel and Orenstein, 2018;Bluhm and Varga, 2020;Buzogány and Varga, 2021;Orenstein and Bugarič, 2021). But successes of radical-right-wing parties were not limited to the semi-peripheries of the global economy. ...
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Studies of the Global Right usually trace its intellectual underpinnings to the revolutionary conservative New Right and its ideas claiming to defend an ‘ethno-pluralist’ European identity from the multiculturalist threat of a ‘Great Replacement’ through immigration. A second lineage, which we refer to as ‘national-conservative’, is less explored and is more concerned with threats to moral order and the loss of moral bearing due to liberalism’s relativism. These two intellectual lineages, and corresponding political alignments, engender different political projects of the Global Right, which is not that coherent as it seems. Taking a long-term historical-ideational perspective that underlines the power of ideologies as templates, we argue that a closer look at the different intellectual traditions of the Global Right can help explain the contrasting political preferences for socio-economic action, institution-building and transnational cooperation.
... Overall, upon evaluating Albania's own stated 2015 to 2020 social protection strategy, the EU seems to be heading toward a general social goal with clear standards on labor law, equality, health and safety at work and non-discrimination. Overall, due to EU member states belonging to different welfare regimes, no distinct social model is prescribed for candidate countries; meanwhile financial consolidation seems considered to a greater extent (Appel & Orenstein, 2018). Indeed, the 3% deficit/GDP ratio is considered the higher end for state budget deficit as established in the Maastricht treaty; however, tighter budgetary requirement inevitably have an indirect impact on social policy and with the UK leaving the union, stricter financial regulation might be enforced. ...
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Pension policy reform in post-communist countries received attention from most international organizations since the early 1990s. Accordingly, Albania has implemented comprehensive liberalization and privatization of the state sector since transitioning to a market economy. This study will look at the impact that the European Union (EU), the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund had in guiding the Albanian state-run social security system toward principles of decentralization, liberalization and privatization. Specifically, social security reforms between 2009 to 2019 will be examined, along with a focus on the side-effect of the conditions imposed by the three organizations. A mixed-method including literature review and secondary data analysis will empirically evidence growing inequality, with senior citizens poverty rate sharply rising due to reforms in social security. Our conclusions will argue that closer ties with the EU will keep social security in its current form, as the EU does not push for a specific pension system, while the World Bank policy influence will lose ground, thus freeing Albania from periodic social security reforms.
... The prospect of a 'return to Europe' provided a focal point for economic and political institutionbuilding, around which elites and societies in the Baltic states could rally. Tough economic reforms were quickly adopted in order to meet the conditions for entry to the EU, while the countries extricated themselves from Russia's energy infrastructure (Appel and Orenstein 2018). The nation-building process was nested within a broader Europeanization agenda -which also involved rejecting the Soviet/Russian legacy, and portraying Russia itself as the antithesis of European values (Graney 2019). ...
... On a related yet analytically unrelated note, attributing this crisis to the process of catching up with the West has gained much traction in recent years. Some scholars point out that the transformation process of CEE is as yet incomplete (Morys 2020), while others, on the contrary, highlight a crisis in the actual direction of the transition (Appel and Orenstein 2018). For some the crisis has not to do with the supposed model per se, but rather with a mismatch between high expectations, based on often unrealistic popular beliefs about the model, and the outcomes of the transitional process for parts of the population. ...
Article
Days after the European Union resolved a dispute with Poland and Hungary over a rule of law mechanism that threatened to halt the bloc’s €1.8tn budget and coronavirus recovery fund, the clash between the two sides is widening. Both countries saw opinions go against them in the EU’s top court yesterday. What began as a confrontation over democracy and the law, moreover, is fast becoming a culture war. . . . Despite having a liberal-minded urban youth, Poland and Hungary remain, overall, more socially conservative than many western European societies. For both ruling parties, appeals to family values are popular with their rural, older voter base. But evocations of traditional values also create a narrative that obscures the true nature of the showdown with Brussels and western EU members. This is over democracy and rule of law: judicial reforms, restrictions on media and erosions of checks and balances that help PiS and Fidesz to entrench themselves in power. Instead, the two parties can claim to be fighting back against alleged EU attempts to impose “alien” liberal values on unwilling societies. — Financial Times , 17 December 2020 Over the past decade, the Hungarian leader has boasted of creating an “illiberal democracy” and has faced allegations of cronyism and corruption. Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has only been in power for five years but has also mounted an assault on judicial independence and rule of law in that time. — The Guardian , 9 December 2020 Bearing this division over central values in mind, this special issue steps toward an exploration of the contested region that is Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), shedding light on some of the ongoing complex societal developments that make it noteworthy.
... Bedeutende Teile der politischen Eliten und der Bevölkerung in Polen und Ungarn begegnen führenden EU-Repräsentanten mit Abgrenzung oder sogar Ablehnung. Solche Haltungen und Praktiken weisen darauf hin, dass die EU im Gegensatz zu den 1990er Jahren und zur Zeit der EU-Osterweiterung an normativer Orientierungskraft im postkommunistischen Raum verloren hat.Die Autoritätseinbußen der EU werden zum einen mit den seit 2008 in und von der Union erlittenen Krisen erklärt(Appel und Orenstein 2018, Ther 2014, Buštíková und Guasti 2017, Matthes 2016, Bohle und Greskovits 2012. Die globale Finanz-und Wirtschaftskrise infolge des kollabierenden US-Immobilienkreditmarktes, die darauf folgende Eurozonenkrise und die Flüchtlings-/Migrationskrise seit 2015 erschütterten das Vertrauen in die EU. ...
Book
Das Buch analysiert die Lage der Demokratie in elf postkommunistischen EU-Mitgliedstaaten und in Ostdeutschland. Dreißig Jahre nach den friedlichen Revolutionen in Mittel- und Osteuropa gibt es Erfolge und Chancen, aber auch Fehlentwicklungen und Defizite, die im Kontext von europäischer Integration und Transformationsgeschichte untersucht und eingeordnet werden. Das Buch bietet allgemein interessierten Leser*innen einen strukturierten Überblick sowie vertiefte Kenntnisse zu den einzelnen Staaten und dem Sonderfall Ostdeutschland. Dieses Buch eröffnet interessante Vergleichsperspektiven und eine systematische Wissensbasis zur Demokratiequalität im postkommunistischen Raum. Gleichzeitig werden Motive, Abläufe und politische Ergebnisse der EU-Osterweiterung im Zusammenhang dargestellt und die noch zu lösenden Aufgaben beschrieben.
... However, Western and Eastern European neo-nationalist populisms share similar roots related to the lived and culturally filtered experience of class in the context of globalization. As most Eastern European states went further in adapting avantgarde neoliberalism (Appel and Orenstein 2018), they are now the avant-garde of the illiberal countermovement, though the roots are similar. The region's experience resonates quite well with the qualitative work on Trump and Brexit supporters, which has also shown that working-class populism in the US and UK is connected to rising social and regional polarization and a sense of being left behind as new regional economic centers emerged. ...
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The world is facing a new wave of autocratization. The coronavirus pandemic has further accelerated this global democratic backsliding. Though each country has its local history, some of the social foundations of illiberalism are similar worldwide. These divergent and convergent social requisites of illiberalism are the subject of this chapter. After clarifying the relationship between the concepts of "populism," "illiberalism," and "democratic backsliding," the chapter reviews the empirical literature related to these phenomena. Explanations of illiberalism cannot be reduced to mono-causal theories. Dominant cultural and overly agent-centric approaches have a proclivity to downplay the role of economic-structural tensions. The chapter shows how political-economic approaches to illiberalism in East-Central Europe can offer novel insights into the social foundations of illiberalism. The chapter concludes by arguing for complex, interdisciplinary approaches that refuse to pit culture, the economy, and politics against each other as separate variables. These factors act in concert through people's everyday perceptions of economic change and political entrepreneurs' maneuvers to maintain and forge class coalitions and shape institutions.
... They became resentful of the rise in immigration and the impact of globalization on the quality of lowskilled jobs, both of which are linked to lower wages and higher unemployment. They felt left behind by rising inequality and neoliberal reforms (Appel & Orenstein 2018, Huber & Stephens 2014) and by disparities in economic power (Epstein 2020). Economic anxiety and resentment were interlinked with a cultural and racial backlash on the part of voters alienated by immigration, the spread of cosmopolitan values, and the empowerment of women and minorities ( . ...
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How has populism transformed party systems in Europe? I survey the varieties of populism, the sources of their support and the different ways that they appeal to voters. I use data from the Chapel Hill Expert Survey to explore whether populist parties are intensifying competition on the cultural dimension, accelerating the decline of mainstream parties, and increasing polarization. I argue that while left and center populist parties have upended existing structures of competition, it is longstanding conservative parties, re-modeled using ethnopopulism, that have been the most consequential for the substance of political competition and the trajectory of domestic politics. I consider the behavior of incumbents and argue that varieties of populism should shape our expectations of what happens when populists rule: While left populist parties in power over the last decade have tended to become more ordinary, sometimes even shedding antiestablishment and anti-EU positions , ethnopopulist parties in power have used harsh "us-versus-them" appeals , misinformation, and democratic backsliding in their pursuit of more power.
... Several authors have stressed that the transfer of knowledge needs 'knowledge actors' as carriers, exporters and introducers of new policy ideas. Transnational actors act as purveyors of ideas at the transnational level and are linked to the national policy process through their connections with domestic policymakers (Appel and Orenstein, 2018;Jacoby, 2008;Stone, 2000). Besides nation states, knowledge actors also include IOs, external NGOs, think tanks, consultancies, experts and academics. ...
... It derived from the contradicting logic of the first freely elected governments' surge to advance transition driven by neoliberal ideology and to satisfy their constituents' demand for protection and economic development. Development finance was defined between the contradictions of the Washington Consensus policy scripts of International Financial Institutions (IFIs), local elites (Epstein, 2008;Johnson, 2016) and the need to attract foreign capital (Appel and Orenstein, 2018), which effectively saw no room for "traditional" development banks in public administration, on the one hand. ...
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Eastern members of the European Union have turned to development banks only to a limited extent so far. In this chapter, in order to understand why the “development imagination” of Eastern governments remained restricted, we look at the underlying logics of the national development finance fields. Through the case studies of Hungary and Poland, we uncover marked contradictions within the fields. Initially, development finance was torn between the contradictory logics of neoliberalism and developmentalism, followed by institution-building efforts from the EU that resulted in functioning development banks designed primarily for the EU’s Single Market. Finally, when financial nationalist and authoritarian political parties came to power, development banks came under firm political control, while new development actors appeared. Development banks in Hungary and Poland also exhibit differences in size, structure, and focus that we trace over time. In the end, we argue that today Eastern development banks’ ability to connect, contribute, and benefit from EU structures shows a marked difference from core Member States, one which calls for change in the EU development institutions and policies.
... Paladi and Fenies (2016) argue that new discourses, such as efficiency and performance, have produced considerable challenges and interest for both researchers and practitioners. Moreover, the race to merge with European counterparts, with a view to attracting foreign investors, has driven countries to adopt EU directives as quickly as possible, with unanticipated consequences (Appel and Orenstein, 2018). ...
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Purpose The purpose of this paper aims to make contributions to the debate on “performance measurement in practice” focussing on how organisational participants respond to the “new regime” of key performance indicators (KPIs) and whether KPIs materialise as intended in a transitional economy. Design/methodology/approach Inspired by the epistemological instruction of Schatzki's practice theory, this paper draws on qualitative data collected through face-to-face interviews, observations and documentary analysis of a single organisation. Findings KPIs were introduced at PK (a manufacturing concern in Czech Republic) but widely seen as contradictory, inconsequential, top-down and unrealistic. These lead organisational participants to adopt a pragmatic approach towards PM embracing KPIs' subjective assessment and manipulation, common sense or doing the job as given, and superficial compliance (symbolism). Research limitations/implications The paper would be interesting to researchers because of its explanation of performance measurement practice in a distinct empirical setting, for its application of a practice theory inspired by Schatzki, and for inspiring new research agendas in transitional economies. Practical implications The paper recommends the mobilisation of artefacts, such as various forms of bottom-up discussions, to encourage interactions between organisational members and influence individual beliefs and practical understandings of the intended managerial projects. Originality/value The paper has focussed on “organisations of practice” to unravel the “doings” of organisational participants to explore the micro-processes of PM which otherwise would have been ignored. These “doings” and “sayings”, linked by pools of understanding, rules or instructions, and a teleoaffective structure, enabled the authors to unmask inherent tensions and contradictions in a new regime of performance measures such as KPIs.
... Másrészt a rendszerváltás után elengedhetetlen volt a külső partnerek szerepe a modernizációban külföldi működőtőke formájában (Simai-Gál [2000], Szunomár [2020]). Mindez értelmezhető a rendszerváltás utáni politikát alakító külső korlátként, az átalakulás pályán tartásáért felelős erőként is (Gedeon [2004], Appel-Orenstein [2018]). Ennélfogva amit Berend [2003] a 19. ...
Article
Az elmúlt évtized során számos országban, így a kelet-közép-európai régióban is fontos politikai és gazdaságpolitikai változások zajlottak le. A politikai közbeszédben megjelentek a korábbi főáramtól eltérő demokrácia- és kapitalizmusfelfogások, protekcionista tendenciák, elitellenes szólamok, amelyeket a szakirodalom gyakran populistának nevez. Ez különösen igaz a 2008-as válság óta. Ugyanakkor sok szerző ezt a fajta változást sokkal korábbra, a rendszerváltás utáni évekre várta: szerintük az átmenet folyamatának potenciális vesztesei olyan politikai pártokat juttatnának hatalomra, amelyek visszafordítanák a többpártrendszerbe és kapitalizmusba való átmenet folyamatát. Ez a folyamat – Polányi Károlyt idézve – egy, a piacosodás elleni ellenmozgalom lehetőségeként értelmezhető. Ez az írás arra keresi a választ, vajon milyen társadalmi-gazdasági hatással járt a rendszerváltás a visegrádi országokban, és hogyan hatott mindez a társadalmi attitűdökre, vajon köszönhető-e a rendszerváltás és a 2008-as recesszió együttes hatásának az ezen politikai irányzatok iránti fogékonyság megerősödése.
... However, reading these works together, it becomes evident that Western and Eastern European neo-nationalist populisms share similar roots related to the lived experience of class in the context of globalisation. As most Eastern European states went further in adapting avantgarde neoliberalism (Appel and Orenstein, 2018), they are now the avant-garde of the neonationalist countermovement, but the roots are similar. Sadly, this makes the article relevant in many countries across the globe. ...
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This chapter is a revised version of a keynote addressing an international gathering of scholars. It was convened to provoke a broad and sincere exchange on new dimensions of state activism as seen through sectoral and country experiences, basically anchored in empirical analyses. What we do in this framework paper is to take a step back and ask if there are new insights that may allow for broader generalizations at the level of economic theory. We attempt to be specific on how institutions matter for economic change. First, we show how institutions may assist change, hinder change or become hollowed and thus become largely irrelevant. Finally, as fourth we try to generalize what follows from all this for broader theory, joining in the renewed discussion on the developmental state paradigm.
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In the course of their transition to a market economy, the importance of international knowledge transfer from developed capitalist countries to the post-Soviet states has increased. However, the question of what particular knowledge has been transferred and why in some cases knowledge transfer has been successful, while in others it has failed, remains under-researched. Using gender mainstreaming as an example, the mechanisms of international knowledge transfer in Russian social policy are discussed in detail. The authors argue that specific knowledge transfer could facilitate the acquisition of new knowledge, but its sustainable application in social policy decision-making might be problematic, requiring commitment of political actors as well as supportive institutional conditions.
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en This study uses news media discourse analysis to investigate the highly contentious process of pension privatization retrenchment in Lithuania. In 2016, Lithuania began debating reforms on restructuring its poorly performing “second pillar” pension scheme – statutory funded individually defined contribution plans managed by the private sector. Pension reform is here conceptualized as a process of discursive contestation of the orthodox neoliberal consensus that prevailed in designing and introducing a private pension system in the early 2000s. By 2018, when a new Law on Pensions institutionalized a subsidized “nudge-type” private retirement saving scheme, this process was legitimized by a newly prominent libertarian paternalistic ideology. Impacts of the discursive framing of pension reforms on their outcomes are discussed. Abstract fr Cette étude recourt à l’analyse des discours médiatiques pour examiner le processus extrêmement controversé d’assouplissement de la privatisation des régimes de retraite en Lituanie. En 2016, la Lituanie a commencé à discuter de réformes visant à restructurer son régime de pensions du «second pilier», qui enregistrait des résultats médiocres – ce régime est basé sur des plans statutaires individuels à cotisations définies gérés par le secteur privé. La réforme des pensions est ici conceptualisée comme un processus de contestation discursive du consensus orthodoxe néolibéral qui prévalait lors de la conception et de l’introduction d’un système de pensions privé au début des années 2000. En 2018, lorsqu’une nouvelle loi sur les pensions a institutionnalisé, comme une sorte de «coup de pouce», un régime privé d’épargne-retraite subventionné, ce processus a été légitimé par une idéologie paternaliste libertaire devenue récemment dominante. Les répercussions de la caractérisation discursive des réformes des retraites sur leurs résultats sont abordées. Abstract es En este estudio se utiliza el análisis del discurso de los medios de información para investigar el muy controvertido proceso de privatización de las pensiones en Lituania. En 2016, Lituania comenzó a estudiar la posibilidad de realizar reformas para reestructurar su poco eficiente régimen de pensiones de “segundo pilar”, a saber, los regímenes obligatorios individuales de cotización definida financiados por capitalización y de gestión privada. La reforma de las pensiones se conceptualiza en este artículo como un proceso de contestación discursiva frente al consenso neoliberal ortodoxo que prevaleció al diseñar e introducir un sistema de pensiones privado a principios del decenio de 2000. Para 2018, cuando la nueva ley de pensiones institucionalizó un régimen privado de ahorro para la jubilación, subvencionado y que actuaba como catalizador, este proceso ya estaba legitimado por una emergente y notoria ideología paternalista libertaria. En el presente artículo se abordan las repercusiones que la estrategia discursiva sobre las reformas de las pensiones tuvo en los resultados. Abstract de Diese Studie untersucht den stark umstrittenen Prozess des Rückbaus der Rentenprivatisierung in Litauen durch eine Analyse des Diskurses in den Nachrichtenmedien. 2016 begann man in Litauen, über Reformen zur Restrukturierung des wenig erfolgreichen Rentensystems der zweiten Säule zu diskutieren. Bei diesem System handelte es sich um obligatorische privatwirtschaftliche Rentenpläne mit Kapitaldeckung und individuell festgelegten Beiträgen. Die Rentenreform bestand darin, dass die streng neoliberale Sichtweise hinterfragt wurde, die bei Entwurf und Einführung des privaten Rentensystems Anfang der 2000er-Jahre bestimmend gewesen war. 2018, als mit dem neuen Rentengesetz ein bezuschusstes privates Rentensparprogramm nach dem Prinzip der motivierenden Steuerung (nudging) in Kraft trat, wurde dies mit der neu aufkommenden Theorie des libertären Paternalismus legitimiert. Diskutiert wird in der Studie, inwieweit sich das diskursive „Framing“von Rentenreformen auf deren Ergebnisse ausgewirkt hat. Abstract ru В данном исследовании анализируется полемика в средствах массовой информации о весьма противоречивом процессе ограничения приватизации системы пенсионного обеспечения в Литве. В 2016 году в стране началось обсуждение реформ, направленных на реструктуризацию недостаточно эффективной пенсионной системы «второй опоры» – программ, финансируемых из государственного бюджета, но управляемых частным сектором с индивидуально установленными размерами взносов. Обсуждение пенсионной реформы в СМИ представлено как полемика на тему традиционного неолиберального консенсуса, преобладавшего во время разработки и внедрения частной схемы пенсионного обеспечения в начале 2000-х годов. К 2018 году, когда новый закон о пенсиях институционализировал субсидируемую частную пенсионную накопительную программу «подталкивающего типа», этот процесс был легитимизирован недавно завоевавшей популярность идеологией либертарианского патернализма. Влияние дискурса на формирование представления о пенсионных реформах и на их эффективность всё ещё обсуждается. Abstract zh 本研究采用新媒体话语分析, 对立陶宛饱受争议的养老金私有化过程进行了调查。2016年, 立陶宛开始讨论重组改革表现不佳的“第二支柱”养老金制度, 该计划由私营部门管理, 法定筹资方式为个人确定缴费。养老金改革引发了对传统新自由主义共识的散漫式争论, 21世纪早期在设计和引入私人养老金制度时, 传统新自由主义曾盛行一时。2018年, 新《养老金法》将有补贴的“助推式”私人退休储蓄计划制度化, 新出现的自由家长制意识形态使这一过程合法化。本文讨论了养老金改革论述框架对其改革成果的影响。 Abstract ar تستخدم هذه الدراسة تحليلاً لمناقشات وسائل الاعلام الإخبارية من أجل البحث في عملية الخفض من خصخصة المعاشات التقاعدية التي تثير جدلاً واسعاً في لتوانيا. ففي عام 2016، بدأت لتوانيا في مناقشة إصلاحات من أجل إعادة هيكلة خطة معاشاتها التقاعدية القائمة على "الدعامة الثانية" ذات الأداء الضعيف، وهي خطط ممولة قانوناً وقائمة على الاشتراكات المحددة بشكل فردي يديرها القطاع الخاص. ويجري تصوير إصلاحات المعاشات التقاعدية على أنها عملية طعن استطرادي في توافق الآراء الليبرالية الجديدة التقليدية السائدة في تصميم نظام معاشات تقاعدي خاص واستحداثه في بداية مطلع القرن الحالي. وبحلول عام 2018، عندما أضفى قانون جديد بشأن المعاشات التقاعدية طابعاً مؤسساتياً على خطة مدخرات التقاعد الخاصة المبسطة والمدعومة مالياً، اكتسبت هذه العملية شرعية من خلال إيديولوجية أبوية تحررية برزت مؤخراً. وتُناقش آثار الصياغة الخطابية لإصلاحات المعاشات التقاعدية على النتائج الخاصة بها. Abstract pt Este estudo usa a análise do discurso da mídia para investigar o processo altamente controverso de reversão da privatização da previdência na Lituânia. Em 2016, a Lituânia começou a debater reformas sobre a reestruturação do seu regime de pensões de “segundo pilar” de fraco desempenho – planos estatutários de contribuição definida, financiados individualmente e administrados pelo setor privado. A reforma da previdência neste caso é conceituada como um processo de contestação discursiva do consenso neoliberal ortodoxo que prevaleceu na concepção e introdução de um sistema de previdência privada no início dos anos 2000. Em 2018, quando uma nova legislação previdenciária institucionalizou um regime de poupança subsidiado para aposentadoria privada do tipo “nudge”, esse processo foi legitimado por uma ideologia paternalista libertária que se tornara proeminente. Os impactos da captura discursiva das reformas previdenciárias em seus resultados também foram analisados.
Article
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ინფორმაციულ-კომუნიკაციური ტექნოლოგიების მართვის სისტემაში დანერგვა მზარდი ტენდენციაა. სამეცნიერო დისკურსის თანახმად, ელექტრონული მმართველობის დანერგვა და განვითარება, მთავრობის ანგარიშვალდებულების, ინსტიტუტთა გამჭვირვალობის, ელექტრონული თანამონაწილეობის ზრდით, ხელს აძლევს ქვეყანაში ელექტრონული დემოკრატიის განვითარებას. კორუფციის რისკის შემცირებით იზრდება სახელწმიფო ინსტუტებისადმი მოქალაქეთა ნდობა. მოცემული ნაშრომი ემსახურება, ტრანზიტულ დემოკრატიაზე ელექტრონული მმართველობის როლის კვლევით, აღნიშნულ დებულებათა შემოწმებას. კვლევის თვისებრივი მეთოდი წარმოაჩენს გარდამავალი დემოკრატიის დაჩქარებაში ელექტრონული მმართველობის დადებით ფაქტორებს. ხოლო სხვადასხვა ტექნიკების გამოყენება ეხმარება მნიშვნელოვან ფაქტორთა გამოყოფას, რომლებმაც ესტონეთის ელმმართველობის წარმატება და სწრაფი დემოკრატიული გარდაქმნა განაპირობა. კვლევაში დეტალურადაა განხილული ელექტრონული, როგორც კარგი მმართველობის, გარდამავალი დემოკრატიის მნიშვნელობა, ისტორიული განვითარება, ელმმართველობის კარგი პრაქტიკა. აგრეთვე მისი გავლენა ტრანზიტულ დემოკრატიაზე, აღმოსავლეთ ევროპის სახელმწიფოებში. ბოლოს, წარმოჩენილია ძირითადი მახასიათებლები, რომელთაც განაპირობა ესტონეთის დაჩქარებული დემოკრატიული წინსვლა. კვლევა, ესტონეთისა და საქართველოს შედარებითი ანალიზით, ცდილობს დაადგინოს, რა სახის კავშირი არსებობს ელექტრონული მმართველობის კარგ პრაქტიკასა და ტრანზიტული დემოკრატიის დაჩქარებას შორის ყოფილ საბჭოთა სოციალისტურ სახლემწიფოებში. ძირითადი საძიებო სიტყვები: ელ-მთავრობა, ელ-მმართველობა, ელექტრონული თანამონაწილეობა, ინფორმაციულ-კომუნიკაციური ტექნოლოგიები, ბლოქჩეინი, ელექტრონული დემოკრატია, ციფრული იდენტობა, ინტერნეტ-თავისუფლება
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This paper analyses the process of policy learning that has taken place inside the Social Protection and Labor Department of the World Bank after the large‐scale abandonment of its flagship pension programme. It draws on a set of elite interviews with present and former senior policy actors at the World Bank, alongside other key transnational actors to assess the Bank's response. It utilises the policy learning literature, in particular Hall's (1993) policy paradigm approach, to analyse the scope of learning that has been undertaken. The analysis shows that policy learning is a central activity within the Social Protection and Labor Department. From the moment the World Bank entered the pensions field in 1994, it continually updated its policy advice as a result of ‘rational updating’ (Blyth, 2013) or first and second order change (Hall, 1993). However, after the global economic crisis, the dominance of the Bank in the field waned, which opened it up to new ideas and rival paradigms. This has led to a policy conversion at the World Bank. Whilst not fully abandoning its pension model from the 1990s, it now emphasises the role of public pensions and poverty relief with less of a focus on funding and sustainability. The paper argues this change borders on paradigmatic change at the Bank. It has led to a closer working relationship with the International Labour Organization as both organizations focus on the issue of pensions coverage.
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This article offers a new conceptual framework to analyze the national-populist mutation of neoliberalism in foreign investment-dependent economies. By extending the emerging literature on the mutation of neoliberalism, the article challenges the conventional view of populism as a revolt against liberal capitalism and businesses. Following theory-testing process tracing, the article substantiates this theoretical framework through a detailed mixed-method study of the strategic test case of Viktor Orbán’s Hungary. Utilizing new empirical material on businesses and policymakers, the article shows how the polarization of the business class rooted in global dependency structures, in interaction with a rising group of nationalist technocrats, has contributed to the national-populist mutation of neoliberalism. National-populist neoliberalism entails a new power bloc, a new compromise between national and transnational capital. It has preserved the core tenets of neoliberalism while modifying some of its peripheral elements and cutting back on avant-garde excesses to ensure the political viability of neoliberalism.
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Three decades since the collapse of communism in Central and Eastern Europe, the ideal of liberal democracy is under considerable strain. Recent developments in the region show that democratic institutions do not only evolve and consolidate, but they can also decay. The article intends to provide a comprehensive theoretical account to shed light on the ongoing multifaceted and multi-layered processes of change in the region. Drawing on the literature on the role of ideas and on the body of research explaining ongoing transformations in Central and Eastern Europe, it conceptualises the normative core of anti-liberal ideas. It shows that this core is embedded in a set of narratives pitted against liberal democracy, which take the form of causal stories, put forward values and solutions, being ultimately used to legitimise institutional change in politics (i.e. agency and the social power structures) policies (i.e. how economic nationalism alters the neoliberal model) and the polity (i.e. the rules of the political game). This conceptual map, which is derived inductively from the literature, is meant to guide future empirical studies and theory building exercises seeking to understand institutional change in the region and beyond.
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Inwieweit begünstigen Akteurskonstellationen sowie institutionelle und gesellschaftliche Bedingungen in den postkommunistischen EU-Staaten illiberale Politiken, wie sie in Ungarn seit 2010 verfolgt wurden? Die in der Region dominierenden proportionalen Wahlsysteme und inkongruenten Konfliktlinien erschweren eine Machtzentralisierung. Die Institutionen der rechtsstaatlichen und öffentlichen Gewaltenkontrolle erscheinen jedoch nicht ausreichend widerstandsfähig gegenüber entschlossenen Parlamentsmehrheiten. Auch zivilgesellschaftliche Proteste und EU-Interventionen waren nur begrenzt wirksam.
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This article introduces the concept of retro-utopian urbanism to analyse post-2008 urban interventions in three state-socialist public housing neighbourhoods in Eastern Europe. Through a comparative study of Petržalka (Bratislava, Slovakia), Lasnamäe (Tallinn, Estonia) and Bródno (Warsaw, Poland), I examine different approaches to combating the stigma associated with socialist housing. It is shown that these urban interventions are a double-edged sword, in that they challenge the widespread notion that socialist urbanism is totalitarian by weakening the significance of socialist ideas. The article argues that urban interventions contribute to foreclosing socialist alternatives in the present when they normalise “postsocialism”, a term I use to refer to neoliberal capitalism’s ideological framework that sees socialism as obsolete. The concept of retro-utopian urbanism provides a lens through which to reflect on the limitations and challenges of urban interventionism, and to rethink the debate on, and the persistence of, postsocialism in and beyond Eastern Europe.
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This paper explores the commonalities of populist mobilizations in the post-Soviet region. It identifies a salient populist cleavage between two political projects that differ fundamentally about their focal point of political action: externalist sovereigntism and internalist anti-corruption messianism. While sovereigntism takes a defensive stance repelling foreign forces hostile to “the people,” anti-corruption messianism offensively tackles cronyism impeding developmental salvation for “the people.” The paper reconstructs six sovereigntist and anti-corruption projects, which have unfolded across different non-democratic regimes in Russia, Armenia, and Ukraine throughout the past decade. It is argued that the conflict between sovereigntism and anti-corruption messianism relates to a twofold, distinctively post-Soviet constellation: uncertainty over conflictual geopolitical abeyance and the exasperation over social closure due to the prevalence of oligarchical patronalism. In this context, both populist projects constitute powerful strategies of solidarity-forging under conditions in which other channels of political articulation have been either blocked or exhausted.
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The rise of populism has cast doubt on the sustainability of the marriage of liberal democracy and neoliberal capitalism. There is an urgent need to understand how neoliberal developmental bottlenecks foster populist social coalitions. This essay analyses how the combination of dependent development and various structures of dependency governance have contributed to different levels of socio-economic disintegration, engendering different populist countermovements in Central and Eastern Europe. These processes fostered exclusionary neoliberal populism with strong illiberalism in Hungary, welfare chauvinist populism with weak illiberalism in Poland, technocratic neoliberal populism without illiberalism in the Czech Republic and entrenched neoliberal populism with contained illiberalism in Slovakia.
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Since the launching of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013, Chinese leaders have sought to diffuse this ambitious overseas infrastructure drive into the Central and Eastern European bloc. From the literature on policy diffusion, we refer here to a process whereby a dominant actor (China) has vigorously promoted a particular strand of its own domestic development policy in other emerging economies. Our focus is on the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, all EU members since 2004. We draw on Etel Solingen's (2012. Of dominoes and firewalls: the domestic, regional, and global politics of international diffusion. International Studies Quarterly, 56 (4), 631-644) seminal framework on policy diffusion, which considers the stimulus, the medium, political agents, and outcomes. It is the dearth of BRI loans and China-backed infrastructure projects in this sub-region that we seek to explain. Our main finding is that China has been its own biggest firewall in the diffusion of BRI into Central Europe. China needs to formulate policies that surpass the pursuit of its own economic interests and devise approaches that resonate with the more developed status of these three Central European countries.
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This paper evaluates the impacts of 2017’s labour law liberalisation on labour market flexibility in Lithuania. While employment did grow rapidly in 2017–2019, there was little change in labour market flexibility. Against expectations, part-time employment declined as labour relations continued to be administered under path-dependent institutional inertia inherited from previous decades. The prevalence of full-time, dual-earner employment was shaped by the country’s socialist legacy and was reflected in high employment rates and permanent open-ended contracts for both men and women. Analysis also showed that the revised labour law lowered the probability for women with family care responsibilities to be hired. Once hired, they were offered permanent employment albeit with the reduced protections that such contracts now provide. Impacts of the new labour law on shaping what is considered to be ‘men’s work’ and ‘women’s work’ in Lithuania are discussed. JEL Codes: J00
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This chapter examines how legal and judicial mechanisms of governance promoted and protected transnational energy and mineral corporations’ freedoms and property rights in Central Asia. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, most investors signed favourable contracts with host states, stipulating how production, costs, revenues and profits would be shared, and what, when and how much royalties, taxes, fees and penalties would be paid. Transnational corporations and host states are rentiers, extracting income based on the ownership and control of natural resources. The neoliberal regime of investment rules secured and defended investors’ rights and contracts at the expense of equitable and sustainable development. The chapter also discusses how legal and judicial structures constrained democratic forces, prioritising investors’ rights over people’s well-being.
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This chapter discusses two key aspects of neoliberalism: rentierism and economic inequalities. The first part of the chapter provides some details of the different forms of rent in Central Asia, and the assets of the richest individuals in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan that facilitated rent extraction. Business elites often merged with political elites to create plutocracy. The second part examines the nature of income and wealth inequalities in the region. It also explores the hardship and misery associated with the commodification of basic goods and services.
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