Recasting Welfare Capitalism: Economic Adjustment in by Mark Vail

By Mark Vail

Compares and contrasts the improvement of welfare capitalism in France and Germany, via solid instances and undesirable, because the Nineteen Seventies

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Additional info for Recasting Welfare Capitalism: Economic Adjustment in Contemporary France and Germany

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In Chapters 5, 6, and 7, the book turns to the contemporary period of “managed austerity,” involving the rationalization of labor markets and social protection. Since the early to mid-1990s, both France and Germany have enacted reforms that have cut costs and sharpened incentives to work even as they have sought to maintain or even extend protection to disadvantaged groups while rewarding employment, investment, and economic innovation. In Chapter 5, the book analyzes reforms in labor-market policy, which have involved a shift from passive subsidization of the unemployed to active policies designed to reintegrate excluded groups while reducing unemployment and reliance on traditional jobless benefits.

An important lesson of these developments is that enduring economic crisis creates new power relations and can drive the emergence of a new politics, even in the absence of major changes in a country’s formal political institutions. 2. 2 Post-1945 Models of German Policymaking Period of Adjustment Policymaking Model Characteristics Welfare-capitalist expansion (late 1940s to 1980s) Neocorporatism/ consensual corporatism Broad distribution of policymaking authority between state and social partners; consensual political and social relations and gradual adjustment Socialized marketization (reunification to mid-1990s) Expansionary corporatism Expanded state spending to finance transformation of former East Germany into a market economy; other corporatist arrangements left unchanged Managed austerity (mid-1990s to present) Conflictual corporatism Increasing insularity of policymaking; conflicts with social partners and political opposition; state bypasses established neocorporatist channels and procedures; uneven trajectories of reform Recasting Welfare Capitalism 13 The Book in Brief This book provides a new understanding of how advanced industrial societies adjust to austerity.

In France, pressures on governments to compensate the losers from adjustment not only led to the expansion of the social-protection system; they also increased the influence of the social partners, who exercised significant, though often latent, authority. Although the state was still the leading force for reform during the 1980s, both employers and trade unions were becoming more assertive in trying to shape the policy agenda as governments shifted from presiding over economic expansion to the more difficult and politically contentious process of imposing costs on recalcitrant constituencies.

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