In 2011 (
2013 update 7/3/17) Colin Crouch wrote a noted book entitled The strange non-death of neoliberalism. In it he discussed why neoliberalism had managed to avoid being killed by what had appeared to be its nemesis: the global financial and economic crisis. The title came to mind on reading some recent work on the political economy of modern capitalism in general, and the European Union in particular, by some other well-known commentators. It seems that, actually, we are witness to the strange non-death of public spending, at least in the EU.
Let me first give two examples of a view that many readers will likely believe to be self-evident.
In Le Monde Diplomatique the reknowned historian and political economist Perry Anderson has just published an analysis of the driving forces behind populism and protest. Under the sub-heading “Draconian austerity” he writes:
From monetary union (1990) to the Stability Pact (1997), then the Single Market Act (2011), the powers of national parliaments were voided in a supranational structure of bureaucratic authority shielded from popular will, just as the ultraliberal economist Friedrich Hayek had prophesied. With this machinery in place, draconian austerity could be imposed on helpless electorates, under the joint direction of the Commission and a reunified Germany…
The economic sociologist Wolfgang Streeck has also been much in the news with a series of pessimistic books and shorter publications on a similar theme. Democracy is being weakened and, [Read more…]