Economic Adjustment and Political Transformation in Small States

Hardcover | August 5, 2008

byErik Jones

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The smaller countries of Western Europe have a reputation for being more successful than their larger neighbours. They are wealthier per capita, they are more stable politically, and they are more flexible economically. The secret to this success lies in their consensual style of politicsand their corporatist style of decision-making. Unfortunately, however, that may be about to change. A political transformation underway in small states is undermining the politics of consensus and breakdown the effectiveness of corporatist institutions. Small countries are becoming increasinglyvulnerable to the vicissitudes of world markets as a result.Belgium and the Netherlands offer clear examples of the problem at hand. The political societies of both countries were tightly organized to avoid conflict and to promote consensus. Over time, however, this tight organization has broken down, politicians have opted for conflict over consensus, andelections have become more volatile as a result. In turn, this political transformation of Belgium and the Netherlands has undermined their traditional approach to economic policymaking and economic adjustment. Belgium and the Netherlands are now more vulnerable to world market forces than at anytime since the end of the 1970s. Their relative economic and political success can no longer be taken for granted. The relative success of other small states should be brought into question as well.

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The smaller countries of Western Europe have a reputation for being more successful than their larger neighbours. They are wealthier per capita, they are more stable politically, and they are more flexible economically. The secret to this success lies in their consensual style of politicsand their corporatist style of decision-making...

Erik Jones is Professor of European Studies at the SAIS Bologna Center of the Johns Hopkins University. He has taught previously at the University of Nottingham and the Central European University and he was a research fellow a the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.89 inPublished:August 5, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199208336

ISBN - 13:9780199208333

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. The Politics of Economic Adjustment2. Consensual Adjustment in Consociational Democracy3. The Implications of Change4. 'Consensual' Adjustment in Post-Consociational DemocracyConclusionReferences