7,950 research outputs found

    The new political economy of Dirigisme: French macroeconomic policy, unrepentant sinning and the stability and growth pact

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    This article traces the enduring influence of the dirigiste traditions on contemporary French macroeconomic policy-making, arguing that French policy both within and towards the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) is consistent with long-standing French dirigiste preferences and policy traditions. Specifically it explores how, within the SGP, French governments have created and defended significant fiscal policy space, and how the scope for discretionary policy-making has in fact been enhanced by the credibility accrued through European rule-based governance. Furthermore, it analyses how, in their policies towards the SGP, French governments have successfully influenced the reshaping of the fiscal policy architecture, introducing a more dirigiste interventionism in the interpretation and implementation of the SGP, loosening constraints in accordance with dirigiste preferences. French policy-makers have thus played a 'long-run game' with European economic governance—initially accepting ordo-liberal orthodoxy, only to subsequently 'move the goalposts' in a more dirigiste direction

    Comparative capitalisms, ideational political economy and French post-dirigiste responses to the global financial crisis

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    This article advances the case for the more systematic incorporation of ideational factors into comparative capitalisms analysis as a corrective to the rational choice proclivities of the Varieties of Capitalism approach. It demonstrates the pay-off of such an ideationally attuned approach through analysis of French capitalist restructuring over the last 25 years, placing it in comparative context. A modus operandi for such ideational explanation is elaborated through delineating different national conceptions of the market, and setting out their impacts on practices of market-making. The claim made in this article is that understanding the evolution of French capitalism requires recognition of the ongoing market-making role of the French State, in combination with the French conception of the market and its embedding within a social context characterised by the inter-penetration of public and private elitist networks of France's ‘financial network economy’ which remains substantially intact. The ideational dimension is crucial because French understandings of the market and competition, the ideational building blocks of market-making, inform French state interventions and leave footprints on French institutions and market structures, and the evolutionary trajectory of French capitalism. In charting this trajectory, this article deploys the concept of post-dirigisme. We map out the parameters and causes of the post-dirigiste condition in France through examination of French bond market development, privatisation, the shift from a government- to a market- dominated financial system, and French capitalism's internationalisation. It then uses post-dirigisme to explain French state responses to the financial crisis and the banking bailout, noting how state actors, in concert with the banking elites, actively facilitated dominant market positions of French international champions

    Debating the restructuring of French capitalism and Anglo-Saxon institutional investors: trojan horses or sleeping partners?

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    Recent studies of French capitalism have unearthed how the French model has evolved into a more market-oriented capitalism, with considerably less direct state intervention. In the wake of the end of 'protected' restructuring between (roughly) 1983 and 1996, when the state's preponderant role was able to direct the adjustment process to a considerable degree, there has been a progressive dismantling of the protective cocoon behind which elites restructured the French economy. This article considers a range of scholarship analysing the nature of contemporary French capitalism. Focusing particularly on corporate governance and financial market internationalization, it argues that assertions of 'Anglo-Saxon' transformation should be treated with caution. It also identifies a need to establish the relative importance of 'statist' elements of the French model, asking whether they constitute a distinct variety of capitalism. It concludes that future research needs to focus on the impacts of changes in the ownership structure of French firms, and trace the causal mechanisms by which French capitalism is transformed, affording due weight to the different (national, regional, global) levels of analysis. Only then can firmer conclusions be drawn about the character of the complex institutional ensemble that is the French model of capitalism

    The Jospin Way

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    Since Malmö, Tony Blair has castigated all those who do not share his proselytising zeal for the ‘third way’. Underpinning his view is a thinly veiled assumption that ‘there is no alternative.’ Another reading, advanced by Sassoon, is that—under the influence of globalisation—the whole of the European left is converging on overwhelmingly similar positions, and all else is rhetorical embellishment and detail.1 Neither narrative is accepted here. Substantive differences are detectable between the ‘projects’ of Blair and Lionel Jospin, which go beyond the merely stylistic or rhetorical, suggesting qualitatively different ‘models’ of social democracy. This article examines the Jospin government’s first three years against the backdrop of the debate between the British and French premiers over the future direction of the left. The analysis focuses on those areas where commentators have located the fault-lines within European social democracy—macroeconomic policy, the role of the state, labour market and welfare reform, and employment policy

    Renovating European social democracy

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    Despite pronouncements over the years of the end of social democracy, in 2007, the left in both France & Italy revisited the ideology, engaging in introspection & redefinition to update it. Since then, social democracy has come to be seen as practically synonymous with renewal & modernity. It tends to be identified with such institutional means as corporatism or nationalization & planning-based policy paradigms such as Keynesianism. Following an examination of social democracy in relation to globalization & New Labour, this paper evaluates the future of social democracy in terms of the means-orientated approaches through which its political aims have been forwarded in different national contexts. Adapted from the source document

    Social democracy in the 21st century: still a class act? The place of class in Jospinism and Blairism

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    This article explores the enduring relevance (or otherwise) of class to social democracy through comparative analysis of the British Labour Party and the French Socialist Party (PS - Parti Socialiste ) at the beginning of the 21st century. It first considers the elite-level conception of class, and perceptions of its place within each party's identity and political economy. The second section explores the importance of class to electoral strategy. Significant differences emerge in the importance attached to class by each party. New Labour has expunged class from its analysis of the economy and the electorate, but paradoxically owes its success to a cross-class electoral alliance. Conversely, the PS now seems firmly camped on social democratic territory it until recently shunned, retaining an emphasis on class, yet its cross-class electoral alliance appears more fragile, given the context of party competition in France. Both parties, however, illustrate the increasingly uncertain relationship between class and post-golden age social democracy

    The SÊgolène Royal phenomenon: political renewal in France?

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    This article analyses SÊgolène Royal's rise during 2006 to become the first ever female mainstream French presidential candidate in the context of ongoing presidentialising tendencies within the French Fifth Republic. It considers the extent to which Royal's candidacy represented a turning point for the French Left, not only because of her gender, but also because of her challenge to the Left's traditional organisational and ideological norms of presidential electoral politics. Her participatory democratic campaign organisation, DÊsirs d'Avenir by-passed traditional party authority structures throughout 2006. However, in the face of declining poll ratings, Royal's candidacy reverted to a more orthodox relationship to the PS as 'presidential party'. Ideologically, her novel political language and down-to-earth style combine with a complex blend of egalitarianism and authoritarianism which treads novel ground. Yet the intriguing elements of her political vision have struggled to coalesce into a coherent and credible presidential programme

    Europeanizing social models?

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    Negotiating credibility: Britain and the International Monetary Fund 1956–1976

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    For twenty years before the famous crisis of 1976 Britain was a regular borrower from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Through this lending role, the Fund in these years played a key part in determining the credibility of British policies. Borrowing from the Fund meant that British policy had to be seen as conforming to certain norms, but these norms were always negotiable, albeit within shifting limits. This article uses archival material from London and Washington to examine these processes of negotiation, showing how far British policy was shaped by the desires of the IMF, and how far it was able to maintain autonomy in national economic policy
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