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Austerity and the Implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy in Spain

Re-shaping the European Productive and Social Model: a Reflexion from the South


Edited By Javier Ramos and Esther del Campo

This book adopts a critical perspective to analyze the Europe-2020 Strategy and its effects on the transformation of the European productive and social model, particularly in Spain. The evidence provided in this book suggests that the Europe-2020 strategy cannot be dissociated from the policies of commodification initiated in the Stability and Growth Pact (Maastricht, 1997) nor from the Austerity measures implemented to deal with the financial crisis in 2007. 

These policies of «commodification» and «austerity» are seriously limiting Europe-2020 capacity to foster a smart, sustainable and inclusive productive transition, while adding greatly to the continuous process of precarization and social exclusion that European societies are suffering, especially in Southern Europe.   

The book presents empirical evidence on these externalities in areas as diverse as EU foreign policy, entrepreneurship or gender equality. But the special emphasis has been placed in those areas that the Europe 2020 strategy considers crucial such as employment, R&D, climate change and energy sustainability, education and fighting against poverty in Spain.

Thanks to the profuse analyses carried out by a group of leading Spanish academics, the book constitutes a benchmark for scholars, practitioners and the general public interested in European and Spanish economic policy issues.

"Essential contributions on the challenges faced by the Spanish economy when it comes to strengthening the Welfare State" (Valeriano Gómez, former Minister of Employment)

"A most useful collection of contributions addressing Spain’s difficulties in dealing with an indebted economy, and in need of re-shaping its strategic productive and social models within the EU" (Luis Moreno, IPP-CSIC).

"This book provides appealing insights into the evolution of the Spanish productive and social protection systems under austerity, as well as an analysis of crucial aspects of the implementation of the EU 2020 Strategy. A must-read for professionals and students interested on European" (Ana Marta Guillén, Dep Sociology- Oviedo University)

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The EU Facing Globalisation and the Financial Crisis. The Europe 2020 Strategy and the Definitive Triumph of Commodification in Europe (Javier Ramos)


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The EU Facing Globalisation and the Financial Crisis

The Europe 2020 Strategy and the Definitive Triumph of Commodification in Europe

Javier RAMOS

1.   The crisis of the “Mid-Century Compromise” and the expansion of Commodification in Europe

A political compromise after the Second War World made a relatively stable coexistence between capitalism and democracy possible in Western Europe. The “Golden Age” of welfare capitalism was highly conditioned by the apogee of certain forms of industrial production (Taylorism-Fordism), social provision (welfare states), public economic intervention (Keynesianism), and family articulation (male breadwinner model) that moulded the entire socio-economic order of what Crouch (1999) has defined as the Mid-Century Compromise.

This compromise basically meant the acceptance of a primary framework of property ownership together with certain rights of citizenship in predominantly industrial and sociologically democratic societies. It was a mutual concession that made possible the institutionalisation of the conflicts that exist between the imbalance inherent in capitalist ownership of property and the idea of equality embedded in the concept of democracy and mass citizenship (Crouch, 1999).

It was a socio-economic model in which social protection played a functional and counter-cyclical role as the nexus between profits and wages. Social protection allowed government to act counter-cyclically by providing the unemployed with additional cash benefits in times of high unemployment, with the subsequent positive effect on aggregate demand. ← 43 | 44 →

When unemployment was low, social protection sought the...

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