Uncertain Boundaries: The Social and Political Construction of European Economies

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During the post-World War II period, a pattern emerged in several European countries: the concentrated and centralized political regulation of the economy, based on the adoption of Keynesian policies, the development of the welfare state and moderately successful attempts at tripartite integration. This pattern entered a deep crisis in the 1980s however, and in the view of many observers, was replaced by a far-reaching deregulation of the economy. The author argues that social and political institutions have by no means lost their ability to structure economic activities. They have, in fact, shaped the different ways in which the European economies have adjusted to market conditions. A pattern of 'micro-social' regulation of European economies emerged as a potential candidate to take the place of the 'macropolitical' one. This volume discusses the conditions under which a change from a macro to a micro form takes place, as well as the features of the emerging pattern.