Understanding the Competition-crisis Nexus. Overcompetition and Growing Economic Disproportionalities in the Eurozone
Part of the 13-lecture series Crisis, Continuity and Change Project, 27 mei 2014
The International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), The Hague, The Netherlands : [S.n.]
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SubjectDistributional Conflicts in a Globalizing World: Consequences for State-Market-Civil Society Arrangements
In response to Merkel‟s call for a „competitiveness compact‟ in January 2013, the European Commission has launched a competitiveness agenda, which is argued to be key in realising a "Genuine Monetary and Economic Union". Composed of a set of new economic policy instruments that aim at further recalibrating neoliberal structural reforms, a central goal is to intensify competition in the Eurozone for the sake of enhancing the overall competitiveness of European economies. As part and parcel, a stringent enforcement of competition regulation is advocated to restart economic growth, increase productivity and jobs. This reinvigorated competitiveness discourse may sound appealing and politically motiving; however, it is profoundly problematic as it entails the prospect of a further deepening of structural imbalances and economic disintegration in the Eurozone. Drawing on a historical materialist perspective, it will be argued that the nature and impact of competition is a frequently overlooked yet important feature for understanding the crisis-ridden nature of capitalism. The paper theorises the competition-crisis nexus and the particular impact of what here is denoted as „overcompetition‟ as part of the wider structural problem of overaccumulation. Empirically, the paper demonstrates how excessive capitalist competition, bolstered inter alia by neoliberal competition regulation at EU-level since the mid-1980s, has not only fostered a process of financialisation but also been co-constitutive to the particular manifestation of growing geographical disproportionalities of capitalist development in Europe.
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