The Competitiveness-Crisis Nexus in the EU Politics of Internal Devaluation. A Critical Political Economy Perspective
Public talk at Ghent Centre for Global Studies, 28 februari 2017
Ghent, Belgium : [S.n.]
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SubjectInstitute for Management Research
In response to Chancellor Merkel’s call for a ‘Competitiveness Compact’ at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2013, the European Commission has launched a package of new economic policies that are argued to be key for realising a "Genuine Monetary and Economic Union". Part and parcel of this package is the goal to reverse the longstanding structural trend of deindustrialization in Europe. In the Communication ‘For a European Industrial Renaissance’ (2014), the Commission's aim is to increase Europe’s manufacturing share from currently 15 percent to 20 percent of EU GDP by 2020, arguing that ‘a strong industrial base will be of key importance for Europe’s economic recovery and competitiveness’. Boosting the competitiveness of EU based manufacturing industries may sound politically appealing, particularly against the backdrop of a rising popular fatigue with further fiscal austerity and the concomitant call for an overall belt tightening. Reforms in the spirit of competitiveness are deceptive however. What may appear as a resurgence of an active Keynesian-type of industrial policy in fact seeks to calibrate neoliberal structural adjustment programmes. The suggested measures essentially boil down to nothing else than what is referred to as "internal devaluation", which lays the burden of adjustment on labour rather than capital. The presentation will outline the Commissions' new competitiveness crisis strategy against the backdrop of the overall crisis management, and show how and why the current policy course entails the prospect of a further deepening of structural imbalances and economic disintegration in the Eurozone.
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