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Creative Reconstructions

Multilateralism and European Varieties of Capitalism after 1950

Orfeo Fioretos

Publication Year: 2011

Twentieth-century Europe was an intense laboratory of capitalist experimentation. Confronted with economic booms and crises, technological revolutions, and economic globalization, Western Europe's governments constantly explored alternative ways of managing domestic economic systems and international commerce. Bridging comparative and international political economy, Creative Reconstructions compellingly expands our understanding of the historic relationship between varieties of capitalism and international cooperation.

Orfeo Fioretos' pathbreaking analysis places multilateral institutions at the center of the study of capitalism. He highlights the role played by governments' multilateral strategies in shaping the national trajectories of capitalism in Great Britain, France, and Germany. Fioretos shows that membership in international organizations such as the European Union and its precursors was an integral innovation in the domestic management of capitalism that came to play a central, if varied, role in shaping the evolution of modern market economies.

Published by: Cornell University Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xvi

...Joseph A. Schumpeter, the Austrian economist whose concept of creative destruction received so much new attention in the last decade of the twentieth century, remarked that “capitalism not only never is but never can be stationary” (1942, 82). He argued that the corporate sector stood to lose more from choosing the status quo than from reform when it faced greater competition. Schumpeter’s notion of creative destruction became a leitmotif in the debate over the consequences of globalization...

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1. Capitalist Diversity in Open Economies

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pp. 1-15

...Openness to international markets, technological revolutions, and the booms and busts that accompany capitalism periodically ignite debates across Europe over what economic system is best suited for achieving broad economic goals such as structural reform, growth, and social equality. At the core of these debates are alternative answers to the question of what economic model is best placed to help...

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2. Governments, Business, and the Design Problem

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pp. 16-43

...The modern market economy is the composite of a large number of institutions that regulate markets, define the role of public authorities, and incentivize economic groups to make particular kinds of social and material investments. In the course of the twentieth century, European governments engaged in a great deal of innovation in these institutions to achieve specific economic goals, including structural...

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3. Three Models of Open Governance

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pp. 44-67

...Reform-oriented governments depend on support from the business sector to sustain and transform integral designs in the modern market economy. Thus, the conditions under which various business sectors are able to credibly commit to the designs championed by governments is a key analytical question for the study of institutional development in advanced market economies. Detailing...

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4. Britain: From Replacing to Reinforcing a Liberal Market Economy

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pp. 68-98

...For most of the post-1945 period, Britain was an economic laggard routinely criticized for having failed to establish an institutional foundation that could sustain a competitive and innovative modern industrial economy. Politicians, the business sector, and scholars widely attributed Britain’s inability to maintain its historically prominent position among industrialized countries to the structure of its national...

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5. France: The Centralized Market Economy and Its Alternatives

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pp. 99-135

...Unlike most European economies that quickly sought to reduce their reliance on centralized forms of economic governance after World War II, French governments significantly expanded the scope of such designs. Through a comprehensive reform program of key economic institutions and the introduction of a dense fabric of formal and informal institutions that were designed to foster joint planning and...

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6. Germany: Stability and Redesign in a Coordinated Market Economy

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pp. 136-171

...The reconstruction of the German economy and its superlative performance in the decades after World War II have been widely attributed to the institutional foundations of its national economic system. A great deal of attention has been given to the domestic origins of a macroeconomic regime devoted to price stability and a set of social and regulatory institutions conducive to long-term contracting...

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7. Lessons from Capitalist Diversity and Open Governance

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pp. 172-184

...The evolution of the modern market economy in Europe was profoundly influenced by post-war innovations in the institution of multilateralism. The structural and institutional transformations that characterized Europe’s largest economies were not a product of domestic histories and designs alone. They were integrally linked to a history of international cooperation and an expanding set of multilateral...


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pp. 185-192


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pp. 193-210


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pp. 211-238


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pp. 239-246

E-ISBN-13: 9780801460715
Print-ISBN-13: 9780801449697

Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2011

Edition: 1