Creative Reconstructions

Creative Reconstructions: Multilateralism and European Varieties of Capitalism after 1950

Orfeo Fioretos
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: 1
Published by: Cornell University Press
Pages: 264
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  • Book Info
    Creative Reconstructions
    Book Description:

    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.

    eISBN: 978-0-8014-6071-5
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  4. Chapter 1 Capitalist Diversity in Open Economies
    (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 a country modernize its industrial structure as technologies and markets inevitably change. Answers have entailed different prescriptions to what should be the division of labor among public authorities, markets, and organized social groups in harnessing a country’s financial, material, and...

  5. Chapter 2 Governments, Business, and the Design Problem
    (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 reform in the industrial sector. Institutional innovation was not limited to the domestic sphere, however. Governments came to rely to an unprecedented extent on innovations in the international sphere through a major expansion in the use of multilateralism. Multilateralism...

  6. Chapter 3 Three Models of Open Governance
    (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 firms’ preference orders enables predictions about the type of business coalitions that form when the economic and institutional environments surrounding firms change and about the general conditions under which their commitments to government reforms are lasting. However, because scholars make diverse claims about the structure...

  7. Chapter 4 Britain: From Replacing to Reinforcing a Liberal Market Economy
    (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 system of economic governance, especially to the absence of economic institutions underwriting long-term social contracts. Particular criticism was directed at national institutions that made up the financial, corporate governance, industrial relations, and innovation systems.

    To modernize the industrial base of the economy, British governments...

  8. Chapter 5 France: The Centralized Market Economy and Its Alternatives
    (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 adaptation within and between the public and private sectors, French governments exercised great control over corporate strategy. Scholars and policymakers widely credited these reforms for transforming the “pointillist character” (Ehrmann 1957, 320) of the country’s economic landscape from one defined by...

  9. Chapter 6 Germany: Stability and Redesign in a Coordinated Market Economy
    (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 among economic groups in fostering a major expansion of the advanced manufacturing sector. The internal coherence of the economic model is regularly identified as a key factor in helping governments secure support from a broad business coalition for...

  10. Chapter 7 Lessons from Capitalist Diversity and Open Governance
    (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 institutions that promoted international trade, exchange rate cooperation, and a set of common rules that regulated markets and permissible forms of government intervention. In the process the institution of multilateralism not only reshaped politics between nations, it also redefined economic management within nations.


  11. Appendix
    (pp. 185-192)
  12. Notes
    (pp. 193-210)
  13. References
    (pp. 211-238)
  14. Index
    (pp. 239-246)