In the 1980s and 1990s, Nicolas Jabko suggests, the character of
European integration altered radically, from slow growth to what he
terms a "quiet revolution." In Playing the Market, he
traces the political strategy that underlay the move from the
Single Market of 1986 through the official creation of the European
Union in 1992 to the coming of the euro in 1999. The official,
shared language of the political forces behind this revolution was
that of market reforms-yet, as Jabko notes, this was a very strange
"market" revolution, one that saw the building of massive new
public institutions designed to regulate economic activity, such as
the Economic and Monetary Union, and deeper liberalization in
economic areas unaffected by external pressure than in truly
internationalized sectors of the European economy.
What held together this remarkably diverse reform movement?
Precisely because "the market" wasn't a single standard, the agenda
of market reforms gained the support of a vast and heterogenous
coalition. The "market" was in fact a broad palette of ideas to
which different actors could appeal under different circumstances.
It variously stood for a constraint on government regulations, a
norm by which economic activities were (or should be) governed, a
space for the active pursuit of economic growth, an excuse to
discipline government policies, and a beacon for new public powers
and rule-making. In chapters on financial reform, the provision of
collective services, regional development and social policy, and
economic and monetary union, Jabko traces how a coalition of
strange bedfellows mobilized a variety of market ideas to integrate
Subjects: Political Science
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