11 - CONCLUSION: UNEMPLOYMENT, THE NEW EUROPE, AND THE OLD INEQUALITIES  pp. 329-354

CONCLUSION: UNEMPLOYMENT, THE NEW EUROPE, AND THE OLD INEQUALITIES

By Nancy Bermeo

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Unification has the nasty habit of creating division, and opinions are certainly divided over the merits of a united and liberalized European market. Where some fear that the “surf of market forces” will turn the New Europe into “post-modern flatlands” (Gowan and Anderson 1997: xiv), others are convinced that marketization is the only means of ensuring economic buoyancy. The essays in this collection are reactions to both these perspectives. They are also reactions to the coincidence of high unemployment with the high-gear drive toward monetary and economic union.

Though this research project began with no political agenda, the sum of its parts yields a message with important implications for employment policy: the organized managed economies of Europe should be reformed but not replaced. A united Europe should be wary of modeling itself on the United States.

I defend this argument by integrating evidence from the collection's essays with a closer and more critical look at the workings of the paradigmatic example of the liberal model in the United States. I begin with a review of what the consequences of high unemployment are supposed to be and then illustrate the extent to which these negative consequences have been avoided in Western Europe. I then move on to link the mitigation of unemployment's worst effects to the bedrock institutions of the organized managed economy. I conclude by setting the European experience in comparative perspective and arguing that the adoption of the U.S.-style liberal model is both unlikely and unwarranted.