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Between Neo-Liberalism and No Liberalism: Progressive Approaches to Economic Liberalization in Western Europe

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Abstract:

It is widely argued that European leaders wishing to improve the competitiveness of their economies must emulate the harsh and regressive neo-liberal policies associated with the Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Margaret Thatcher. The choice is between neo-liberal reform and no reform. My paper challenges this gloomy understanding. Between neo-liberal reform and no reform, a number of European countries have pursued a course of what I call "progressive liberal" reform. By "progressive liberalism," I mean policies that appropriate the goals of neo-liberalism, but pursue these goals in a manner that preserves or even enhances equality and protections for the disadvantaged. After reviewing the challenges that economic liberalization poses to progressive parties, my paper examines progressive liberal reforms in three areas: reductions in social spending, tax cuts, and labor market flexibilization. For each case, I proceed in four steps: 1) I first define the traditional leftist position that opposes liberalizing reform; 2) I next present the neo-liberal position, which favors liberalizing reform with regressive distributional implications; 3) I then show that the liberalizing reform in question harbors a progressive potential; 4) Finally, I describe how the reform has been implemented in practice, in a particular European context, so as to capture many of the benefits associated with neo-liberalism, while safeguarding progressive values and the needs of low-income and disadvantaged groups.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

liber (183), tax (170), reform (120), social (119), govern (110), progress (105), employ (97), benefit (92), welfar (77), time (75), incom (74), job (72), percent (71), labor (67), work (66), econom (64), state (62), polici (60), neo (60), market (57), part (53),

Author's Keywords:

Economic liberalization, neo-liberalism, welfare state, welfare reform, Western Europe
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Name: APSA 2008 Annual Meeting
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http://www.apsanet.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p278802_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Levy, Jonah. "Between Neo-Liberalism and No Liberalism: Progressive Approaches to Economic Liberalization in Western Europe" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the APSA 2008 Annual Meeting, Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts, Aug 28, 2008 <Not Available>. 2014-12-01 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p278802_index.html>

APA Citation:

Levy, J. , 2008-08-28 "Between Neo-Liberalism and No Liberalism: Progressive Approaches to Economic Liberalization in Western Europe" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the APSA 2008 Annual Meeting, Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts Online <PDF>. 2014-12-01 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p278802_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: It is widely argued that European leaders wishing to improve the competitiveness of their economies must emulate the harsh and regressive neo-liberal policies associated with the Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Margaret Thatcher. The choice is between neo-liberal reform and no reform. My paper challenges this gloomy understanding. Between neo-liberal reform and no reform, a number of European countries have pursued a course of what I call "progressive liberal" reform. By "progressive liberalism," I mean policies that appropriate the goals of neo-liberalism, but pursue these goals in a manner that preserves or even enhances equality and protections for the disadvantaged. After reviewing the challenges that economic liberalization poses to progressive parties, my paper examines progressive liberal reforms in three areas: reductions in social spending, tax cuts, and labor market flexibilization. For each case, I proceed in four steps: 1) I first define the traditional leftist position that opposes liberalizing reform; 2) I next present the neo-liberal position, which favors liberalizing reform with regressive distributional implications; 3) I then show that the liberalizing reform in question harbors a progressive potential; 4) Finally, I describe how the reform has been implemented in practice, in a particular European context, so as to capture many of the benefits associated with neo-liberalism, while safeguarding progressive values and the needs of low-income and disadvantaged groups.


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