By Erik Jones
The smaller nations of Western Europe have a name for being extra profitable than their higher buddies. they're wealthier in keeping with capita, they're extra good politically, and they're extra versatile economically. the key to this good fortune lies of their consensual type of politics and their corporatist variety of decision-making. regrettably, in spite of the fact that, which may be approximately to alter. A political transformation underway in small states is undermining the politics of consensus and breakdown the effectiveness of corporatist associations. Small nations have gotten more and more at risk of the vicissitudes of worldwide markets consequently. Belgium and the Netherlands provide transparent examples of the matter handy. The political societies of either international locations have been tightly prepared to prevent clash and to advertise consensus. through the years, besides the fact that, this tight association has damaged down, politicians have opted for clash over consensus, and elections became extra unstable therefore. In flip, this political transformation of Belgium and the Netherlands has undermined their conventional method of financial policymaking and fiscal adjustment. Belgium and the Netherlands at the moment are extra susceptible to international marketplace forces than at any time because the finish of the Seventies. Their relative financial and political luck can not be taken with no consideration. The relative good fortune of different small states will be introduced into query besides.
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Extra resources for Economic Adjustment and Political Transformation in Small States
The lessons learned by the Belgians and the Dutch were not perceived in the same way by other small countries. In this sense, the distinction between free-trade and regional integration is empirical as well as analytic. Belgium and the Netherlands have participated in European integration since the beginning. Austria, Switzerland, and the Scandinavian countries have not. Instead, these other small states chose to focus more explicitly on free trade—joining the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) instead of the European Community (EC).
More important, the pattern for success is self-reinforcing: it remains the same because it is successful, and it is successful because it remains the same. My goal in this chapter is to build on the strength of Katzenstein’s analysis. That task is easier said than done. Whoever made up the cliché about “dwarves standing on the shoulders of giants” was either being ironic or never actually tried to stand on someone’s shoulders. It is difﬁcult, inelegant, even dangerous. Worse, it is only possible to get a decent perspective once you stop thinking about what you are doing and instead start trying to make sense of the view.
Deﬁcits began to fall and the growth of government debt slowly stabilized at or below the growth rate for the economy. Support for traditional parties increased and the effective number of political groups stabilized or even declined. Although much of the electorate lost income as a result of state intervention in the economy, the center-right Martens and Lubbers coalitions were re-elected on platforms of continued austerity. By the end of the 1980s, Martens and Lubbers were still in ofﬁce. Moreover, both succeeded in making a successful coalition change from center-right to center-left.