Democracy is in decline – or so a growing consensus suggests. Paul Schuler sets out the evidence for claims that people are turning to autocratic alternatives, and asks whether they necessarily show a loss of faith in democracy. He proposes some alternative measures that could establish whether people are genuinely willing to trade freedom for a ‘solution’ to anxieties about immigration, inequality and globalisation.
Why austerity is easier to implement in some countries than others – and why this was not the case for Greece
It is now roughly seven years since the Greek economic crisis first emerged, but why has the crisis in Greece proven so difficult to address in comparison to other Eurozone countries? Based on an analysis of crisis management in several European states,Stefanie Walter writes that because internal reform and a euro exit were particularly costly options for Greece, it opted for a path of reforming only as much as is necessary to retain outside funding. As this strategy is unlikely to be viable indefinitely, the crisis will remain unresolved for the foreseeable future.
The fallout from the Eurozone crisis continues to have an impact on European economies, over six years after the crisis first peaked in 2010. Drawing on insights from recent research, Mark Copelovitch, Jeffry Frieden and Stefanie Walter discuss four lessons from the crisis. They state that the crisis has been largely predictable, that monetary union has raised the political stakes in crisis management, that the institutional problems that have plagued European Monetary Union from the start persist, and finally, that unless there are significant reforms, the future of the euro remains uncertain.
Since the financial crisis, central banks have taken on a far more significant role in economic management. But with diminishing returns of and unintended consequences from existing policies, monetary policy now faces a crisis of confidence. Dennis Shenexplores policy innovations that could support global central banks battling deflation and proposes a new framework to better guard against financial instability.
Radical right-wing populist parties have experienced a growth in support in several European countries over the last 15 years, but how do such parties adapt to power when they enter government? Tjitske Akkerman, Sarah de Lange andMatthijs Rooduijn write that although radical right-wing populist parties do become more mainstream in some respects when they enter office, this is largely only true in a procedural sense, with their policy platforms quickly becoming just as radical as before when they go back into opposition.
Have the negative economic consequences brought about by the financial crisis made European welfare states unaffordable? Iain Begg writes that while there is some validity to criticisms of welfare spending, the welfare state performs a number of core functions that ensure it will continue to be around for the foreseeable future. He also notes that European welfare states have shown a greater capacity for change than is often recognised, with the shift toward a system that gives priority to social investment making a real difference in several countries.