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Ist die Globalisierung fit für das soziale Europa?

Tausch, Arno (2009): Ist die Globalisierung fit für das soziale Europa?

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This analysis first of all shows with the latest empirical regional and other statistics of the OECD the true dimension of the Lisbon gap between Europe and the Western overseas democracies.

The neo-liberal politicy consensus in Europe always assumed that the continuation of neo-liberal globalization is a "precondition" of a successful European "Lisbon Strategy". A recent Centre for European Policy Studies even asked: “Is Social Europe Fit for Globalisation?” We turn this question around and ask ourselves: is globalization fit for social Europe?

It is now obvious, not only at the level of the 27 nationally organized member countries of the EU that the validity of such a strategy is highly dubious. The Fifth interim report on economic and social cohesion (dated June 2008) by the European Commission COM (2008) 371, 18 june 2008, still makes very far-reaching and sometimes very bold statements about the causes of regional convergence in Europe. It speaks about the continued strong growth in poorer regions, it maintains that growth in the regions concentrated in knowledge-intensive sectors, especially financial and business services; trade, transport and communication; high and medium-high tech manufacturing. High-tech manufacturing is highlighted as the one manufacturing sector where the EU retains a competitive advantage.

Critical globalization-oriented, quantitative social scientists, particularly in the United States, have maintained for a long time and all along in leading journals of social science that - following the economic theory of monopolistic competition in the tradition of Baran, Kalecki, Rothschild and Sweezy - there seems to be a confirmation of the darker and more negative aspects of the opening up of markets for goods, capital, labor and services, especially by transnational corporations.

We analyzed to this effect regional development (economic growth, regional Lisbon performance, unemployment rates and employment rates of older workers) in the entire EU-27, using the freely available Inforegio database of the EU-Commission.

Applying a newly constructed 5-point scale of the penetration of European regions by international capital (share of employment for transnational capital in the region per total employment in the region), derived from published Inforegio maps on the issue, the following, multivariate relationships of regional development in Europe hold:

1. There is a "perverse" effect of the regional divergence, mainly implying that rich regions are growing rapidly and poorer regions more slowly

2. The penetration of a region by foreign capital is indeed a significant blockade for all four used indicators

3. Higher education is an essential means to ensure the Lisbon objectives

4. A good demographic growth rate is essential for the achievement of regional development goals

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