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The contraditions of austerity: the socio-economic costs of the neoliberal Baltic model
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA.
Linköping University, REMESO - Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Society. Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1933-3847
2014 (English)Collection (editor) (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The great financial crisis of 2008 and the ensuing global economic and financial turmoil have launched a search for ‘models’ for recovery. The advocates of austerity present the Baltic states as countries that, through discipline and sacrifice, showed the way out of crisis. They have proposed the ‘Baltic model’ of radical public sector cuts, wage reductions, labor market reforms and reductions in living standards for other troubled eurozone countries to emulate. Yet, the reality of the Baltic ‘austerity fix’ has been neither fully accepted by its peoples, nor is it fully a success. This book explains why and what are the real social and economic costs of the Baltic austerity model.

We examine each of the Baltic states by connecting national-level studies within a European and global political economy, thereby delivering comparative breadth that supersedes localized understandings of the crisis. Thus, for each of the three Baltic states, individual chapters explore the different economic and social dimensions of neoliberal post-communism, and the subsequent wider global economic and financial crisis in which these new open-market economies have found themselves especially vulnerable. The ‘austerity model’ adopted by Baltic national governments in response to the crisis reveals the profound vulnerabilities created by their unwavering commitment to free market solutions, not least in terms of the significant ‘exit’ of their labor forces.

Today ‘recovery’ appears to be on the horizon. We look beyond basic financial metrics claiming a success story for the Baltic austerity model to reveal the damaging economic and social consequences, first of neoliberal policies adopted during transition, and latterly of austerity measures based on ‘internal devaluation.’ Combined, these policies undermine the possibility of longer-term recovery, and even social and economic sustainability, not to mention successful integration in the now-faltering wider European project.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York and London: Routledge, 2014, 1. , 200 p.
, Routledge Studies in the European Economy, 30
Keyword [en]
Austerity, neoliberalism, Baltic States, Europe
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-106226ISBN: 978-0-415-82003-5OAI: diva2:714733
Available from: 2014-04-29 Created: 2014-04-29 Last updated: 2014-10-29Bibliographically approved

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REMESO - Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and SocietyDepartment of Social and Welfare StudiesFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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