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Why We Need More Social Europe

Crouch, C. (2014) “Why We Need More Social Europe“, Social Europe Journal, 04 July.


Globalization makes international collaboration more urgent; but it also makes it less likely to happen. Marketization requires social policy, not only to combat the negative effects of markets, but also to support the market with things it cannot provide for itself; but marketization and social policy are usually seen as opposed projects.

For Europeans, confronting these two dilemmas is currently being made even more difficult by the insistence of the British and a few others that the European Union should become little more than a loose trading bloc. This direction of thinking, reinforced by the success of racist and xenophobic parties in the recent European parliamentary elections, has to be contested and reversed. Concretely, this means that we need a European Social Union, coalescing around the social investment welfare state.

Globalization in a world of competing nation states leads to economic power being wielded at a level that is beyond the reach of democracy, and therefore to dominance of our lives by transnational corporations. We should not seek to deal with this problem by reversing globalization, as that leads to protectionism, economic inefficiency and intensified antagonism among states. Strengthening transnational democracy is needed, but this is very hard, as it requires not just formal institutions but popular sentiment that accepts shared interests across national boundaries.


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