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Varieties of neoliberalism? Restructuring in large industrially dependent regions across Western and Eastern Europe

Birch, Kean and Mykhnenko, Vlan (2009) Varieties of neoliberalism? Restructuring in large industrially dependent regions across Western and Eastern Europe. Journal of Economic Geography, 9 (3). pp. 355-380. ISSN 1468-2702

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Abstract

The recent travails of the European Constitution, now Reform Treaty, illustrate the divergence of views on European integration. To many commentators and academics, European integration has come to represent the establishment of a neoliberal Europe characterized by a 'negative' form of integration. This neoliberalization of European economies has been underpinned by the perceived threat of globalization and global competition leading to the wholesale restructuring of European economies over the past three decades. However, this article does not assume that globalization and neoliberal integration have homogenization effects; rather, it argues that neoliberalization as a process has produced varieties of neoliberalism across Europe and not one hegemonic form of capitalism. To make this argument, the article focuses on the rationale behind neoliberal policies in different European countries, the specific strategies these countries have pursued and the impacts that these strategies have had on employment and growth in large industrially dependent regions.