Posts Tagged ‘anton hemerick’

The changing boundaries between society and economy in Europe

More than 30 people attended the Conference organized in Venice from May 8th to the 9th, 2009 in honour of professor Colin Crouch 65th anniversary. Attendees ranged from colleagues, to former researchers and students touched by the impact of Colin teaching and bénévolance. The Conference has been held at the University of Warwick new premises at Venice, Cannaregio, 3764 (Palazzo Pesaro-Papafava).

The changing boundaries between society and economy in Europe have been explored in three fields: gender division of work, capitalist diversity and institutional change, and changes in the governance of European societies.

CHANGES IN GENDER DIVISION OF WORK.

Maria José González (Universidad Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona), Teresa Jurado (UNED, Madrid) and Manuela Naldini (Turin University) have showed that women have changed a lot in the public sphere, while men have not. They founded that most powerful variable to explain country differences in the role of women was the existence or absence of a professional class.

CAPITALIST DIVERSITY AND INSTITUTIONAL CHANGE (Chair: Andrea Herrman, Utrech University)

Maarten Keune (European Trade Union Institute) analyses EU Integration and emphasizes the diverse impact of the EU: “the single market has increased the exit options of capital. Keune speaks of the “need of governments to court capital and the need of governments and labour to strengthen competitive corporatism (in corporativist countries)”. He finds the impact of the EU has been higher in labour market (showing wages has been sustainable restrained from 1995), than in the welfare state (where cases are very diverse and range from high restrain in some countries to higher expenditure in others). He sees the national level as remaining key to constraining the markets.

Ulrich Glassmann (University of Cologne) speaks about Continuity and Change in Capitalism. Looking at Italian and German regions over the last decade he finds an increase in demand for dual labour markets in the traditional industries (temporary work contracts have tripled in last decade). Whereas in new growth industries, pressure on firms have forced regions to specialize. Germany has fragmented in two ways: spatially and institutionally with regard to labour and Glassman finds that spatial approaches are receiving a lot attention. He illustrates what this means with the example of regional government policy in the Land of Rhine-Westphalia where the economics Ministry has been absolutely reorganized, areas of policy have been clustered along sectors, and funds are being allocated to the growth sectors. This is a very different approach to what they did before, when sectors with problems were privileged.

THE GOVERNANCE OF EUROPEAN SOCIETIES (Chair: Simona Talani, Bath University).

Anton Hemerick (WRR, The Netherlands), speaks about the Reform of the Welfare States, and says that the reason why the Chinese saved so much in the last two decades was that they were saving to cover health cost in case of illness (given that they did not have any health system). “Even though there is an immense window of opportunity for welfare recalibration in Europe, Hemerick sees institutional shortcomings.

Guglielmo Meardi (University of Warwick) analyses Industrial relations after European state traditions. Meardi points out that only 6 per cent of jobs have been lost because of outsourcing in the EU. He finds labour standards do not explain Foreign Direct Investment from Multinationals (quoting Germany and Italy as two examples). He shares evidence showing that productivity of labour increases and even overpasses that of other more productive countries when technology and operations are upgraded in less developed countries (examples of Germany and Poland). He remarks that studies about workers across countries in Europe might not apply same assumptions and share the same conclusions as studies over migrants across the EU because the regulations are two tier and different for the two groups across nation states.

Colin Crouch (Warwick University) sees a change in the structure of the labor force and also in gender competition. This will be leading to different formations that will not be easily explained by old categories. Crouch remarks that social structures of sectors are not the same in different sectors. “We may need to understand industries and sectors before we understand countries”. Thus, politics continues to be very important.

Philippe Schmitter (European University Institute) remarks that “we are in the middle of a dramatic change… and the potentiality for corruption is huge with taxation without representation”. He says that politicians are out of touch with citizens.

Franca Alacevich (University of Florence) se plantea ¿cómo entender

mejor la crisis hoy? Afirma que lo que ocurría a nivel micro en los 1990 nos ayuda a entenderlo mejor: “lo que estaba ocurriendo a nivel macro a nivel sindical (poco) no era lo mismo que ocurría al nivel micro (mucho) en términos de relaciones laborales”. Sin embargo, a diferencia de entonces, las organizaciones sindicales no consiguen representar el mapa de trabajadores (desempleados, emigrantes, trabajadores del sector servicios, muy dispersos geográficamente). Además, dentro de las empresas, ¿Dónde reside la legitimidad de la negociación? Con la externalizacion, la gobernanza se complica. Encuentra que en términos generales estamos viviendo una diáspora sindical con los sindicatos.

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