Liberalism in Illiberal States: Ideas and Economic Adjustment in Contemporary Europe

ISBN : 9780190683986

Mark I. Vail
288 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Jan 2018
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After the end of the Cold War, liberalism emerged as the world's dominant political-economic ideology, and economic liberalism seemed to have achieved global hegemony. In Liberalism in Illiberal States, Mark Vail acknowledges the dominance of economic liberalism, but argues that its implementation in specific countries is always unique and dependent upon powerful historical factors. He focuses on France, Germany, and Italy--countries that many scholars do not view as liberal at all--and contends they have in fact developed distinct forms of national liberalism, of which their postwar models of capitalism were merely one manifestation. Vail argues that these states' political economies have been shaped by centuries-old liberal traditions, which have continued to inform national alternatives to transnational neoliberalism in the contemporary era. He presents case studies that show how nationally-specific interpretations of liberalism are flexible and responsive to local realities, especially in times of economic uncertainty. By demonstrating how variegated the practice of economic liberalism actually is, Liberalism in Illiberal States will reshape our understanding of liberal political economy in the contemporary world.


Preface; Acknowledgements; Abbreviations; List of Tables; Introduction; National Liberalisms in Illiberal States: Competing Conceptions of Economic Order in Contemporary Europe; Chapter 2; National Liberalisms in Historical Perspective: Conceptions of State, Society, and Economy in Illiberal States; Chapter 3; Degrees of Freedom and Constraint: French Statist Liberalism and Economic Citizenship in the Shadow of Maastricht; Chapter 4; Economic Adjustment through Group Subsidization: Managing the Social Market Economy under German Corporate Liberalism; Chapter 5; Group Capture and Political Sclerosis: The Failed Synthesis of Italian Clientelist Liberalism; Conclusion; The Contested Politics of Economic Change in a Neoliberal Age

About the author: 

Mark I. Vail is an Associate Professor of Political Science and a Faculty Fellow at the Murphy Institute of Political Economy at Tulane University. His focuses on the comparative political economy of advanced industrial countries, with a particular focus on social and economic policy in Western Europe. His first book, Recasting Welfare Capitalism, was published by Temple University Press in 2010. He has published work in a number of prominent venues, including Comparative Politics, Governance, The European Journal of Political Research, and West European Politics.

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