How (and Why) Is This Different? The Politics of Economic Crisis in Western Europe and the United States
Jonas Pontusson, University of Geneva
How do government responses to the Great Recession of 2008–10 compare to government responses to the recessions and economic adjustment problems of 1974-82?
Focusing on Britain, France, Germany, Sweden and the US, Pontusson argues that governments have retreated from selective intervention in the economy
and converged on fiscal stimulus as the main form of crisis response. At the same time, a shift from social Keynesianism to liberal Keynesianism can be
observed, with a greater reliance on tax cuts to stimulate the economy and spending cuts to restore fiscal balance. This dual shift reflects changes in
the balance of power between labor and capital and electoral coalitions as well as the constraints of globalization and European integration.
Jonas Pontusson is Professor of Comparative Politics at the
University of Geneva. He is the author of The Limits of Social Democracy: Investment Politics in Sweden (1992) and Inequality and Prosperity: Social Europe
versus Liberal America (2005) and editor of several volumes, including a volume on government responses to the Great Recession that will be published shortly
by the Russell Sage Foundation. His most recent article, entitled The Structure of Inequality and the Politics of Redistribution, appeared in the May 2011
issue of the American Political Science Review. Recommended reading: How (and Why) Is This Different? The Politics of Economic Crisis in Western Europe and
the US (with Damian Raess, 2011). Working Paper, University of Geneva.