Studies on the democratic backsliding in Central Eastern Europe (CEE) often focus on local dysfunctions and idiosyncrasies, and they tend to overlook how those authoritarian tendencies are deeply influenced by European integration. I argue that the wave of authoritarianism in CEE is exacerbated by a shared political culture based on Christian Democracy (CD), and instead of divergence between Western and CEE, a form of convergence is happening. I point to CD’s role in responding to the ‘polanyian’ tensions between democracy and liberalism. CD played an important role in shaping the present constitutional and ideational order of the European Union. The ‘illiberal’ policies enacted by several member countries—especially in the domains of Christian identity politics, traditional gender roles, and Bismarckian welfare—come out of the Christian-Democratic political toolbox and exemplify a paradoxical regime of authoritarian liberalism (or politics without policies) that does not threaten the (neo)liberal foundations of the EU.
This article aims to advance the theoretical understanding of how welfare affects household needs and willingness to take on debt across OECD countries. Previous sociological literature has attempted to explain indebtedness through the quantity of welfare spending, by searching for a tradeoff between the lack of welfare and the increase of household debt. Based on the “life cycle” hypothesis, according to which people take on debt when they are younger and pay it off as they age, this paper argues that divergence in household debt across countries is a function of the welfare state’s orientation toward old-age provisions and the insider/outsider cleavage in the labor market. A welfare state that is generous toward the youth, facilitates the possibility for people to plan ahead in life and, by stabilizing financial expectations, makes people less risk averse. Higher debt ratios are more common in Northern countries as social protection is more extensive; while in continental countries, where welfare benefits are narrower and tend to target the already employed and the elderly, people are more risk-averse toward debt. The proposed theory is supported by an illustrative empirical analysis using data from the OECD SOCX, the Comparative Welfare Entitlements Dataset (CWED2) and the ECRI statistical package.
The aim of this article is to explain the different levels of private indebtedness in a number of selected countries. Previous sociological literature has tried to explain indebtedness by the quantity of welfare spending, searching for a relation between the lack of welfare and the increase of household-debt. In this theoretically oriented paper, I argue that to understand the influence of welfare on debt, the quality of welfare spending matters more than the quantity. The institutional qualities of different welfare regimes may influence people, making them more or less risk adverse towards borrowing money. In northern countries, higher debt ratios are more common because social protection is more extensive, while in continental countries, where welfare benefits are more narrow and and tend to target the already employed and the elderly, people are more risk adverse toward debt. The proposed theory is supported by an illustrative empirical analysis using data from the LIS and Comparative Welfare Entitlements Dataset.
"...As I mentioned above, scholars have delineated two main correlations: deregulation of the financial sector and welfare safety nets may boost private debt; and the same could be said for welfare reattachment or welfare privatization. While both propositions sound reasonable, they must be tested. I propose here a third hypothesis, as an effort to integrate those two visions. I do not think we can reach a “one-size-fits-all” type of explanation; context matters, and as many other sociologists have noticed, welfare is an important part of that. What I believe is important to underline, is that different types of welfare may have different effects on indebtedness. I will use the “welfare regime theory” to explain why, in certain context, debt may have a substitute effect and in others contexts a complementary effect. The macro transformation of the production paradigm plays a crucial role too, and the rise of jobs in the service sector plays an important role on income dynamics as well."
During the 1930s and up until his death in 1947, Fisher proposed an original interpretation of the causes of the crisis and several possible fixes. His propositions were radically different from the mainstream, orthodox narratives of his time and were partly inspired by the work and insight of so-called cranks, in particular that of Silvio Gesell and Fredrik Soddy. The works of the late Fisher were an interesting syncretism between the most orthodox quantitative theory and the most eccentric methods. The aim of the paper is to show the continuity and coherence of Irving Fisher’s thinking throughout his life. His later works, often described as a delusional development of his thought are, in fact, very consistent with his early work on the quantity theory of money.