On Monday the 4th July, Project Forum hosted a debate on the effects of economic liberalisation in Central Eastern Europe.
The primacy of economic growth has consistently been called into question since the financial crisis of 2007/2008, however, much of its critique has been framed within Western parameters. This debate therefore took a look at the history and consequences of the growth imperative within a Central Eastern European context.
From the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, through different approaches to transition, EU accession, the global financial crisis of 2007/2008 and its aftermath, this debate looked at the evolution of the relationships between the growth imperative, economic liberalisation and democratic development in the countries of Central Eastern Europe [CEEC].
The Austrian academic Philipp Ther joined the Slovak politician and researcher Miroslav Beblavý to analyse how alternative socio-economic models ultimately lost out to the adoption of Washington Consensus proposals throughout CEEC, exploring why this was, where the adoption of these proposals succeeded and/or failed and what it is that has determined their failure or success and led to different developments throughout the region.
Has reducing government spending increased prosperity and what effect has prioritising economic growth had on corruption and social indicators such as unemployment? Furthermore, to what extent have the strengths and weaknesses of economic liberalisation and the adoption of the primacy of economic growth impacted upon democratic and demographic development and the state of politics within the CEEC today?
Miroslav Beblavý is a member of the National Council of the Slovak Republic and a senior research fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels
Philipp Ther is a professor and the head of the University of Vienna’s Institute for Eastern European History. Philipp Ther recently won the Leipzig Book Fair non-fiction prize for his new book, Die neue Ordnung auf dem alten Kontinent. Eine Geschichte des neoliberalen Europa [The New Order on the Old Continent. A History of Neoliberal Europe] (Suhrkamp Verlag, 2014)
Michal Hvorecký is a Slovak writer, blogger, columnist and translator
This debate took place with the support of the European Union’s Europe for Citizens Programme and was one debate of many taking place as part of an international series of debates on the same theme in cities around Europe, including Barcelona, Bratislava, Brussels, London, Sofia and Warsaw.
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