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Capital, Labor, and the Prospects of the European Social Model in the East. CES Central & Eastern Europe Working Paper, no. 58, 2004

Bohle, Dorothee, and Greskovits, Bela. (2004) Capital, Labor, and the Prospects of the European Social Model in the East. CES Central & Eastern Europe Working Paper, no. 58, 2004. [Working Paper]

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    Abstract

    During the past decade of European economic integration vastly worse standards have emerged in work conditions, industrial relations, and social welfare in Eastern Europe than in the West. Area scholars explain this divide by labor weakness caused by the ideological legacy of communism, and do not problematize the impact of transnational capital. In contrast, this essay argues that the reason why the European social model has not traveled to the East is that its socio-economic foundations, the industrial building blocks of the historical compromise between capital and labor, have not traveled either. In the West, the compromise had been rooted in capital-intensive consumer durables industries, such as car-manufacturing, and their suppliers. These sectors brought together organized and vocal labor with businesses willing to accommodate workers’ demands, because for them labor had been less a problem as a cost-factor and more important as factor of demand. However, the main driving force of the eastward expansion of European capital has been the relocation of labor-intensive activities where business relies on sweating masses of workers, whose importance as consumers is marginal, and who are weak in the workplace and the marketplace. With this general conceptualization of how the emerging new European division of labor constrains the social aspects of East European market societies as a background, the essay studies the cases of Hungarian electronics and Slovak car industries in order to better understand how particular features of various leading sectors mediate the general pattern.

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    Item Type: Working Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > employment/labour market > labour/labor
    Countries > Slovakia
    EU policies and themes > External relations > EU-Central and Eastern Europe
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > social policy > general
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > employment/labour market > industrial/labour relations
    Countries > Hungary
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > Harvard University, Center for European Studies > Program on Central & Eastern Europe Working Papers Series
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2009
    Page Range: p. 33
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 18:00
    URI: http://aei.pitt.edu/id/eprint/9275

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