Chapter

The Dynamics of Adjustment in Economic Practices in Britain, Germany, and France

Vivien A. Schmidt

in The Futures of European Capitalism

Published in print August 2002 | ISBN: 9780199253685
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600210 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199253684.003.0005
The Dynamics of Adjustment in Economic Practices in Britain, Germany, and France

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This chapter details the different dynamics of economic adjustment in Britain, Germany, and France from the postwar period until today. For Britain, it describes the problems of business in the postwar period and the impact of the radical therapy of the Thatcher years that brought the country closer to the market capitalist ideal by making business relations more distant, government relations more arm's length, and labour relations more market‐reliant. For Germany, it outlines the minimal change from the postwar period until the 1990s, followed by efforts to make the managed capitalist system more competitive, which have left the system under strain, as interfirm relations have loosened, labour‐management relations have become less cooperative, and government has sought to facilitate adjustment, often unsuccessfully. For France, finally, the chapter examines the major transformation in state capitalism since the mid‐1980s with the move away from state‐led capitalism to a more state‐enhanced variety, where business is more autonomous and labour more market‐reliant, but the state still has a role to play.

Keywords: Britain; business‐government relations; economic adjustment; France; Germany; interfirm relations; labour‐management relations; managed capitalism; market capitalism; state capitalism

Chapter.  24511 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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