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Published in: Österreichische Zeitschrift für Soziologie 2/2019

01-06-2019 | Hauptbeiträge

"Conservative 1920s" and Conservative 2010s? Austerity Politics in Interwar Austria and Present-day Greece

Author: Maria Markantonatou

Published in: Österreichische Zeitschrift für Soziologie | Issue 2/2019

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Abstract

The paper compares the League of Nations’ program of “Financial Reconstruction of Austria” (1922) and the austerity program for Greece since 2010 (“Memorandum of Understanding”) by drawing on Polanyi’s analysis on interwar Austria. Sect. 1 and 2 look at the similarities between the two economic programs. Similarities are found in the policies implemented (austerity, liberalization, public sector shrinking), the outcomes (economic deterioration, unemployment, weakening of social services) and the political methods (foreign interventions combined with law and order politics internally). Sect. 3 discusses the differences in the two cases. While Austria had stepped out of the Habsburg Empire’s common currency zone in the period concerned, Greece still remains into the Eurozone. In the case of the Greek bailout program, there was no urgent geopolitical expediency, as in the case of the League of Nations’ intervention (to prevent an Anschluss with Germany). Despite these differences and the fact that economic interdependence is deeper today, what makes the two cases comparable, is the “authoritarian interventionism” of the liberal actors involved. It is argued that Polanyi’s concept of “authoritarian interventionism” and his related analysis on fascism have a particularly “Austrian” background (i. e. one relating to the Austrian program), but they are also crucial for the analysis of the Greek austerity politics and the crisis management in the Eurozone.
Footnotes
1
Huber, Peter. Kredit oder Untergang: Als Österreich vor der Pleite stand. Die Presse, 14.11.2011; Portisch, Hugo. Österreich ging es viel schlechter als Griechenland heute. Der Standard, 25.01.2013; Schwarz, Valentin. Als Österreich Griechenland war: Krisenpolitik damals und heute. Arbeit und Wirtschaft (A&W) Blog, 13.02.2014.
 
2
League of Nations (1922) Minutes of the Third Meeting of the 22th session of the Council of the League of Nations, September 1922.
 
3
“Greek Prime Minister’s statement on activating EU/IMF aid”, Reuters, 23.04.2010.
 
4
Lloyd George, “Letter from Mr. Lloyd George to Baron Georg Franckenstein, Austrian Minister, London”, August 15th, 1922. In League of Nations (1922).
 
5
For all Greek electoral results, Ministry of Interior, [in Greek] http://​ekloges-prev.​singularlogic.​eu/​v2009/​pages/​index.​html.
 
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Metadata
Title
"Conservative 1920s" and Conservative 2010s? Austerity Politics in Interwar Austria and Present-day Greece
Author
Maria Markantonatou
Publication date
01-06-2019
Publisher
Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden
Published in
Österreichische Zeitschrift für Soziologie / Issue 2/2019
Print ISSN: 1011-0070
Electronic ISSN: 1862-2585
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11614-019-00334-7

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