The time for reform is always now

Dr Stuart Shields (@docstushi, University of Manchester) will talk about the role of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and neo-liberalism in East and Central Europe.

Portland 210 Wednesday 27 November Leeds Metropolitan University

The time for reform is always now: The European Bank for Reconstruction & Development and the renewal of neoliberalisation after the ‘financial crisis’

The paper interrogates the role of the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development EBRD in the refinement of neoliberal strategies in post-communist transition. By drawing upon a Gramscian critical political economy approach, the paper argues that the EBRD has promoted the deepening commodification of post-communist social relations through the diffusion of ideas centred round three successive waves of neoliberalisation in Eastern Central Europe (ECE). The EBRD has taken advantage of a series of crises to redefine the relationship between national state and regional and international institutions, to accelerate the closure of divergent paths to development: the first based on market construction from the early 1990s, a second based on reconfiguring institutional arrangements in ECE associated with European Union (EU) accession, and third, the neoliberal promotion of competitiveness after EU membership. The paper contends that the EBRD’s strategies for neoliberalisation have shifted again in response to the current crisis, and thus a fourth wave of neoliberalisation is emerging following the North Atlantic financial crisis. This latest wave of neoliberalisation evident in recent EBRD material prompts ECE to discover sources of growth less sensitive to changes in the external environment.

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