Employment, Consumption, Debt and Industrial Relations Systems in Europe. A Path of Research
Comparisons between British and German employment performance in recent years have characterized the two countries as, respectively, finding a formula of high employment based on high consumption expenditure financed by household debt, and remaining tied to an external trade and low consumption model that no longer creates jobs. Placing these two countries in a wider perspective of all European Union member states and the Usa reveals a different picture. Two different patterns seem associated with high employment levels:
a northern European one of low consumption expenditure and high household debt, and an Anglophone one of high consumption expenditure and high household debt. Links for these contrasting models are sought in their very different social policy and industrial relations systems. Questions are raised concerning the role of household debt in the northern European cases, and the lack of any clear patterns differentiating much of western, southern and central Europe.
Objective and Subjective Indicators of Social Cohesion. Italy and Germany in the European Scenario
The aim of this essay is to bring out the efforts of European researchers to construct significant measurements of the different dimensions of social cohesion, with particular attention to Italy and Germany.
Systematic comparison between European countries shows Italy as being less cohesive than Germany, even bearing in mind that both are less cohesive than Scandinavian countries. The attempt to verify the differences in the reaction to the recent economic-financial crisis seems to indicate a correlation between low cohesion and the negative impact of the crisis on employment and poverty. The second part of the essay describes analyses by international bodies of the different impact of the crisis on living conditions in European
countries. Lastly, the weight of investments in the service sector is considered, particularly public services, for a better reaction to the crisis. The characteristics of the German model of the «social market
economy» emerge well, as a result of the opportunities they offer to combat the excesses of market logics.
Public, Private, Common. Lessons from the World Crisis
After bringing out the specific elements of the present economic crisis, the essay shows how the peculiar characteristics of the ongoing crisis require proactive state intervention on the economy, as both guide and agent, through economic planning, and structural change of the development model. The essay also points out the equal importance that other institutions can have in explaining the crisis and how to get over it: the civil virtues that individuals can acquire in various ways and social capital, understood as all those social relations of trust that not only precede the market and so create a favourable atmosphere for trade, but also avoid its failures due to opportunism, informational asymmetries and contractual incompleteness. For the author, the plurality of principles of regulation should also have a corresponding plurality of economic forms (private, public and civil), a plurality of business forms (private, public, mixed public and private, cooperative, non-profit) and a plurality of forms of goods (private, public, relational, common).