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

  • Maria MarkantonatouEmail author
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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.

Keywords

Interwar Austria Greek crisis League of Nations Troika Austerity 

„Konservative 1920er Jahre“ und konservative 2010er Jahre? Austeritätspolitik im Zwischenkriegsösterreich und im heutigen Griechenland

Zusammenfassung

Der Beitrag vergleicht das Programm des Völkerbundes zum „Finanziellen Wiederaufbau Österreichs“ (1922) und das Sparprogramm für Griechenland seit 2010 („Memorandum of Understanding“) anhand der Analyse Polanyis zum Österreich der Zwischenkriegszeit. In den Sect. 1 und 2 werden die Ähnlichkeiten zwischen den beiden Konjunkturprogrammen untersucht. Ähnlichkeiten ergeben sich bei der Politik (Sparsamkeit, Liberalisierung, Schrumpfung des öffentlichen Sektors), den Ergebnissen (wirtschaftliche Verschlechterung, Arbeitslosigkeit, Schwächung der sozialen Dienste) und den politischen Methoden (ausländische Interventionen in Verbindung mit der internen Politik der öffentlichen Ordnung). Sect. 3 behandelt die Unterschiede in den beiden Fällen. Während Österreich im betrachteten Zeitraum aus dem gemeinsamen Währungsraum des Habsburgerreichs ausgestiegen war, bleibt Griechenland weiterhin im Euroraum. Im Falle des griechischen Rettungsplans gab es keine dringende geopolitische Zweckmäßigkeit, ganz im Gegensatz zur Intervention des Völkerbundes (um einen Anschluss an Deutschland zu verhindern). Trotz dieser Unterschiede und der Tatsache, dass die gegenseitige wirtschaftliche Abhängigkeit heute größer ist, ist das, was die beiden Fälle vergleichbar macht, der „autoritäre Interventionismus“ der beteiligten liberalen Akteure. Es wird herausgestellt, dass Polanyis Konzept des „autoritären Interventionismus“ und seine damit verbundene Analyse des Faschismus einen besonders „österreichischen“ Hintergrund haben (d. h. einen Bezug zum österreichischen Programm), dass sie aber dennoch wichtig für eine Analyse der griechischen Sparpolitik und des Krisenmanagements in der Eurozone sind.

Schlüsselwörter

Zwischenkriegszeit Österreich Griechenlandkrise Völkerbund Troika Austeritätspolitik 

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Copyright information

© Österreichische Gesellschaft für Soziologie 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of the AegeanMytilene, LesvosGreece

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