The Cornerstone of Economic Nationalism: National Self-image

Abstract

The focus of this article is Estonia’s post-socialist economic transition and the reasons behind the liberal nature of the country’s economic policies. I argue that the self-image of a nation plays a significant role in shaping its economic policies. Objectives associated with economic nationalism can be achieved through various means that can include strategies of economic liberalism as well. Thus, the concepts of economic nationalism and economic liberalism are not a dichotomy. I examine the construction of the Estonian self-image through the discourses of radical individualism and industriousness, historical suffering, desire for freedom and return to Europe and sense of abandonment. By showing how these discourses interact with the liberal paradigm, I claim that Estonian policy-makers chose liberal economic policies because they perceived them to most effectively serve their objectives. When economic policies are examined in view of the national self-image and motivation of policy-makers, the incongruence between economic nationalism and liberal policies disappears.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Abbas, Ali. 2017. Economic nationalism and international trade. Journal of Competitiveness Studies 25(1): 1–6.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Anderson, Benedict. 1991. Imagined Communities. Verso.

  3. Baughn, Christopher, and Attila Yaprak. 1996. Economic Nationalism: Conceptual and Empirical Development. Political Psychology 17(4): 759–775.

    Google Scholar 

  4. BBC News. 1995. Putin Deplores collapse of the USSR, 25 April 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4480745.stm.

  5. Beissinger, Mark. 2002. Nationalist Mobilisation and the Collapse of the Soviet State. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Berend, Ivan. 2000. The Failure of Economic Nationalism: Central and Eastern Europe before World War II. Revue économique 51(2): 315–322.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Berend, Ivan. 2007. Social Shock in Transforming Central and Eastern Europe. Communist and Post-Communist Studies 40(3): 269–280.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Capling, Ann. 1997. Economic Nationalism in the 1990s. The Australian Quarterly 69(2): 1–14.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Crane, George. 1998. Economic Nationalism: Bringing the Nation Back In. Millenium: Journal of International Studies 27(1) 55–75.

  10. Creswell, John. 2007. Qualitative Inquiry & Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches, 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Eesti Päevaleht. 2014. Kaitseväe juhataja Riho Terras: Eestile ei ole sõjalist ohtu. 27 March 2014.

  12. Eichler, Maya. 2005. Explaining Postcommunist Transformations: Economic Nationalism in Ukraine and Russia. In Economic Nationalism in a Globalising World, ed. Eric Helleiner and Andreas Pickel, 69–91. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Estonian Investment Agency. 2018. https://investinestonia.com/business-in-estonia/taxation/. Accessed June 2019.

  14. Estonian Ministry of Defence. 2014. http://www.kmin.ee/en. Accessed June 2019.

  15. Feldman, G. 2000. Shifting the Perspective on Identity Discourse in Estonia. Journal of Baltic Studies 31(4): 406–428.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Feldmann, Magnus. 2013. Varieties of Capitalism and the Estonian Economy. Institutions, growth, and Crisis in a Liberal Market Economy. Communist and Post-Communist Studies 46(4): 493–501.

  17. Feldmann, Magnus. 2017. Crisis and Opportunity: Verities of Capitalism and Varieties of crisis Responses in Estonia and Slovenia. European Journal of Industrial Relations 23(1): 33–46.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Feldmann, Magnus, and Razeen Sally. 2002. From the Soviet Union to the European Union: Estonian Trade Policy, 1991–2000. The World Economy 25(1): 79–106.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Financial Times. 2014. The Strange Revival of Nationalism in Global Politics. 22 September 2004.

  20. Financial Times. 2015. Estonia’s PM Insists Former Soviet State is Nordic. 2 March 2015.

  21. Financial Times. 2018. Hungary Ties Growth to Bumper of German Carmakers. 22 November 2018.

  22. Friedman, Milton. 1962. Capitalism and Freedom, 4th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Frye, Timothy. 2010. Building States and Markets after Communism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Gilpin, Robert. 2001. Global Political Economy: Understanding the International Economic Order. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Götz, Marta, Barbara Jankovska, Anna Matysek-Jedrych, and Katarzyna Mroczek-Dabrowska. 2018. Governmental Change and FDI Inflow to Poland and Hungary in 2010–2016. Entrepreneurial Business and Economic Review 6(1): 153–173.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Hale, Henry. 2008. The Foundations of Ethnic Politics: Separatism of States and Nations in Eurasia and the World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Hall, Derek. 2005. Japanese Spirit, Western Economics. In Economic Nationalism in a Globalising World, ed. Eric Helleiner and Andreas Pickel, 118–141. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Hayek, Freidrich. 1960. The Constitution of Liberty. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Helleiner, Eric. 2002. Economic Nationalism a Challenge to Economic Liberalism? Lessons from the 19th Century. International Studies Quarterly 46: 307–329.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Helleiner, Eric. 2005. Why Would Nationalists Not Want a National Currency? The Case of Quebec. In Economic Nationalism in a Globalising World, ed. Eric Helleiner and Andreas Pickel, 164–183. Cornell University Press.

  31. Herod, Andrew. 1998. Theorising Trase Unions in Transition. In Theorising Transition: The Political Economy of Post-Communist Transformation. ed. Pickles John and Smith Adrian. 313–327. Routledge.

  32. Hobsbawm, Eric. 1992. Nations and Nationalism Since 1780, 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Hopkin, Jonathan. 2017. When Polanyi Met Farrage: Market Fundamentalism, Economic Nationalism, and Britain’s Exit from the European Union. The British Journal of Politics and International Relations 19(3): 465–578.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Jasiecki, Krzysztof. 2018. The Strengths and Weaknesses of the Varieties of Capitalism Approach: The Case of Central and Eastern Europe. International Journal of Management and Economics 54(4): 328–342.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Johnson, Juliet, and Andrew Barnes. 2015. Financial Nationalism and Its International Enablers: The Hungarian Experience. Review of International Political Economy 22(3): 535–569.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Judah, Ben. 2014. Fragile Empire: How Russia Fell in and out of Love with Vladimir Putin. New Haven: Yale University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Judt, Tony. 2005. Postwar: A History of Europe since 1945. London: Vintage Books.

    Google Scholar 

  38. Kahk, Juhann, and Enn Tarvel. 1997. An Economic HIstory of the Baltic States. Department of Baltic Studies: Stockholm University.

  39. Kalmus, Veronika, and Triin Vihalemm. 2006. Distinct Mental Structures in Transitional Culture: An Empirical Analysis of values and identities in Estoniaand Sweden. Journal of Baltic Studies 37(1): 94–123.

    Google Scholar 

  40. Khazanov, Andrei. 1995. After the USSR: Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Politics in the Commonwealth of Independent States. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Klesment, Martin. 2009. The Estonian Economy under Soviet Rule. a historiographic overview. Journal of Baltic Studies 40(20): 245–264.

  42. Kornai, Janos. 2015. Hungary’s U-Turn: Retreating from Democracy. Journal of Democracy 26(3): 34–48.

    Google Scholar 

  43. Kukk, M. 1993. Political Opposition in Soviet Estonia 1940–1987. Journal of Baltic Studies 24(4): 369–384.

    Google Scholar 

  44. Kutsar, Dagmar, and Avo Trumm. 1993. Poverty Among Households in Estonia. Scandinavian Journal of Social Welfare 2: 128–141.

    Google Scholar 

  45. Lamoreaux, Jeremy, and David Galbreath. 2008. The Baltic States as ‘Small States’: Negotiating the ‘East’ by Engaging the ‘West. Journal of Baltic Studies 39(1): 1–14.

    Google Scholar 

  46. Lange, Falk. 1994. The Baltic States and the CSCE. Journal of Baltic Studies 25(3): 233–248.

    Google Scholar 

  47. Lauristin, Marju, and Peeter Vihalemm. 1997. Recent Historical Developments in Estonia: Three Stages of Transition. In Return to the Western World—Cultural and Political Perspectives on the Estonian Post-communist Transtion, ed. Marju Lauristin and Peeter Vihalemm, 73–127. Tartu: Tartu University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  48. Lauristin, Marju, and Peeter Vihalemm. 2009. The Political Agenda During Different Period of Estonian Transformation: External and Internal Factors. Journal of Baltic Studies 40(1): 1–28.

    Google Scholar 

  49. Lieven, Anatol. 1993. The Baltic Revolution. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Path to Independence. New Haven: Yale University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  50. Lugosi, Nicole. 2018. Radical Right Framing of Social Policy in Hungary: Between Nationalism and Populism. Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy 34(3): 210–233.

    Google Scholar 

  51. MacMillan, Margaret. 2001. Peacemakers: Six Months that Changed the World. London: John Murray.

    Google Scholar 

  52. Mettam, Colin, and Stephen Williams. 2001. A Colonial Perspective on Population Migration in Soviet Estonia. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 27(1): 133–150.

    Google Scholar 

  53. Miljan, Toivo. 1989. The Proposal to Establish Economic Autonomy in Estonia. Journal of Baltic Studies 20(2): 149–164.

    Google Scholar 

  54. Nakano, Takeshi. 2004. Rethinking Economic Nationalism. Nations and Nationalism 10(3): 211–229.

    Google Scholar 

  55. Norkus, Zenonas. 2007. Why Did Estonia Perform Best? The North-South Gap in the Post-Socialist Economic Transition of the Baltic States. Journal of Baltic Studies 38(1): 21–42.

    Google Scholar 

  56. Orenstein, Michael Alexander. 2001. Out of the Red: Building Capitalism and Democracy in Postcommunist Europe. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

    Google Scholar 

  57. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. 2017. OECD Economic Surveys Estonia. www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/economic-survey-estonia.htm.

  58. Pickel, Andreas. 2003. Explaining, and Explaining with, Economic Nationalism. Nations and Nationalism 9(1): 105–127.

    Google Scholar 

  59. Pickel, Andreas. 2005. Introduction. False Oppositions: Reconceptualising Economic Nationalism in a Globalising World. In Economic Nationalism in a Globalising World, ed. Andreas Pickel and Eric Helleiner. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  60. Piirimäe, Helmut. 1997. Historical Heritage: The Relations between Estonia and Her Nordic Neighbours. In Return to the Western World - Cultural and Political Perspectives on the Estonian Post-Communist Transition. ed. Lauristin Marju. Tartu University Press.

  61. Pryke, Sam. 2012. Economic Nationalism: Theory, History and Prospects, Global. Policy 3(3): 281–290.

    Google Scholar 

  62. Raun, Toivo. 1991. The Re-establishment of Estonian Independence. Journal of Baltic Studies 22(3): 251–258.

    Google Scholar 

  63. Raun, Toivo. 1994. Post-Soviet Estonia, 1991–1993. Journal of Baltic Studies 25(1): 73–80.

    Google Scholar 

  64. Reznikova, Nataliia, Panchencko, Volodymyr, and Bulatova, Olena. 2018. The Policy of Economic Nationalism: From Origins to New Variations of Economic Patriotism. Baltic Journal of Economic Studies 4(4): 274–281.

    Google Scholar 

  65. Sachs, Jeffrey. 1999. Poland’s Jump to the Market Economy, 2nd ed. Cambridge: The MIT Press.

    Google Scholar 

  66. Shaw, Denis. 1995. The Post-Soviet Republics—A Systematic Geography. Harlow: Longman.

    Google Scholar 

  67. Smith, David. 2001. Estonia—Independence and European Integration. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  68. Smith, David. 2008. Woe from Stones’: Commemoration, Identity Politics and Estonia’s War of Monuments. Journal of Baltic Studies 39(4): 419–430.

    Google Scholar 

  69. Smith, Adrian, and Alison Stenning. 2006. Beyond Household Economies: Articulations and Spaces of Economic Practice in Postsocialism. Progress in Human Geography 30(2): 190–213.

    Google Scholar 

  70. Sokol, Martin. 2001. Central and Eastern Europe a Decade after the Fall of State Socialism: Regional Dimensionsfor Transition Processes. Regional Studies 35(7): 645–655.

    Google Scholar 

  71. Surzhko-Harned, Lena. 2010. Liberal Nationalism, Nationalist Liberalisation, and Democracy: The Cases of Post-Soviet Estonia and Ukraine. Nationalities Papers 38(5): 623–646.

    Google Scholar 

  72. Taagepera, Raun. 1993. Estonia: Return to Independence. Boulder: Westview Press.

    Google Scholar 

  73. Taagepera, Raun. 2002. Baltic Values and Corruption in Comparative Context. Journal of Baltic Studies 33(3): 243–258.

    Google Scholar 

  74. The Economist. 2012. Start-Ups in Estonia: Baltic Green Shoots. 6 January 2012.

  75. The Economist. 2018a. Why is Hungary Turning to Nationalism? 5 April 2018.

  76. The Economist. 2018b. Poland’s Ruling Law and Justice Party is Doing Lasting Damage. 21 April 2018.

  77. The Economist. 2019. A New Kind of Cold War. 18 May 2019.

  78. The Heritage Foundation. 2018. Index of Economic Freedom. http://www.heritage.org/Index/. Accessd June 2019.

  79. True, Jacqui. 2005. Country before Money? Economic Globalisation and national Identity in New Zealand. In Economic Nationalism in a Globalising World, ed. Eric Helleiner and Andreas Pickel, 202–220. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  80. Tsygankov, Andrei. 2005. The Return to Eurasia: Russia’s Identity and Geoeconomic Choices in the Post-Soviet World. In Economic Nationalism in a Globalising World, ed. Eric Helleiner and Andreas Pickel, 44–69. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  81. Verdery, Katherine. 1996. What Socialism Was and What Comes Next? Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  82. Vihalemm, Peeter. 1997. Changing National Spacesin the Baltic Area. In Return to the Western World - Cultural and Political Perspectives on the Estonian Post-Communist Transition, ed. Lauristin Marju. Tartu University Press.

  83. Woe-Cumings, Meredith. 2005. Back to Basics: Ideology, Nationalism, and Asian Values in East Asia. In Economic Nationalism in a Globalising World, ed. Eric Helleiner and Andreas Pickel, 91–118. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  84. World Economic Forum. 2015. Global Competitiveness Index. http://www.weforum.org/reports/global-competitiveness-report-2014-2015. Accessed June 2019.

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Robert Mikecz.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Appendix

Appendix

List of interviewees

Interviewee 1 Prof. Urmas Varblane
Member of the Supervisory Board of the Bank of Estonia
Interview in Tallinn, Estonia, 2008
Interviewee 2 Egle Käärats
Deputy Secretary General on Labour Policy, Ministry of Social Affairs
Interview in Tallinn, Estonia, 2011
Interviewee 3 Dr. Margus Laidre
Represented the Republic of Estonia as Ambassador to Sweden, Germany and the UK, 1991–2014
Interview in London, UK, 2008
Interviewee 4 Mart Laar
Prime Minister of Estonia 1992—1994 and 1999—2002
Interview in Tallinn, Estonia, 2008
Interviewee 5 Tiit Vähi
Prime Minister of Estonia 1990–1992 and 1995–1997
Interview in Tallinn, Estonia, 2009
Interviewee 6 Dr. Ardo Hansson
Lead Economist, World Bank
Advisor to the Estonian government 1991—1997
Telephone interview, 2008
Interviewee 7 Prof. Jaak Leiman
Minister of Finance 1991–1992, 1996–1999
Interview in Tallinn, Estonia, 2008
Interviewee 8 Prof. Enn Listra
Member of the Supervisory Board of the Bank of Estonia
President of the Eastern Economic Association
Interview in Tallinn, Estonia, 2008
Interviewee 9 Prof. Erik Terk
Deputy Minister of Economy 1989—1992
Director of Estonian Institute for Future Studies
Interview in Tallinn, Estonia, 2009
Interviewee 10 Prof. Rein Ruutsoo
Former dissident, member of the Estonian Popular Front in the late 1980s and early 1990s
Interview in Tallinn, Estonia, 2010
Interviewee 11 Siim Kallas
Vice President, European Commission 2010–2014
Prime minister of Estonia, 2002—2003
Minister of Finance, 1999—2002
Minister of Foreign Affairs, 1995—1996
President of the Bank of Estonia, 1991—1995
Chairman of the Central Union of the Estonian Trade Unions, 1989—1991
Chairman of the Central Authority of the Savings Banks, 1979–1986
Specialist at the Finance Ministry of the Estonian SSR, 1975—1979
Interview in Brussels, Belgium, 2009
Interviewee 12 Andres Tarand
Prime Minister of Estonia, 1994—1995
Member of the Estonian Parliament 1992—2004
MEP for the European Socialist Party
Interview in Tallinn, Estonia, 2009

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Mikecz, R. The Cornerstone of Economic Nationalism: National Self-image. Fudan J. Hum. Soc. Sci. 12, 587–608 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40647-019-00271-5

Download citation

Keywords

  • Economic nationalism
  • Liberalism
  • Post-socialist transition
  • Estonia
  • Baltic
  • Central and Eastern Europe