Placing Austerity in Context: The Greek Case Between Neo-Liberal Globalisation and an Ordoliberal EU

  • Vassilis K. FouskasEmail author
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


This chapter discusses the social and economic consequences of the “adjustment programmes” imposed on Greece by the EU, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the IMF. It shows that subaltern classes in Greece were the main losers, the winners being select Greek business elites and the banking system of the core. This is not simply a “dark side of European integration” but a symptom of broader historical and structural processes in Western capitalist economies. As the chapter shows in detail, austerity in Greece and everywhere should be placed in the context of the crisis of neo-liberal globalisation (led by the USA) and ordoliberal European integration (led by Germany). What Bob Jessop calls “a state of enduring austerity” is an epiphenomenon of the neo-liberal, supply-side authoritarian turn of Western capitalist economies as a whole, which finds expression in the public policies of Anglo-American neo-liberalism and German-led ordoliberalism. By examining the key features of neo-liberal globalisation and ordoliberalism, we show that they are both authoritarian and imperialist policies. German-led ordoliberalism, in particular, constitutes an authoritarian regime of binding norms that become truly unbearable and undemocratic in times of crisis. Specific departments of the Greek state are controlled directly by the creditors depriving it of any meaningful (relative) autonomy. Thus, globalisation, as the Greek example shows, has two key dark sides: Anglo-American neo-liberalism and German/Austrian ordoliberalism.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of East LondonLondonUK

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