The Euro, EU social democracy, and international monetary power: a critique of new constitutionalism

Strange, Gerard (2012) The Euro, EU social democracy, and international monetary power: a critique of new constitutionalism. Globalizations, 9 (2). pp. 257-272. ISSN 1474-7731

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This article critically interrogates the principle claims of the ‘new constitutionalist’ thesis, particularly as applied to the evaluation of European monetary union (EMU). In doing so, it argues for the (continuing) efficacy of the euro as a vector for social democratic advance both at the EU and global levels. It is argued that new constitutionalism’s exclusive focus on the internal and external ‘neoliberal’ constraints EMU imposes on social democracy is overdrawn. The article critically examines the internal and external dimension of EMU’s alleged ‘self- limitation’. Drawing on evidence from the recent eurozone crises as well as the SGP crisis of the early to mid-2000s, it is argued that EMU’s internal self-limitation has been consistently subject to successful challenge and reform through a process of ‘permanent renegotiation’. This has played out in the context of ongoing tension within EMU between alternative models of integration and decision-making. In terms of the external dimension, the article focuses on the euro’s structural power and the potential this provides for global leverage. It is argued that new constitutionalism exaggerates American dominance in the global monetary domain, deflecting attention from fundamental changes in the structure and politics of international money that have contributed to the diffusion of power in a new conjuncture marked by policy conflict, contestation and uncertainty. The ‘presence’ of euro is one such structural change.

Keywords:European Monetary Union, euro, monetary power, decision-making, fiscal reform, exchange rate policy, social democracy, neoliberalism
Subjects:L Social studies > L200 Politics
L Social studies > L100 Economics
L Social studies > L150 Political Economics
L Social studies > L241 European Union Politics
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
ID Code:5616
Deposited On:19 May 2012 09:13

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