Polanyi in Brussels? Embeddedness and the three dimensions of European economic integration
In a recent article, Caporaso and Tarrow have argued that the jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) is increasingly moving in a social policy direction that will ultimately put European politics on a 'Polanyian' course. We take issue with their claim and distinguish three dimensions of European economic and social integration: market-correcting integration, market-enforcing integration, and the creation of a European area of nondiscrimination, the latter consisting of two subdimensions, namely nondiscrimination on the basis of characteristics such as gender, age, and ethnic origin, on the one hand, and nondiscriminatory transnational access to the social security systems of the member states, on the other. Increased heterogeneity among European varieties of capitalism perpetuates the different ranges and speeds of these integration dimensions. We conclude that the Polanyi-in-Brussels hypothesis is misleading. Politically enforced social integration has not made much progress in the last decades, while market-enforcing integration and European nondiscrimination policies have asymmetrically profited from 'integration through law.' So far, the impact of European integration on political economy has been Hayekian rather than Polanyian.
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