The Dynamics of Policy Innovation and Paradigmatic Change
Edited by Hideko Magara
Chapter 1: Introduction: growth, crisis and regime change
For more than two decades, citizens in the developed countries have witnessed massive job losses, lowered wages, slow (sometimes negative) economic growth and widening inequality under governments - left or right - that have implemented similar neoliberal policies. This volume explores the difficulties and possibilities of transitioning from a neoliberal policy regime to another type of regime. In 2012, Japan's Prime Minister, Yoshihiko Noda of the Democratic Party, and Italy's technocratic Prime Minister, Mario Monti, attempted to put into effect a set of unpopular austerity policies to reduce government debt. This debt had grown to be the largest in Japan and the second-largest in Italy in proportion to gross domestic product (GDP) among the major developed countries. In Japan's election of the House of Representatives in December 2012, Noda's Democrats suffered an unprecedented disastrous defeat. Also in Italy's February 2013 elections, the obvious loser was Monti's group. Electorates tend to punish the incumbent who forces them into austerity policies, particularly during an economic downturn. The ongoing crisis goes beyond a simple economic crisis. Rather, it can be viewed as a systemic crisis whereby the major actors have stuck to their old strategies, but they are no longer functional. While social and economic imbalances grow, the existing institutional order is eroding.