From Varieties of Capitalism to European Growth Models: towards a critical synthesis
The widespread belief that globalization would lead to the gradual convergence of advanced capitalist economies was challenged by the emergence of the Comparative Capitalism (CC) literature. Arguably the most influential approach within CC is the Varieties of Capitalism (VoC) model which argues that differences among advanced capitalist economies not only do not fade away but may be amplified due to the disparate comparative institutional advantages that various socioeconomic models may hold. VoC, nonetheless, was soon criticized -among others- for its binary ontological framework and heuristic shortcomings by the second generation CC. Contemporary writings within the third generation CC suggest a radical break from VoC as the focus should be, it is argued, on the demand, rather than the supply, side of the economy. This article posits that while the third generation CC has shifted attention to other institutional and policy fields, emphasizing essentially macroeconomic issues vis-à-vis economic policy reform, an epistemological rapprochement between the two main strands of CC could offer a more contextualized understanding of the different proposals put forward by the member states regarding the on-going Eurozone reform effort.