Social Solidarity and the Crisis of Economic Capitalism

Friday, 16 October 2009, 2:00pm - Saturday, 17 October 2009, 5:00pm, Palais Trauttmansdorff

Ever since World War II, liberal democracy’s remarkable durability and achievements in the capitalist countries of Europe and North America have been underpinned by economic growth and unprecedented mass prosperity. Associating risk and security, various combinations of market economies and welfare states managed to secure the dynamic advantages of competition alongside the benefits of social integration. This pattern of success beckoned migrants, provided a magnet for investment, and kept the peace. It offered a model that post-communist countries wished to join. It also placed governments based on individual rights, open party competition, political representation, and the free range of media and opinion on the legitimate ground of public consent. Under such circumstances, mostly effective democratic governance buttressed human solidarity.

The current severe economic crisis – one whose scope and duration remain undetermined – has begun to subject to serious tests the national and cross-national institutions that constitute the core arrangements of liberal democracy, such as parliaments, party systems, judiciaries that protect civil liberty, as well as the creation of a Europe that has developed a degree of family resemblance to the United States. These institutions have directed and canalized political participation, including labor relations, and have offered operative mechanisms of social choice and collective decision-making. However, the structural uncertainty generated by financial failures, negative growth, and sharply rising unemployment calls into question the capacity of core democratic institutions to manage demands, absorb political participation, and produce appropriate and effective responses in conditions of emergency and growing anger. On both sides of the Atlantic new types of mobilization on the right and the left may canalize resentment and deepen social antagonisms, putting democratic solidarity at risk.

Conference Program

Friday, 16 October 2009
Palais Trauttmansdorff, Herrengasse 21, 1010 Vienna
2:00 pm Introductory Session
Kurt Biedenkopf, Dresden
Michal Boni, Warsaw
Chair: Ira Katznelson, New York
3:00 pm Session I
Relationship of Capital and Labour
Ron Blackwell, Washington , D.C.
Iveta Radicova, Bratislava
Tiziano Treu, Rome
Chair: Julia Kiraly, Budapest
Friday, 16 October 2009
Institute for Human Sciences, Spittelauer Lände 3, 1090 Vienna
6:00 pm Panel Discussion
Jacek Kuron Debate on Solidarity
Henryka Bochniarz, Warsaw
Alfred Gusenbauer, Vienna
Katherine Newman, Princeton
Chair: Ewald Nowotny, Vienna
Saturday, 17 October 2008
Palais Trauttmansdorff, Herrengasse 21, 1010 Vienna
9:00 am Session II
Toleration and Group Difference
Meindert Fennema, Amsterdam
Jennifer Hochschild, Cambridge, MA
Claus Offe, Berlin
Chair: Kenneth Prewitt, New York
12:00 noon Lunch
2:00 pm – 5:00 pm Session III
Political Implications
Stanley Greenberg, Washington, D.C.
Ulrich Preuß, Berlin
Jelle Visser, Amsterdam
Chair: Rosa deLauro, New Haven, CT

We gratefully acknowledge the generous support of
Duitsland Instituut, ERSTE Stiftung, Renner Institut und Der Standard