The author uses the theory of the 'Great Transformation' of the industrialisation of England developed by Karl Polanyi to describe the current situation in Europe. There is a strong marketisation of the economy and also of social life, but what is missing is the social policy that needs to accompany this process, if there are not to be major problems. From this perspective marketization and social policy do not exist in a zero-sum game, but are mutually dependent. The emphasis on negative rather than positive integration (to use the terms conceived by Fritz Scharpf) in the development of Europe makes this interdependence more difficult to achieve. The division of competences between the European level (market policies) and the nation states (social policies) makes this situation even worse. The only way forward is a strengthening of the European social dimension.
Colin Crouch is emeritus professor of the University if Warwick in the UK, and an external scientific member of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, Germany. He is vice-president for the social sciences of the British Academy. He has recently led a European Commission research project on the governance of uncertainty and sustainability in labour markets and social policy in Europe. His recent books include Post-democracy (2003), Capitalist Diversity and Change (2005), and The Strange Non-Deat of Neoliberalism (2011).