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Arguing about justice

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Axel Gosseries
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Philippe Vanderborght

Why has Cuban state socialism escaped its "1989"?

Reflections on a non-event

Claus Offe

Résumé

Der Essay fasst die Thesen zusammen, die der Verfasser (in der Absicht einer gleichsam experimentellen Provokation) in Vortragen an der kubanischen Akademie der Wissenschaften in Havanna entwickelt hat. Warum hat das "kubanische Modell" des Staatssozialismus, anders als ahnliche Regimes in Europa, trotz seiner manifesten Stagnationstendenzen und Fehlentwicklungen bis in die jungste Zeit praktisch unverandert uberlebt? Politische und okonomische Institutionen gehen aus Entscheidungen hervor, in denen sich Lernprozesse spiegeln; aber umgekehrt konnen Institutionen, wie das versteinerte "Modell" Kubas zeigt, Lernprozesse und institutionelle Entscheidungen auch blockieren. Markte, Privateigentum und die Prinzipien der liberalen Demokratie konnen durchaus als Vehikel kollektiver Lernprozesse verstanden werden, die keineswegs zwangslaufig auf eine Verletzung von sozialistischen Zielen der Gerechtigkeit und der politischen Autonomie hinauslaufen. Im Gegenteil: Sie konnen diesen Zielen dienen.

Texte intégral

Introduction

1In 2009, the unpredicted, sudden, non-violent, and irreversible breakdown of authoritarian state socialism twenty years ago in Central Eastern Europe and, shortly later, the Soviet Union as well as the subsequent transformation of its system into a regime of democratic capitalism was widely remembered. Few would disagree that this event was the most consequential one to affect the region and the world since the end of World War II. But this breakdown of and transition from state socialism was far from universal. It took place in all (but only in those) states whose national capital is located in Europe. This applies, with widely varying degrees of success, to all those states which had previously belonged to the Warsaw Pact system, on the one hand, and Yugoslavia, on the other. New states emerged through separation, and one state – the GDR – disappeared through fusion with another state. But authoritarian state socialism did survive in non-European parts of the world, with China, North Korea, Vietnam, and Cuba being the most significant instances of political regime continuity. Future historians will have to fully account for these non-events.

2Why have they withstood the dynamics, evidently so highly contagious elsewhere, of state socialist regime breakdown?

3Among these, Cuba, the small, poor, and geographically remote island state existing under severe economic, military, and political threats and sanctions orchestrated by the US and therefore, throughout most of its history since 1959, entirely dependent upon the now defunct Soviet Union, is arguably the greatest puzzle. As a former colony of Spain, it is culturally (in terms of language and religion) a predominantly "European" country, although elements of African culture are also present in the spiritual and artistic life of the country and the ethnic composition of its people. Furthermore, there cannot be any doubt that the economic conditions of Cuba today are – and continue to be – at least as crisis-ridden as were conditions in the Warsaw Pact and CMEA countries in the late eighties. All these aspects and conditions would have led observers to expect a similar regime change to take place as it occurred in Central and Eastern Europe. Yet such an event did not happen so far, although there are now (April 2011) clear signs that basic economic reforms (as they also were adopted in Vietnam and China) are in the making, although they are not accompanied by the liberalization and democratization of the regime itself.

4How do we make sense of this non-event, both in Cuba and elsewhere? As far as Cuba is concerned, academic experts speak of "Cuban exceptionalism" (Laurence Whitehead) and a political economy that is based on a rather unique synthesis of state socialism and nationalism. Whereas in Central Eastern Europe the desire for national independence and self-determination always resulted in the quest for emancipation from Soviet rule and its economic implications, a rather extreme form of state control over the economy as well as political authoritarianism were both successfully advocated by Castro and the political elite as the only way to safeguard Cuban independence from US interference. The perception of such existential threat, as it was so plausibly corroborated by the policies of the two administrations of George W. Bush, has served as cement for the Cuban version of state socialism. Yet that cement is clearly crumbling, not just because of the very different gestures and initiatives coming from the Obama administration, but also because of the accumulated internal political and economic crises of the island. To illustrate the latter, the Cuban economy suffers today from a vast underutilization of its productive resources (both land and labor), while at the same time depending on the import (mostly from the US) of up to half the foodstuff consumed. Political and economic elites of a country in which such conditions prevail have very good and urgent reasons, it would seem, to think about and implement institutional reforms which might help to stabilize, perhaps even improve the situation.

Building a viable political economy: basic choices1

  • 1 In what follows, I summarize eleven points I presented in three lectures presented in the framework (...)

51. To get started, some basics. Economic systems - sets of rules that govern the production and distribution of items valued as being useful - are in no way "natural". And neither are they ever unambiguously "rational". Instead, they are based upon institutional choices that have been made by concrete agents at some historical point in time and can (and often will have to) be changed at another historical juncture or even in an ongoing process of adjustment. Such institutional choices are by their nature political, i.e. they are being made (as well as defended and criticized) in terms of the interest of entire societies in their wellbeing, based upon some (essentially contested) conception of justice and by the means of some collectively binding political authority and its mode of legitimation.

6The menu of choices available is often misleadingly framed in terms of a dichotomy. This dichotomy suggests that there is a choice to be made between pure "socialism" (with state-owned property as its major structural feature and planning as its procedural feature) and "capitalism" (with private property as the economic structure and pricing through markets as the dominant procedural feature). A look at actually existing economic systems shows that, in between these polar types, there is a huge variety of hybrids, all of which must be understood as sedimented choices that have been made at some point by holders of political power under some kind of historical, economic, political, or normative constraints.

7To illustrate, there is a myriad of options that policy makers can adopt concerning property rights. These rights specify three things. First, how can property in productive assets be acquired (e. g., through various kinds of "original appropriation", through credit and the design of the financial system and the stock market that provides it, through cooperatives, joint ventures, mergers, etc.)? Second, what can owners (and, as the case may be, managers) do with productive assets once appropriated (which is subject to a vast variety of regulatory rules concerning the production process and its products, aimed at protecting consumers, workers, and the environment)? Third, what is to happen with the net results of the production process (either profits or losses), which can be taxed, subsidized, consumed, reinvested, shared among workers and investors, etc. Moreover, all these features of property rights are typically subject to constant political conflict and change. Once we realize how many options exist concerning these basic institutional parameters of the economy and its various sectors, we come to realize that a dichotomy of "socialism" vs. "capitalism" is analytically virtually meaningless as a matter of all-or-nothing.

8Even if we imagine a perfectly "socialist" system of production, one that is based on full state ownership and comprehensive planning of outputs as well as prices, we still must allow for the two facts that, first, such an economy is typically embedded in international markets (for products, raw materials, investment goods, etc.). Secondly, as evidence shows, the "purer" a planned socialist economy becomes at the official level, the more likely it is to develop an informal economy of "wild" and poorly regulated market transactions as an internal environment. In sum, we can say that all reasonably complex economic systems are mixed economies. Consequently, the issues of investment, growth, productivity, and distributional patterns all boil down to the question of who does the mixing, in the framework of what kind of policy-making institutions, according to what kind of normative notions of wellbeing, and within what kinds of resource constraints.

92. The economic system of market societies is a good example of how its basic rules of operation result from institutional choice made through political decisions in regard of a particular notion of wellbeing and justice. Markets are politically established devices to promote the wellbeing of some community the members of which share a common interest. There are basically three founding decisions as a consequence of which a market system comes into being. First, property in productive assets is declared private, meaning that the right to dispose over property is declared to be the (more or less) exclusive right of private owners. Second, prices are not administered, but determined by competitive processes on the demand and supply side of markets for particular commodities and the factors employed in their production. Third, the transactions among market participants are regulated by commercial and other kinds of legal norms plus the politically instituted agencies designed to adjudicate conflicting claims and to enforce laws and court decisions. Like all other economic systems, market systems are thus "embedded" in all kinds of legal, and, beyond that, of social and moral norms and rules.

103. There are two schools of thought answering the question why markets (together with a high degree of privatization of property) should be prefered to other economic arrangements in terms of the wellbeing they generate. One claims no more than that markets are preferable simply because they maximize liberty, or non-interference of political authorities with the plans and decisions of private citizens as owners. This is what so-called libertarians believe. The other claims that markets serve wellbeing because they enhance efficiency. They are believed to do so, first, by placing a premium on relatively more efficient methods of production, thus rewarding innovators who introduce more productive methods because they, as every competing supplier, are driven by the desire for private profit maximization. Secondly, they drive out of the market those "marginal" suppliers who fail to meet minimum thresholds of efficiency, thus providing a powerful (if inconspicuous) mechanism of collective loss minimization and, as a result, saving society as a whole from the relative sacrifices and welfare losses all members would have to make due to the survival of methods of production that are (at any given point in time) unnecessarily inefficient or wasteful.

11There are also two classical arguments fashioned to defend private property. First, the predominantly private appropriation of profits (and losses!) promotes the self-ascription of the causes of failure. If losses occur, there is no one else to blame than the one who made the respective decisions on investment and production. Second, such self-ascription will enhance learning – the constant search for product markets and methods of production by which the likelihood of individual losses can be reduced. Needless to say, these defences of markets and private property can (and must) be criticized for their limitations. (see # 5)

124. There are two ways in which institutional choices and political decisions on which an economic system is built can be wrong: they can be simply wrong and seriously wrong. Institutional choices (such as the choice of some configuration of features of a market economy) are simply wrong if they turn out to yield less wellbeing than anticipated and promised by their proponents. In that case, a new round of institutional choices will be called for, and a political learning process sets in, as the outcomes of which (simply) wrong decisions will be corrected. People, after all, can learn from their errors and mistakes. One of the most attractive definitions of socialism that I have seen is Fidel's, who claims that socialism is equivalent to organized learning – to the ongoing process of "changing everything that needs to be changed". While this definition, to be sure, remains silent on what are the criteria for what "needs" to be changed and who actually does the changing, it resonates with the proud republican ideal of society being in full and independent control of its own fate.

13But there are also seriously wrong institutional choices, in that they block the capacity for institutional learning and self-revision. If such institutional freezing happens, previously made (simply) wrong decisions become irreversible, and people are trapped in the consequences of the wrong decisions they have made at an earlier point without being able to escape from them through learning. Seriously wrong decisions can occur when those who made them and defend them are placed in a position of unaccountable power, with such power being defined as "the ability to afford not to learn" (Karl W. Deutsch). Social democrats and democratic socialists adhere to the (no doubt highly optimistic) belief that, assisted by an appropriate design of political institutions, societies can put themselves in a position to limit their wrong choices to simply wrong choices, while seriously wrong choices can be reliably avoided. Social democrats, in other words, believe that the political institutions of liberal democracy allow them (and all of us) to ride the capitalist tiger while at the same time benefitting from some of the benefits of market society that I have summarized under # 3. Neo-liberals, in contrast, believe (at least used to believe until very recently) that the animal in question is a pet that is best left to follow its own paths.

145. What are the "simple" wrongs associated with capitalist market economies? Three answers have been put forward in the history of critical thinking about capitalist market society. First, as classical political economists from Smith to Marx agreed, market competition tends to be self-subversive and leads to centralization, monopolization, and cartelization. Second, as 20th century critical theorists have argued, market competition, far from drying up, tends to flood social life in its entirety. In the process, it generates types of personalities that are selfishly and unscrupulously obsessed with selling and buying, investment and profit, and private consumption. These personalities suffer from pathological deformations that have been described as anomie, alienation, and people's trained incapacity to honor all those social norms, cultural values, and standards of civilized life that transcend the logic of individual gain. At the same time, methods of competition become progressively more unrestrained. While originally market competition is conducted in terms of better products, lower prices, and greater work effort, it is now conducted in terms of deceiving customers, bribing politicians into favoring certain industries, causing addiction, blackmailing suppliers, exploiting information asymmetries, the use of military force to destroy competitors and gain control over resources, and finally of competitors cutting each others' throats.

15A third critique of what markets do to social life claims that they become positively destructive as they are extended to the factors of production themselves, i. e. to labor, natural resources, and money capital. These factors are treated by markets as if they were in fact tradable commodities, which actually they are not (as their coming into being is not guided by the purpose of being traded, as is, by definition, the case with ordinary or "genuine" commodities). The consequences of this "misunderstanding", i.e. the commodification of non-commodities, are disruptive social conflicts and self-destructive crises (such as, according to the reading of some, the current financial, labor market, and ecological crises).

166. Social democrats and democratic socialists believe (and are positively defined by their belief) that the resources of political power that can be mobilized within the institutions of a liberal democracy are sufficient and adequate to cope with each of the three destructive side-effects of market society just summarized. To wit, antitrust legislation and its vigorous enforcement, designed to strengthen competition, is believed to counteract the first of our three pathologies. The second is addressed by a great variety of regulatory and market-constraining policies, national as well as internationally coordinated, enforcing the honesty, fairness, and transparency of market transactions. Finally, the third set of problems is approached by applying protective measures and guarantees both to employees (non-negotiable status rights provided by welfare state and codetermination arrangements) and natural resources (environmental protection), with the ban on purely speculative financial market transactions (i. e., the commodification of money) that have severed their ties to the "real" economy being an urgent contemporary third item within this bundle of protective policies. These protective measures are adopted to ensure that "exploitation" (i. e. the taking of unfair advantage among economic actors) is effectively foreclosed. Whether or not these beliefs in the potency of corrective policies will still turn out to be valid is a question the answer to which depends critically, in the face of "globalization", on the capability of states to engage in supranational forms of regulation and protection. Social democrats carry a heavy burden of proof: should their beliefs turn out to be untenable, or the practical implications of these beliefs unfeasible, global society will be left exposed to disruptive crises and to the conflicts resulting from giant injustices.

177. Why is it that liberal democracy, as opposed to some form of authoritarian egalitarianism, is believed by democratic socialists to be an adequate institutional framework for coping with the inherent pathologies of capitalist market societies? The quality of a democracy being liberal means that rights of citizens provide for limitations and constraints on the extent to which political power can be used for (supposedly) collectively beneficial goals. "Liberal" democracy means that there are (human, economic, cultural, political, social) rights attached to persons; these (largely inalienable) rights can be used by them according to their own preferences and interests and enforced in independent courts. There is clearly a tension between the two defining features of a polity being liberal and at the same time democratic. If the "will of the people" is supposed to rule, why accept limitations to that rule by recognizing and enforcing liberties, the use of which may turn out to restrict and interfere with democratic rule?

18The short version of the answer is that the "will of the people" is a homogenizing artefact fabricated by leaders (however benevolent they may happen to be) rather than a reality that can be determined, or derived from any political doctrine, in the absence of people using their rights to express what their will actually consists in. If I am not mistaken, there is, in some regions of Latin America, a strong tendency by political elites to claim a certain knowledge of what people want and need; this tendency is most understandable under conditions of profound and evident social injustices. Yet it is a tendency that is in danger of de-activating and alienating exactly those "people" in whose name leaders of progressive populist movements claim to speak. It is true that at least some people can use their rights in order to obstruct progressive policies; they can be stopped from doing so by any combination of the three antidotes mentioned in #6. They are likely to make every effort to act even more obstructively in case they are deprived of these rights.

198. Rights are containers of liberties. There are (at least) two vastly divergent interpretations of what "liberty" means. One is the libertarian reading or "liberty from …". It emphasizes the negative and passive aspect, as the liberty is seen to consist in, according to this interpretation, the right not to be interfered with in the use of the right (of property, of opinion and its expression etc.) by political authorities. The other is a positive and active reading, or "liberty to…". To be free means, at the individual as well as on the collective level, to be in the possession of the resources and security that allow you to pursue your own life plans and fashion your own way of living so as to realize the full potential of your social existence, as long as doing so does not interfere with the equal liberty of any other person. Thus, a person is free if and when s/he is in full possession of the resources and opportunities needed to be in control of one's own fate and at the same time free from fear and asymmetrical dependency upon others. According to this reading, liberty is something that must not just be respected by authorities; it is something the essence of which must be provided for, generated, and guaranteed by political authorities. To illustrate the difference between the two readings: A person who is a long-term unemployed in a contemporary European country enjoys perfect liberty according to the first understanding of the term. But s/he suffers from a total denial of liberty according to the second. But that does not mean that both of these liberties cannot come together, with the second coming on top of the first.

209. Analogous ambiguities apply to the notion of equality. Here, even three interpretations can be distinguished. One is the minimalist liberal reading of equality of rights. This notion suffers from the evident difficulty that having rights does not itself provide the resources that you need in order to enjoy and make use of that right, as in the case of property rights. Also, some rights may be equal in form, but highly specific in substance, such as the negative right (= prohibition) in the famous line from Anatole France: "The law, in its majestic neutrality, prohibits rich and poor alike to steal firewood and sleep under bridges". Therefore, the liberal reading is clearly not good enough, as equality of rights can positively cement inequality of outcomes which result from the unequal access to the use of rights. But neither is the maximalist, i. e. strict "socialist" reading which takes equality of substantive outcomes as the yardstick. Happily, it has never been implemented, as the necessary means to actually implement it are clearly frightening and contradict any notion of liberty.

21So, any serious defence of equality has to settle for a third and intermediate understanding which relies on the notion of equality of opportunity, or the effective neutralization of morally irrelevant factors (such as race, gender, family background, access to capital etc.) in the distribution of opportunities and determination of outcomes. Thus a strong version of "equality of opportunity" does not just mean absence of discrimination (as a weak one would), but, in addition, the presence of policies that are effective in neutralizing those morally irrelevant determinants of life chances. As it happens, this understanding seems to fit perfectly with the second understanding of liberty, rather than standing in contradiction to it, as much of liberal political philosophy routinely claims. Yet even the strong version of the equality of opportunity principle may well imply considerable differences of outcomes (for instance, individual incomes). These differences, however, are entirely unproblematic in normative terms (and arguably even productivity-enhancing) – as long, that is, as nobody suffers from poverty as a consequence (with "poverty" meaning the deprivation of resources and opportunities – "capabilities" in the terminology of Amartya Sen – as required according to the second reading of liberty). The range of those legitimate differences of outcomes is further constrained by the two conditions that "better" outcomes are neither due to corruption nor to political status privilege.

2210. Today, GDP per capita is the virtually universally employed measure of wellbeing, and the annual increase of this ratio is held to be the quintessential measure of economic progress. These are simply embarrassingly unintelligent measures of the qualities and improvements of entire societies. If school-age children spend all day earning money by selling chewing gum and sun glasses to tourists, they add thereby to GDP but waste their future opportunities by paying the opportunity costs of not attending school. There must be better indicators of wellbeing and development – perhaps less easy to measure and to process in statistics, but more meaningful in substance. One measure might be the degree to which society has managed to reduce its involuntary capacity underutilization – such as unemployment of labor or the underutilization of land that is available for agrarian production.

23Why is it that the equation of growth with wellbeing is inadequate? It is not just because the rate of growth doesn't tell us anything, as such, about the distribution of the increment. It is also because the main problems on the political agenda of the 21st century are at best only marginally resolved (and even partly made worse) by economic growth and an increased rate of growth. Let me briefly specify what these problems are. Three of them are "systemic" and the other three concern normative minima. The three systemic problems constitute, as long as they are unresolved, a threat to the reasonably civilized survival of (major parts of) mankind. This applies to the triplet of energy, climate, and security, all of which are closely interconnected. The other set of problems concerns poverty, health, and human rights. To repeat, economic growth is entirely unrelated (and in some aspects, such as energy consumption, even negatively related) to the progress mankind makes towards the fulfilment of these problems of public policy, national as well as international.

2411. Finally, after discussing the question 'Why liberal democracy?' (#7), we also need to address the issue of 'why (liberal) democracy?' The essence of modern democracy is captured by three essential features: institutionalized representation, contestation, and vertical as well as horizontal accountability, with the former of the two kinds of accountability being based upon freedom of media and freedom of association. There are two widely shared though erroneous beliefs about democracy which democratic socialists do their best to correct. First, the belief that benevolent authoritarian rule is good for promoting economic development, because firm hierarchical control of production and distribution will allow the economic system to operate more "rationally". Second, the belief that only relatively rich countries can afford democracy. Both propositions are wrong (as, concerning the latter, not just the example of India demonstrates). Moreover, democracy can significantly contribute to development by providing voice to constituencies. Democracy provides powerful sources of information to non-elites, as well as, due to the resulting learning pressures, to rulers and leaders. Democratic socialists believe that institutionalized opportunities to bring such pressures to bear are essential preconditions both for maintaining the involvement of the people as well as the responsiveness of elites.

Conclusion

25Unsurprisingly, my attempt to convince people – in this case a small audience of committed loyalists of the "Cuban Model" – of the view that there are choices to be made, reasons not to postpone them indefinitely, and reasons to prefer one alternative over its opposite did not result in the evidence of an overwhelming success. That may have been entirely a failure of the speaker, who was consistently treated with the academic courtesy that is considered due to someone who had travelled from a distant place. Hardly any of the thoughts I had presented was systematically challenged in the discussion, nor was a single one accepted as a useful starting point for further considerations. This was still another puzzling non-event that I had to come to terms with.

26I tried to do so in the following manner. The institutions of liberal democracy – contested elections, human and civil rights, rule of law, accountability of representative government – can be viewed in two diametrically opposed ways. For one thing, they can be framed as political resources the universal availability of which will empower "our" enemies (at home as well as abroad) who would use them to promote their hostile and subversive machinations. Hence, granting such rights and institutions would invariably exacerbate disruptive conflict and put in jeopardy the accomplishments of the revolution. Here, liberty is framed as a source of anarchy and regression. On the other side, liberal democracy can also be viewed in the opposite manner, namely as an arrangement that helps to institutionalize, domesticate, and normalize conflict. For whoever loses in a conflict does not thereby lose the right to "try it again". In this perspective, liberty is seen as a condition that positively generates a kind of social order that results from the continuous processing and ongoing accommodation of conflict.

27Why is it that the elites of state socialist regimes show a virtually instinctive preference for adopting the first of these frames, implying that the second frame consist largely of fraud and (self)deception? This is the question I have been asking my Cuban (and later also some Chinese) interlocutors. The answers, as suggested by academic intellectuals of various age and status groups, differ considerably. "There is no culture and tradition of human rights in this country" is one of them. Another is that the accomplishments of our revolution clearly outweigh the sacrifices that are needed in order to protect and defend those accomplishments. Others indicate sheer fear of uncertainty: nobody knows what is going to happen if we liberalize. Also, arguments from interest were clearly playing a role: why should we risk our (the elite's) privileges by granting institutional status to our opponents? A more sophisticated version is this: As we have failed to try liberal democracy at an earlier point in time when it still might have worked, it is now too late, as so many complaints and grievances have accumulated that the first frame will inevitably turn out to be valid as a consequence.

28What these answers have in common is an almost "tautological" mental lock-in effect: As things are as they are, they will have to stay that way. It is the very need to "learn" that has not yet been learned, as such second-order learning is not being licensed nor encouraged – indeed, not even permitted. To return to the question posed in the title of this essay, why is it that Cuba has so far escaped a regime breakdown and transition to a democratic type of regime? Two answers may add up to an adequate understanding. For one, the greatest accomplishment of the Cuban revolution is the preservation of national independence from the US. This, together with what has been achieved in the fields of health and education, is widely and proudly celebrated on the island as an unparalleled success story – as a feat of collective freedom that benumbs the experience of individual unfreedom and economic malaise (which in its turn is visibly undermining the state's capacity to maintain the decaying educational and health systems). The other answer consists in a counter-narrative that has so effectively been staged (and used as a pretext of harsh political repression) by Cuba's party elite: any opening and any concession will be exploited by the US to subvert the revolution together with the national independence and social progress it brought to the Cuban people. No doubt, this counter-narrative has been supplied by the other side with some plausibility, if more so under Bush than under Obama. Yet the explanatory force of either of these narratives is presently in a rapid process of wearing thin under the impact of Cuba's home grown economic crisis. Under its severe impact Cuba's leaders can no longer afford to stick to these two stories and to rely on them for the sake of keeping themselves in power. The myth of the revolution (and that of its external enemies) has blocked serious thinking and political learning about the options for institutional reform, some of which I have tried to sketch out in this essay. Instead of carefully exploring these options, the party leadership started, in the fall of 2010, to embark upon a giant, rather ill considered and helter skelter transformation of the Cuban economy that involves the dismissal of no less than 25 per cent of the working population from their jobs with the state by the year 2015. Until the next erratic turn of policy, we will be left watching the spectacle of Cuban socialism being dismantled under the guidance of a firmly entrenched Cuban Communist Party.

Notes

1 In what follows, I summarize eleven points I presented in three lectures presented in the framework of an international conference organized by the Ebert Stiftung in the premises of the Cuban Academy of Sciences and other academic institutions in La Habana on the subject of "Social Democracy and the Cuban Model" in January 2009.

Auteur

Claus Offe was (until his retirement in 2005) Professor of Political Science at Humboldt University (Berlin). Since 2006 he teaches at the Hertie School of Governance where he holds a chair of Political Sociology. His fields of research include democratic theory, transition studies, EU integration, and welfare state and labor market studies. Books in English include Varieties of Transition (MIT, 1996) and Reflections on America. Tocqueville, Weber, and Adorno in the United States (Polity, 2005).

© Presses universitaires de Louvain, 2011

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