The EBRD, fail forward neoliberalism and the construction of the European periphery

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Abstract

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is an institution, a set of programmes and policies designed to mark a number of important reforms not just in the post-Soviet space but in the wider European political economy. It is committed to developing a competitive business environment, foreign investment and private sector activity in the post-communist space. The EBRD is considered to be a key inter-state mechanism enabling member states to negotiate post-communist reforms. The paper reorients analysis of the EBRD, claiming that existing framings of the role of the EBRD ignore its tangible neoliberalising pressures. It argues that the EBRD works to fundamentally restructure states in the post-communist space in three ways: 1) the configuration of an ‘appropriately’ neoliberal economic space; 2) the construction of subaltern subjectivities in the regional space; and 3) the persistent dominance of expert knowledge and policy practice external to the state. This restructuring is intended to further neoliberalism in the economic space of the region. By uncoupling the EBRD from a state centric analysis, the paper reveals how the technical aspects of the EBRD activities configure particular neoliberal rationalities and competencies not as a putative superstate, but as a key site for the ever-deeper encroachment of neoliberalisation in peripheral European states.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Economic and Labour Relations Review
Early online date29 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
  • fail forward neoliberalism
  • regional development banks
  • international financial institutions
  • Post-communist transition

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