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I am a first year bachelor student studying political science at the University of Amsterdam. I write about politics, economics and history.

By Sam Volkers

Introduction

The Covid-19 pandemic proved to be a turning point in political and economic thinking in the West. Not only did we realize that neoliberalism and hyper-globalization are failed projects and that the state should step in more often to help solve problems in the economy, but we also realized that our economies are unbalanced. Rich and developed nations in the West* proved to be unable to produce even the most basic items needed to fight the pandemic (e.g. masks) and had to import them from countries like China. The reason for this?: …


By Sam Volkers

Why we need Economic Nationalism & Industrial Policy

As mentioned in the previous article, free trade and globalization are not without their problems. One would assume that governments would take action to deal with these problems, however this is not the case. Governments have given up a lot of their economic sovereignty to organizations such as the WTO and the EU, which has severely restricted their abilities to support industries and regulate imports and exports. The WTO is fiercely opposed to national governments giving preference to their domestic industries, and has its own courts to prosecute member-states…


By Sam Volkers

Problems with free trade & globalization

Now that I have explained what economic nationalism and industrial policy are and we have looked at some successful historical examples of both ideas in practice, it is important to look at why both ideas are starting to gain ground again: the problems caused by free trade and globalization.

For most of history, the way countries have organized their economies has been influenced by their culture, history, geography, access to natural resources, and their political and economic realities. Countries with plenty access to seas and rivers were more likely to embrace…


By Sam Volkers

What are Economic Nationalism & Industrial Policy?

Economic nationalism might sound like a scary term to some, who will equate it with expansionist nationalism or imperialism. Those people do not need to worry though, since “economic nationalism” is just a name given to a way of thinking about economic and international trade, and the policies related to this. …


By Sam Volkers

Since the 2008 crisis one term has become increasingly prevalent again in world politics: economic nationalism. Others have referred to it as economic patriotism, protectionism, developmentalism or mercantilism. Its rise has been praised by some and decried by others, and its ideas appeal to a wide variety of political groups from both the left and right.

Another policy that has been increasingly relevant recently is industrial policy. …


By Sam Volkers

Introduction

The Covid-19 pandemic and the corresponding global economic recession have set in motion a shift in economic and political thinking that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago. Where the European countries fought the 2008–2009 recession and the Eurocrisis that followed with a mix of bailouts and harsh austerity, the current crisis is fought with a hands-on approach by the state itself. Governments across Europe have re-asserted their control over the economy and decided to spend more instead of less. In France, prime minister Jean Castex announced the return of the Commissariat général du…


Note: This article was originally written on 03/05/2021 and will be published in the 3rd 2021 edition of De Derde Dinsdag magazine.

By Sam Volkers

Introduction

Amsterdam has changed a lot over the past decade. Every year, millions of tourists visit Amsterdam to enjoy the canals, museums and of course, other, less virtuous, activities. The city has also seen a large influx of expats and international students, while big business and multinationals have set up activities in our city. Our city seems to have become a true global city. But is that such a good thing? Although these changes have…


Note: This article was originally written on 26/02/2021 and published in the April 2021 edition of De Derde Dinsdag magazine.

By Sam Volkers

Introduction

The Covid-19 Pandemic has been hailed by some as the death of our current neoliberal system. It has exposed how fragile our economies and global supply-chains are. The problems during the early phase of the pandemic (when hospitals were running out of medical equipment fast) have also shown how our public services have been neglected over the past decades, and how de-industrialization and the outsourcing of the production of many essential products have made our country…


Note: This article was first published on 11/01/2021 as an online exclusive for De Derde Dinsdag magazine.

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and American President Ronald Reagan together at a meeting.

By Sam Volkers

Introduction

In September of this year I opened the newspaper and saw a headline that surprised me: “CDA-leider Hugo de Jonge wil af van het neo-liberalisme”, which means “CDA-leader Hugo de Jonge wants to get rid of neoliberalism” (nrc.nl 2020). This headline surprised me at first, because CDA was the party that introduced neoliberalism to the Netherlands in the 1980s under prime minister Ruud Lubbers. Suddenly it dawned on me that I had seen this type of rhetoric before. Not…


Note: This article was originally written on 15/11/2020 and published in the January 2021 issue of De Derde Dinsdag magazine

Dutch citizens celebrating the national football team

By Sam Volkers

Introduction

“Patriotism: Love for, or devotion to one’s country” (according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary)

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” This quote by Abraham Lincoln has crossed my mind many times the last few years and this year especially. 2020 in the Netherlands has been a year of unity, but also of great division. While the country and government showed signs of solidarity at the beginning of the pandemic, they now show signs of division: political parties…

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