The polder model (Dutch : poldermodel) is consensus decision-making, based on the acclaimed Dutch version of consensus-based economic and social policy making in the 1980s and 1990s.
Consensus decision-making is a group decision-making process in which group members develop, and agree to support a decision in the best interest of the whole group or common goal. Consensus may be defined professionally as an acceptable resolution, one that can be supported, even if not the "favourite" of each individual. It has its origin in the Latin word cōnsēnsus (agreement), which is from cōnsentiō meaning literally feel together. It is used to describe both the decision and the process of reaching a decision. Consensus decision-making is thus concerned with the process of deliberating and finalizing a decision, and the social, economic, legal, environmental and political effects of applying this process.
The Netherlands is a country located mainly in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba— it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian.
The polder model has been described as "a pragmatic recognition of pluriformity" and "cooperation despite differences". It is thought that the Dutch politician Ina Brouwer was the first to use the term poldermodel, in her 1990 article "Het socialisme als poldermodel?" (Socialism as polder model?), although it is uncertain whether she coined the term or simply seems to have been the first to write it down.
Ina Brouwer is a retired Dutch politician of the Communist Party of the Netherlands (CPN) and later co-founder of the GreenLeft (GL) party and lawyer.
The Dutch polder model is characterised by the tri-partite cooperation between employers' organisations such as VNO-NCW, labour unions such as the Federation Dutch Labour Movement, and the government. These talks are embodied in the Social-Economic Council (Dutch : Sociaal-Economische Raad, SER). The SER serves as the central forum to discuss labour issues and has a long tradition of consensus, often defusing labour conflicts and avoiding strikes. Similar models are in use in Finland, namely Comprehensive Income Policy Agreement and universal validity of collective labour agreements.
Tripartism is economic corporatism based on tripartite contracts between employers' organizations, trade unions, and the government of a country. Each is to act as a social partner to create economic policy through cooperation, consultation, negotiation, and compromise. Tripartism is a common form of and favored by neo-corporatism.
VNO-NCW is a Dutch employers' federation founded in 1996 as a merger of the Christian-democratic Nederlands Christelijk Werkgeversverbond (NCW), which was founded as fusion of the Protestant PCW and the Catholic NKW, and the liberal Verbond van Nederlandse Ondernemingen (VNO). Both organizations had strong ties with the Protestant and liberal pillar, respectively.
The Federatie Nederlandse Vakbeweging is a federation of trade unions of the Netherlands.
The current Dutch polder model is said to have begun with the Wassenaar Accords of 1982, when unions, employers, and government decided on a comprehensive plan to revitalise the economy involving shorter working times and less pay on the one hand, and more employment on the other. This polder model, combined with a neoliberal economic policy of privatisation and budget cuts has been held to be responsible for the Dutch economic miracle of the late 1990s.
The Wassenaar Agreement was an agreement reached in 1982 between employers' organisations and labour unions in the Netherlands to restrain wage growth in return for the adoption of policies to combat unemployment and inflation, such as reductions in working hours and the expansion of part-time employment. The agreement has been credited with ending the wage-price spiral of the 1970s, greatly reducing unemployment and producing strong growth in output and employment. The International Labour Organization describes the Wassenaar as "a groundbreaking agreement, setting the tone for later social pacts in many European countries".
Neoliberalism or neo-liberalism is the 20th-century resurgence of 19th-century ideas associated with laissez-faire economic liberalism and free market capitalism. While it is most often associated with such ideas, the defining features of neoliberalism in both thought and practice has been the subject of substantial scholarly discourse. These ideas include economic liberalization policies such as privatization, austerity, deregulation, free trade and reductions in government spending in order to increase the role of the private sector in the economy and society. These market-based ideas and the policies they inspired constitute a paradigm shift away from the post-war Keynesian consensus which lasted from 1945 to 1980.
Privatization can mean different things including moving something from the public sector into the private sector. It is also sometimes used as a synonym for deregulation when a heavily regulated private company or industry becomes less regulated. Government functions and services may also be privatized; in this case, private entities are tasked with the implementation of government programs or performance of government services that had previously been the purview of state-run agencies. Some examples include revenue collection, law enforcement, and prison management.
An important role in this process was played by the Dutch Central Planning Bureau (CPB), founded by Jan Tinbergen. The CPB's policy advice since 1976, in particular with the Den Hartog and Tjan model, in favour of wage restraint, was an important argument, supportive for government and employers, that the unions could not easily counter.
Jan Tinbergen was an important Dutch economist. He was awarded the first Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1969, which he shared with Ragnar Frisch for having developed and applied dynamic models for the analysis of economic processes. He is widely considered to be one of the most influential economists of the 20th century and one of the founding fathers of econometrics. It has been argued that the development of the first macroeconometric models, the solution of the identification problem, and the understanding of dynamic models are his three most important legacies to econometrics. Tinbergen was a founding trustee of Economists for Peace and Security. In 1945, he founded the Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB) and was the agency's first director.
Incomes policies in economics are economy-wide wage and price controls, most commonly instituted as a response to inflation, and usually seeking to establish wages and prices below free market level.
Many authors and researchers, however, have argued that the Wassenaar Agreement has been largely overrated.Most of these writers have argued that considerable continuity can be seen from the 1950s on. The young historian Stijn Kuipers, however, draws the line even further. In an article which is much indebted to the work of Coen Helderman, Kuipers argues that the modern socioeconomic polder model already manifested itself in 1920 with the Dutch High Council of Labour. It would follow that the polder model is much older and therefore could have had a larger influence on Dutch society and economy than has generally been thought up to now.
The term polder model and especially the verb polderen (to polder) has been used pejoratively by some politicians to describe the slow decision-making process where all parties have to be heard. The model flourished under the "Purple" governments of Dutch prime minister Wim Kok, a coalition including the traditional rivals the Labour Party (a social-democratic party, whose colour is red) and the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (right-wing liberals, whose colour is blue). In the declining economic climate of the early 21st century the model came under fierce attack particularly from right-wing politicians and Pim Fortuyn in his book entitled De puinhopen van acht jaar Paars ("The wreckage of eight years Purple").
There is no consensus about the exact historical background of the polder model. In general there are three views on this subject.
One explanation points to the rebuilding of the Netherlands after World War II. Corporatism was an important feature of Christian Democratic, and particularly Catholic, political thought. During the postwar period, the Catholic, Protestant, Christian, social-democratic, and liberal parties decided to work together to reconstruct the Netherlands, as did unions and employers' organizations. Important institutions of the polder model, like the SER, were founded in this period. No single political party has ever had anything approaching an overall majority in parliament, so coalition government is inevitable. This makes parties extremely cautious, since today's enemy may be tomorrow's ally, all the more so in present times when the "death of ideology" has made it possible for almost all the parties to work together.
Another explanation points to the dependency of the Netherlands on the international economy. The Dutch cannot afford protectionism against the unpredictable tides of the international economy, because the Netherlands is not an autarkic economy. Therefore, to cushion against the international economy, they set up a tri-partite council which oversaw an extensive welfare state.
A third explanation refers to a unique aspect of the Netherlands, that it consists in large part of polders, land reclaimed from the sea, which requires constant pumping and maintenance of the dykes. So ever since the Middle Ages, when the process of land reclamation began, different societies living in the same polder have been forced to cooperate because without unanimous agreement on shared responsibility for maintenance of the dykes and pumping stations, the polders would have flooded and everyone would have suffered. Crucially, even when different cities in the same polder were at war, they still had to cooperate in this respect. This is thought to have taught the Dutch to set aside differences for a greater purpose.
The Labour Party is a social-democratic political party in the Netherlands.
According to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the Netherlands was the 18th largest economy of the world in 2012, while the country has only about 17 million inhabitants.. GDP per capita is roughly $48,860 which makes it one of richest nations in the world. Between 1996 and 2000 annual economic growth (GDP) averaged over 4%, well above the European average. Growth slowed considerably in 2001–05 as part of the global economic slowdown. 2006 and 2007 however showed economic growth of 3.4% and 3.9%. The Dutch economy was hit considerably by the ongoing global financial crisis and the ensuing European debt crisis.
The politics of the Netherlands take place within the framework of a parliamentary representative democracy, a constitutional monarchy and a decentralised unitary state. The Netherlands is described as a consociational state. Dutch politics and governance are characterised by a common striving for broad consensus on important issues, within both of the political community and society as a whole.
Dirk Uipko Stikker was a Dutch politician, diplomat and co-founder of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and businessman. He served as the Secretary General of NATO from 21 April 1961 until 1 August 1964.
The Supreme Court of the Netherlands, officially the High Council of the Netherlands, is the final court of appeal in civil, criminal and tax cases in the Netherlands, including Curaçao, Sint Maarten and Aruba. The Court was established on 1 October 1838 and is located in The Hague.
The Sociaal-Economische Raad is a major economic advisory council to the cabinet of the Netherlands. Formally it heads a system of sector-based regulatory organizations. It represents the social partners trade unions and employers' organizations. It forms the core organization of the corporatist and social market economy known as the polder model and the main platform for social dialogue.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands, commonly known as the Netherlands, is a sovereign state and constitutional monarchy with the large majority of its territory in Western Europe and with several small island territories in the Caribbean Sea, in the West Indies islands.
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The Netherlands Symphony Orchestra is a Dutch symphony orchestra. The home of the orchestra is the Muziekcentrum in Enschede. The orchestra was previously known in Dutch as Orkest van het Oosten, but in October 2011 changed its Dutch name to align with the English name. At the same time the Dutch abbreviation "OvhO" was replaced with "NedSym." Due to objections from the Amsterdam-based Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, the Enschede orchestra had to change its name again and is since 2014 called HET Symfonieorkest. Internationally it keeps employing the name "Netherlands Symphony Orchestra".
The issue of the basic income gained prominence on the political agenda in Netherlands between the mid-1970s and mid-1990s but it has disappeared from the political agenda over the last fifteen years.
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Johannes Cornelis "Co" Verdaas is a Dutch politician of the Labour Party. He served as State Secretary for the Ministry of Economic Affairs, dealing with agriculture, nature, food quality, tourism and postal affairs in the Cabinet Rutte II from November 5, 2012 until his resignation on December 6, 2012. He previously served as a Member of the House of Representatives from January 30, 2003 until November 29, 2006, and as a member of the Provincial Executive of the province of Gelderland from 2007 to 2012. Due to doubtful traffic expenses in his capacity of last one, he stepped down as a State Secretary.
Wim Driehuis is a Dutch economist, Emeritus Professor Economics and Business at the University of Amsterdam.
This article lists some of the events that took place in the Netherlands in 2012.
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