Full text: A Policy of Consensus. The Austrian Experience.

A Policy of Consensus. 
The Austrian Experience. 
The Austrian experience commands a certain interest in that 
it was successful in keeping unemployment low (at about 2 p.c.), 
with moderate inflation, in a hostile world: Hostile in so 
far as it tolerated low growth and high unemployment rates 
(Austrian growth rates were about 1 p.c. higher than OECD 
rates on the average). 
This is usually attributed to incomes policy. The characteristic 
instrument of this policy is an informal co-operation between 
certain powerful organisations which represent the main economic 
interests in the country: The Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber 
of Agriculture, the Chamber of Labour and the Federation of 
Trade Unions. They correspond to a tradition of organising 
economic interests in fairly exclusive bodies with a disciplined 
membership. Membership in the above mentioned chambers (not 
in the T.U.'s) is mandatory, and the chambers have a semi 
official character. The organisation is on federal basis, but 
the central direction is strong. 
These bodies played a decisive part in shaping economic policy 
from the first moment of the reconstituted republic after the 
war. They were reformed more quickly than the official 
administration. In 1957 the quadripartite Committee for Price 
and Wage Problems was founded; it was chaired by the Fed.

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