The Politics of the Austrian ‘Miracle’
On 1 March 1970, the Austrian Social-Democratic Party (spö) won its first parliamentary majority. Under Bruno Kreisky’s leadership it strengthened its position in three successive elections and on 6 May 1979 set an international record for social democratic parties by winning 51.03 per cent of the vote. After ten years of Social-Democratic majority government, Austria occupies an exceptional place among the Western capitalist countries. While 1980 will be a year of zero economic growth for the oecd nations, and unemployment is expected to rise to some 20 million, Austria is forecast to show an increase of 2.5 per cent in gnp, while unemployment stands at 2.3 per cent. The anticipated rate of inflation, 4.75 per cent, i.e. 1 per cent up on last year, is viewed by Austrian politicians and economists with alarm, while in most other capitalist countries this level would be unattainably low. The favourable economic situation is also accompanied by far-reaching social peace, the average strike total not having risen for many years above a level of two minutes per worker per year. In 1979, the strike rate was barely eight seconds per worker.
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