First published in Le Monde. Translated by Loren Balhorn.
via Wikimedia Commons.
Seen from Germany, it is possible to envy, admire, and feel sorry for France all at the same time. One can envy their freewheeling public debates on topics like “globalisation” and Americanisation, Europeanisation and Germanisation, capitalism, neoliberalism, “competitiveness,” and “structural reforms." This is because, in France, it is still allowed to publicly ask what words like “cosmopolitanism” really mean; what societies have to accept in exchange for this cosmopolitanism, how much thereof a society really needs or wants and, moreover, what sorts of compromises societies must make in a global market characterised by a universalistically diluted form of constitutional patriotism. In Germany, by contrast, those who neglect to drink from society’s daily dose of the cosmopolitan nectar tend to be excommunicated from public discourse. There is no legitimate public discussion of the French questions — not in literature, not in the social sciences, not in the media, and not in the parliament (here, as an institution driven by allegedly eternal and unchanging “Western values," least of all). Such questions are shunned, pushed into the far-right corner. Maybe it has to be this way in Germany, and maybe German expectations that it should be this way in other countries as well are merely an expression of envy.
"Before capitalism will go to hell, it will hang in limbo from an overdose of itself" - Wolfgang Streeck
An extract, taken from How Will Capitalism End? by Wolfgang Streeck, currently 50% off as part of our end-of-year sale.
"Wolfgang Streeck: the German economist calling time on capitalism" - Aditya Chakrabortty interviews Wolfgang Streeck.
In this extract from his new book, How Will Capitalism End?, Wolfgang Streeck argues that although economic progress in the twentieth century made the free-market regime attractive to working class majorities, today the doubts about the compatibility of a capitalist economy with a democratic polity are returning. Charted in the rise of left and right wing populism, and the backlash against poll predictions, Streeck’s work is a timely response to the current state of uncertainty, and addresses the question as to what happens now?
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After 40 years of neoliberal reaction, in which the utopia of perfect market justice was touted by everyone from leading economists to politicians the world over, 2016 seems to have been a watershed moment in the history of capitalism. Between the rise of populism on both the right and the left, typified by the election of Donald Trump, and the decision of voters to defy the liberal elites with the Brexit vote, 2016 has seen the revenge of the voters, in however perverted a form.
In this extract from his new book, How Will Capitalism End?, Wolfgang Streeck argues that capitalism is riven with the contradiction between the needs of the market and those of the voters. Neoliberalism, Streeck argues, saw the dominance of market logic over that of voters, but is that now changing?