- Hardcover: 120 pages
- Publisher: Polity; 1 edition (April 22, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 074566539X
- ISBN-13: 978-0745665399
- Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.6 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,893,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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German Europe 1st Edition
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"A compelling analysis of Germany."
"A blistering indictment of Germany's modern-day economic domination, by one of Germany's most distinguished intellectuals."
"A brilliant and succinct analysis of the political genius of Angela Merkel."
Charles Moore,Sunday Telegraph
"A short but punchy book by the distinguished German sociologist."
"A welcome tonic to reactionary discourses on the ills of Brussels."
Times Literary Supplement
"Democracy won’t be real in Europe until that kind of law has to be proposed, debated, and voted on by all concerned. Beck has moved us a small step closer to this highly desirable consummation, and to a unified political will in Europe, by getting his readers accustomed to thinking of a 'European Germany' rather than a 'German Europe'."
Los Angeles Review of Books
"Diagnoses Europe's troubles with a realism and clarity that suggests a long and arduous road ahead."
"A thought-provoking essay on the European economic crisis, recommended to all interested in this topic."
Journal of Global Faultlines
"A brilliant analysis of Europe's shifting landscape of power."
Joschka Fischer, Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor of Germany, 1998-2005
"An immensely incisive and encouraging book. Not only does it present an eye-opening outlook on Europe's crisis, it also offers a credible solution."
Daniel Cohn-Bendit, MEP and co-president of the Greens/Free European Alliance Group in the European Parliament
"Ulrich Beck's German Europe is one of those rare and brilliant political tracts that offers us a new language with which to understand the present crisis so that we can shape the future."
Mary Kaldor, Professor of Global Governance, LSE
About the Author
Ulrich Beck is one of the world’s leading sociologists and social thinkers, well-known for his best-selling book Risk Society. He is Emeritus Professor at Munich and Professor of Sociology at the LSE.
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The book is written by the leading German sociologist Ulrich Beck and the basic premise is that the present Euro Crisis is turning the major nation state members into German economic and social clones. The conditions Merkel has imposed on the bailouts of Southern Europe has meant that the cultural/economic values of Germany, have been linked to the bailout conditions. This as the author suggests is to change the way the "lazy southern Europeans" do business and end the overly protective welfare states that foster laziness. This transfer of cultural values as Beck suggests, was to placate the German electorate.
Personally I have enormous issues with what Merkel has done and with the austerity model in general. As a macro economist who believes strongly in Keynesian answers, I have some sympathy for the Southern Europeans and the almost "evil" way Merkel has driven ever greater austerity, resulting in mass unemployment, virtually no growth and people who feel completely disenfranchised with their Governments and with the EU. It is extremely easy to criticise the welfare programmes of Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal pre 2007 and some changes were needed, but Merkel is using her position as lender of last resort, to overly influence economic changes in southern Europe, to the detriment of the peoples of those countries. For me the ECB should take a greater role, taking Germany out of the equation and issue Bonds/Guilts backed by all 27 national countries. This would allow all EU countries to borrow money to kick start their economies, without the enormous influence Merkel has had on shaping economic bailout policies. A very similar scheme as put forward by Keynes at Bretton Woods, vetoed by the Americans. I agree with the author, that this power and influence has been badly used and could endanger the entire EU project. There is an alternative to austerity and certainly a better alternative to Merkel influenced bailout loans.
This book is a fascinating essay on the influence of Merkel in terms of the refinancing of southern Europe and the potential dangers that her policies could create. I do agree with the author that this woman has taken citizens' needs out of the equation and she is driving an economic policy that could lead to disaster and the splintering of the EU. Not every country wants Germanisation.
"There is a widespread view that what we need to overcome this crisis is more Europe. But we find less and less assent to the idea of 'more Europe' among the people of the member states. Given this situation, is it even possible to conceive of the completion of a European political union? Of a common taxation system and a common economic and social policy? Or is it not the reality that the preoccupation with a political union has obscured the crucial question, that of a European society, for so long that we have ended up leaving the most important factor out of the reckoning altogether? That factor is the sovereign people, the citizens of Europe. So let us put society back in. What needs to be done in the midst of this financial crisis is to shed light on the power shifts of Europe and to delineate the new landscape of power. That is the goal of this essay."
If this is the goal of this essay, the goal is largely met, and in my opinion some of the negative reviews here are rather wanting from this perspective. Beck presents more material and provides more contemplation in this short essay than many texts three or four times in length, and for such an important topic that the publishing houses have largely ignored, it is immensely readable as well. While it is true that the author does not prescribe a conclusive direction for Europe in the concluding section of his essay, he lays the groundwork for serious discussion and weaves together the current landscape rather well after checking with the reader on multiple occasions to make sure they understand the context, at least for Americans who have not kept up with the last few years of development, although admittedly some of this discussion is sometimes a bit too timely and may not age very well and sometimes seems better suited for "The New Yorker" magazine.
While extensive commentary could easily be written as a response to this essay, the space here is limited. If the reader does not have time to read the entire essay, I recommend a reading of the section within the second part entitled "'Merkiavelli': Hesitation as a Means of Coercion," comprising almost a quarter of the text, which discusses how Angela Merkel has seized the opportunity presented to restructure power relations in Europe. Although from a financial perspective, the author argues that her chief aim is to win votes in Germany: "If Europe can be rescued at the same time she will certainly not be opposed to that. But she too is pursuing a domestic European policy that serves primarily to strengthen a national power base." Following a discussion of the four components of the political affinity that the author sees between Merkel and Machiavelli is a related sidebar entitled "From the Burden of History to the Burden of the Schoolmaster" that is one of the best succinctly written commentaries about the German struggle between burdens associated with the second world war and wishes to provide constructive input to the continent. Recommended reading.