The EU Crisis and Europe’s Divided Memories

Excerpts from an interview by Carlo Spagnolo with Geoff Eley, Leonardo Paggi, and Wolfgang Streeck, to be published in “Le memorie divise dell’Europa dal 1945”, monographic issue of the Journal „Ricerche Storiche“, n. 2/2017.

Right from the beginning, European integration encountered resistance and has experienced periods of stasis and regression but today’s crisis is of a new, more extreme kind. Since the rejection of the constitutional treaty in France and the Netherlands in 2005 we have seen the growth of local “populist” movements opposed to immigration and the loss of control over the employment market, a resurgence of nationalism in many countries and the referendum vote in favour of Brexit on 23 June (2016). Is this a crisis of rejection connected to the almost unnatural and extraordinarily rapid expansion of the size and remit of the EU after the 1991-92 Maastricht Treaty? Are we now paying the price for the EU’s over-ambition or for the „democratic deficit“ on which it was built?

(W. S.) It is almost conventional wisdom today to answer both your questions in the affirmative: over-ambition and democratic deficit at the same time. Yes, integration has crossed the threshold beyond which it makes itself felt in everyday life, especially as member countries have become so much more heterogeneous. “Nationalism”, as you call it, has always been there, except in Germany and, perhaps, Italy – two countries whose citizens were for a long time willing to exchange their national identity for a European one. Elsewhere it was contained within national borders, which were still relevant. This has changed with the simultaneous widening and deepening of the Union. Also, as to nationalism, don’t forget that the Internal Market and monetary union and in particular the “rescue operations” for governments and banks, pitch countries against each other, making then compete for economic performance and fight over both austerity and “solidarity”. (Continue)

Producir ciencia social crítica en el interregno

Entrevista, Revista de Actualidad Política, Social y Cultural, 17 de abril del 2017

Profesor Streeck, muchas gracias por la posibilidad de conversar con usted. Me interesa formularle algunas preguntas sobre los procesos que la sociedad global está viviendo hoy en día.

Muy bien. Intentaré dar mis mejores respuestas. Sin embargo, debo comenzar con una nota de precaución: vivimos en un tiempo en que las cosas se han vuelto tremendamente impredecibles, por razones que podemos ir discutiendo; y si bien sabemos por qué esto está ocurriendo, de todas maneras el resultado es que podemos esperar nuevas sorpresas, y por definición uno no conoce de antemano las sorpresas. (Continue)

Crisis and Critique of Social Sciences

Sociologica, 3/2016

Conversation with Riccardo Emilio Chesta

Retracing Wolfgang Streeck’s scientific path, the following interview illustrates some key nodes in critical political economy to finally focus on the general state of contemporary sociology. As a specific stream of a scientific niche, critical political economy addresses indeed relevant questions to both empirical research and sociological theory. Rooted in the so called “critical theory”, Streeck explains how every analysis of the institutional frameworks of contemporary capitalism cannot be detached from a historically grounded and a theoretically informed macro-sociological research. This peculiar articulation allows moreover to investigate the relations between social sciences research on diversity of capitalism and its political salience for democratic capitalism. Moving from personal experiences until general assessments on the state of the discipline, the interview finally aims to shed light on the practice of sociology as a Weberian Beruf – a professional and intellectual craft – and to elucidate its possibilities and limitations in the working and living conditions of contemporary academia.

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« Marx n’avait pas prévu Keynes »

Interview publié dans le magazine Books, Janvier/Février 2017, pp. 28-30

Que pouvons-nous encore ­apprendre de Karl Marx ?

D’abord que notre société est une société historique, qui s’inscrit dans un flux d’événements. Et ­ensuite que ce flux d’événements ­s’ordonne de façon structurelle, que l’évolution de la société obéit donc à une logique qu’il nous faut comprendre pour pouvoir inter­préter ce qui se passe. Cette logique est difficile à reconstruire, mais elle dyna­mise de façon extra­ordinaire la théorie et l’expérience historique. (…)

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Interview: Capitalism Breeds Reckless Consumption and Starves the Public Sphere

Truth-Out.org, December 11, 2016

You cite the end of WWII as the time that capitalism and democracy became intractably enmeshed. How did it come to be that Western democracies came to assert that freedom could not exist without capitalism?

The way I would put it is that they became temporarily reconciled through Keynes‘ discovery that economic growth can be stimulated by redistribution from the wealthy to the poor. But „intractably enmeshed“ they were precisely not, as we have seen in recent decades when they were extricated from one another in the course of the neoliberal revolution. The pattern that emerged was what I call Hayekian statism: a strong state preventing democratic-egalitarian interference with markets, to allow the market to do its work — redistribute according to market rules, i.e., from the bottom to the top. Weiterlesen