Investitionsstau ist Ergebnis neoliberaler Politik

Radio-interview mit Jürgen Zurheide, Deutschlandfunk, Februar 29, 2020.

Die Infrastruktur in Deutschland ist in keinem guten Zustand. Angesichts des enormen Investitionsstaus stehen derzeit sogar Schuldenbremse und Schwarze Null zur Disposition. Eine Neuverschuldung des Staates sei jedoch an bestimmte Bedingungen geknüpft, auf die die Regierung keinen Einfluss hat, gibt emeritierte Direktor des Max-Planck-Institut für Gesellschaftsforschung in Köln, Wolfgang Streeck, zu bedenken. Zudem seien mit neuen Schulden allein längst nicht alle Probleme gelöst.

Jürgen Zurheide: Herr Streeck, wir diskutieren gerade in Deutschland wieder heftig über Schuldenbremse oder möglicherweise die Abschaffung für Investitionen. Wie groß ist der Investitionsbedarf in Deutschland?

Wolfgang Streeck: Also daran kann ja gar kein Zweifel bestehen: Auf kommunaler Ebene gibt es einen gewaltigen Investitionsstau. Wir hier im Rheinland sehen ja auch, wie die Brücken anfangen, für Lastwagen gar nicht mehr passierbar zu sein, weil man die nachrüsten muss. Wir haben in den Jahren der neoliberalen Revolution, wenn man das so nennen will, einfach vergessen, dass Dinge laufend gewartet werden müssen, um auf diese Weise Geld zu sparen. Die Bahn ist ein wunderbares Beispiel dafür, da gibt es einen Investitionsstau von Ausmaßen, die man überhaupt nicht beschreiben kann, weil die Stellwerke nicht mehr funktionieren, die Technologie veraltet ist und so weiter. (…)

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Intervista a Wolfgang Streeck

Bollettino Culturale, 26 Gennaio 2020.

Wolfgang Streeck, nato a Lengerich il 27 ottobre del 1946, studia sociologia all’Università Goethe di Francoforte, proseguendo i suoi studi alla Columbia University tra il 1972 e il 1974.
A Francoforte studia nel contesto dell’omonima scuola marxista, fondamentale per lo sviluppo del marxismo occidentale.
Dopo aver insegnato in alcune università tedesche, nel 1995 diventa direttore dell’Istituto Max Planck per lo studio delle società mentre insegna sociologia all’Università di Colonia.
Dal 2014 è direttore emerito dell’Istituto Max Planck.
Nei suoi lavori è centrale l’analisi dell’economia politica del capitalismo, usando un approccio dialettico applicato all’analisi istituzionale. (…)

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The International State System after Neoliberalism: Europe between National Democracy and Supranational Centralization

In: Crisis and Critique 7 (1), 2020, 214-234.

Abstract: In 1945 Karl Polanyi outlined a vision of a peacetime global state system with a political economy in which small countries could be both sovereign and democratic. The present essay reviews developments between then and now in the light of Polanyi’s analytical framework. Particular attention is paid to the history of the European Union, which after the end of Communism turned into a mainstay of the neoliberal project, culminating in its restoration of an international gold standard under Monetary Union. In the crisis of 2008 the advance of neoliberalism got stuck due to “populist” resistance to austerity and the shift of governance from the national to a supranational level. The paper explores the prospects of current attempts to replace the “Social Europe” and “trickle-down” narratives of European superstate formation, which have lost all credit, with a story about a European army as a necessary condition of a successful defense of “the European way of life”.

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Progressive Regression. Metamorphoses of European Social Policy

In: New Left Review 118, July-August 2019, pp. 117-139.

Has any polity in world history undergone such a rapid and far-reaching series of transmogrifications as the European Union? Founded as an organization for joint economic planning among six adjacent countries, in the context of the state-managed capitalism of the post-war era, it grew into a free-trade zone, increasingly devoted to neoliberal internationalism under the rubric of the ‘Internal Market’. As the number and heterogeneity of member states grew, ‘positive integration’ was replaced by ‘negative integration’, in effect market-building: the removal of national regulations impeding trade, in an ever-broader sense, within the union. After the fall of the Soviet bloc in 1989, the EU became in addition a geostrategic project, closely intertwined with American strategy in relation to Russia. From a handful of countries jointly administering a small number of key economic sectors, the EU developed into a neoliberal empire of 28 states, obliged under union treaties to allow for freedom of movement for goods, services, capital and labour, and to refrain from ‘anti-competitive’ intervention in their economies. (…)

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First appeared as MPIfG Discussion Paper 18/11. To be downloaded here.

Der alltägliche Kommunismus

Vorwort zur Foundational Economy Collective, Die Ökonomie des Alltagslebens. Für eine neue Infrastrukturpolitik. Suhrkamp Verlag: Berlin 2019, 7-30.

Das hier einzuleitende Buch handelt von dem alltäglichen Kommunismus, der unserem alltäglichen Kapitalismus unterliegt und ihn überhaupt erst ermöglicht. Gemeint sind die großen Netze der physischen und sozialen Infrastruktur, die moderne Gesellschaften zusammenschließen und ihre Mitglieder produktiv machen. Zu den Ersteren zählen die fest installierten Leitungs- und Schienensysteme, die uns mit Wasser, Strom, Heizung und Transportleistungen versorgen; zu den Letzteren kollektiv institutionalisierte Leistungsbeziehungen,die Gesundheit, Bildung, Pflegeund soziale Sicherheit liefern. Kommunistisch sind diese in mehrfacher Hinsicht. (…)

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Comment on della Porta

In: Johannes M. Kiess and Martin Seeliger, Trade Unions and European Integration. A Question of Optimism and Pessimism? Routledge, London and New York 2019, pp. 46-50.

This is a useful chapter. It summarises the state of the art on an often-overlooked subject, listing the relevant literature in case readers want to explore the matter further. And it supplements this with concise case accounts of recent developments in the relationship between social movements and trade unions in a number of countries. I have nothing to hold against or add to Donatella’s piece. So I will limit myself to one specific aspect of what now tends to be called the “framing” of an issue before I proceed to several, more or less related general remarks on social movement and trade union politics in, and in relation to, the European Union (EU). The intention here is to sketch out a baseline for research and theory on this subject, in the sense of a list of fundamental conditions underneath whatever conjunctural, sectoral, topical, etc., modulations may be observable on top of them. I am doing this because I suspect that much of the work on and discussion of “European integration” is far too occupied with minor fluctuations in current events, to the neglect of deeply rooted priors that remain importantly in force regardless of what happens on the surface.

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