Podcast: Zeitenwende? (German foreign policy, with Wolfgang Streeck)

Spaßbremse, October 11, 2022.

Ted talks with economic sociologist Wolfgang Streeck, emeritus director at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne and one of the leading scholars and commentators on European capitalism. In this exciting conversation, they discuss Germany’s foreign policy role in Europe at this moment of the so-called „Zeitenwende.“

Co-hosted by Ted (@ted_knudsen) and Michelle (@shhellgames). Produced by Isaac (@wuermann).

Podcast [link]

Wolfgang Streeck: Europe is Being Subjugated to US Power

Interview by Chris Bambery, Conter, September 30, 2022.

The economic crisis in Britian, the war in Ukraine, and the disorder in the Eurozone are all intimately connected. Chris Bambery spoke to Wolfgang Streeck, an economic sociologist at the University of Cologne and a leading commentator on European capitalism, about the crisis in the EU and the implications for Scotland.

Chris Bambery: Once again we seem to be seeing a renewed debt crisis emerging in the EU with Portugal, Italy and Spain paying higher interest on its state debt than Germany and its satellites? How serious is this and how uneven is the EU today?

Wolfgang Streeck: It is getting more uneven by the day. Economic convergence has been promised but was never delivered. Instead divergence between the center, Germany in particular, and the Mediterranean periphery has long been growing. This is a direct consequence of EMU, the EU’s monetary union. Lagging countries may be able to catch up with more competitive countries in a common market by internal devaluation, meaning essentially lower labour costs. But this has never been successful without being flanked by external devaluation, adjusting a country’s international terms of exchange to its real productivity. (…)

Read the entire interview on conter.scot

Not Quite Enough: How the Pandemic Failed to Save Europe

Review Essay, Society, published online, September 28, 2022.

Luuk van Middelaar’s most recent book on Europe, like his previous work, is serious stuff. Don’t expect your run-of-the-mill “European integration” spiel, liberally funded by the European Commission, dealing with issues like How-the-Commission-constructed-a-Treaty-base-where-there-is-none; or the encouraging results of the latest “European Semester” and what additional data Croatia must supply next time for even more economic stability and convergence to ensue; or why monetary union requires fiscal union to deliver its full benefits; and how the Treaties must be rewritten to consummate the unity of Europe by allowing for the magic of neo-functionalist spillover. None of the usual obsession here with the design and implementation of “programs”, their odds and ends and how they grow out of the infighting between the Commission’s General Directorates, the EU’s various supranational would-be authorities and its member states — all of this on the assumption that “integration” must ultimately move forward as foreseen by “integration theory”. (…)

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Labour Law and Political Economy

The Law and Political Economy Project, September 9, 2022.

What happened to work and workers as the state-managed capitalism of the postwar era – the postwar settlement as it is sometimes called – was replaced by neoliberal capitalism? What were the losses, the gains if any, and how if at all can the losses be recovered? Are growing inequality, widespread precarity, stepped-up market pressure on wages and employment conditions, the intensification of work, declining social protection and mounting tensions between work and family life inevitable or incurable, or can they, do they need to, be mitigated? In short: can remedies be found for the ailments of a neoliberal labour regime, and how exactly should they be conceived and applied? (…)

Continue reading on lpeproject.org

Letter from Europe: Pipe Dreams

Sidecar, September 12, 2022.

When a famously hard-headed statesman starts believing fairy tales, it may be a sign that all is not right with the world. In late July, former German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble gave an interview to Welt am Sonntag, a centre-right Sunday paper. In it, Schäuble publicly renounced his life-long vision of a French-German Kerneuropa, or core Europe. Apparently, with the war in Ukraine, the possibility of even imagining a sovereign Europe with an independent foreign policy now required more than that. The vision he produced was, however, so unworldly as to suggest – coming from a figure known for his ruthless political realism – the opposite: a subversive admission that, with the war, all dreams – left or right – of a Europe with what Macron calls ‘strategic sovereignty’ are nothing but pipe dreams now.

Continue reading on newleftreivew.org/sidecar

Deutsche Version:

Makroskop, 9. September 2022

Wenn die Besten den Verstand verlieren, liegt die Vermutung nah, dass die Welt nicht mehr in Ordnung ist.

Ende Juli gab Wolfgang Schäuble, jetzt elder statesman ohne öffentliches Amt, der Welt am Sonntag ein Interview. (…)

Weiterlesen auf makroskop.eu

Versión española:
Desesperación estratégica

El Salto, 9 de septiembre 2022.

¿Hay alguna posibilidad de construir una Europa independiente dotada de una política de seguridad igualmente independiente?

Cuando los mejores son presa del extravío, quizá podemos concluir que las cosas no van realmente bien. A finales de julio, Wolfgang Schäuble concedió una entrevista al Welt am Sonntag, un periódico dominical de centro-derecha. (…)

Continúe en elsaltodiario.com

Letter from Europe: Means of Destruction

Sidecar, July 2, 2022.

In 2021, the year preceding its invasion of Ukraine, Russia spent the equivalent of $65.9 billion on its armed forces, amounting to 4.1% of its GDP. Germany, with a population of little more than half of Russia’s, spent $56.0 billion, or 1.3% of GDP. The respective figures were $68.4 billion (2.2%) for the United Kingdom, $56.6 billion (1.9%) for France, and $32.0 billion (1.5%) for Italy. Together the four biggest EU member states outspent Russia by a factor of more than three. United States military spending, equal to 38% of the global total, exceeded Russian spending by a factor of twelve, and combined with the big four European NATO countries by a factor of fifteen. (…)

Continue reading on newleftreview.org/sidecar/

Versión española:
Medios de destrucción

El Salto, 5 de julio 2022.

Por muy terrible que sea para el pueblo ucraniano, la guerra de Ucrania no es más que una cuestión secundaria inserta en una historia de dimensiones mucho mayores.

En 2021, el año anterior a su invasión de Ucrania, Rusia gastó 65,9 millardos de dólares (constantes de 2020) en sus fuerzas armadas, lo que equivale al 4,1 por 100 de su PIB. Alemania, con una población de poco más de la mitad de la de Rusia, gastó 56 millardos, o sea, el 1,3 por 100 de su PIB. (…)

Continúe en elsaltodiario.com

Deutsche Version:
Vernichtungswettlauf: Wer, wen, wann?

Makroskop, 06. Juli 2022.

So schrecklich er für das ukrainische Volk ist, der Krieg in der Ukraine ist nicht mehr als ein Nebenschauplatz in einem viel größeren Drama: dem sich anbahnenden Kampf zwischen einem untergehenden und einem aufstrebenden globalen Möchtegern-Hegemon.

Im Jahr 2021, dem Jahr vor dem Einmarsch in die Ukraine, gab Russland umgerechnet 65,9 Milliarden Dollar (auf dem Stand von 2020) für seine Streitkräfte aus, was 4,1 Prozent seines Sozialprodukts entspricht. Deutschland, dessen Bevölkerung etwas mehr als halb so groß ist wie die Russlands, gab 56,0 Milliarden aus, oder 1,3 Prozent seines Sozialprodukts. (…)

Weiterlesen auf makroskop.eu

Letter from Europe: Return of the King

Sidecar, May 4, 2022.

If there ever was a question of who is boss in Europe, NATO or the European Union, the war in Ukraine has settled it, at least for the foreseeable future. Once upon a time, Henry Kissinger complained that there was no single phone number on which to call Europe, far too many calls to make to get something done, a far too inconvenient chain of command in need of simplification. Then, after the end of Franco and Salazar, came the southern extension of the EU, with Spain and Portugal joining NATO too, reassuring Kissinger and the United States against both Eurocommunism and a military takeover other than by NATO. Later, in the emerging New World Order after 1990, it was for the EU to prepare to absorb most of the member states of the defunct Warsaw Pact, even as they were fast-tracked for NATO membership. Stabilizing the new kids on the capitalist block economically and politically, and guiding their nation-building and state-formation, the task of the EU, more or less eagerly accepted, would enable them to become part of ‘the West’, as led by the United States in a now unipolar world. (…)

Continue reading on newleftreview.org/sidecar/

Versión española:
El retorno del rey

El Salto, 8 de mayo 2022.

Además de alimentar a los nuevos miembros de la OTAN por sí misma, otra tarea aparejada al nuevo estatus de auxiliar civil de la Alianza Atlántica asumido por la Unión Europea es diseñar las sanciones económicas concebidas para dañar todo lo que sea necesario al enemigo ruso, mientras se minimiza el daño provocado por las mismas a amigos y aliados.

Si alguna vez se planteó la cuestión de quién es el jefe en Europa, la OTAN o la Unión Europea, la guerra la ha zanjado, al menos durante un futuro previsible. Hace mucho tiempo, Henry Kissinger se quejaba de que no había un único número de teléfono al cual llamar a Europa, debiéndose realizar innumerables llamadas para conseguir hacer algo, así como de que existía una cadena de mando en exceso inadecuada que demandaba simplificación. (…)

Continúe en elsaltodiario.com

Deutsche Version:
Die Rückkehr des Königs

Makroskop, 4. Mai 2022.

Wenn es jemals eine Frage war, wer in Europa das Sagen hat, die NATO oder die Europäische Union, dann hat der Krieg sie geklärt – zumindest für die absehbare Zukunft.

Einst beklagte Henry Kissinger, dass es in Europa keine gemeinsame Telefonnummer gäbe, dass man viel zu viele Anrufe tätigen müsse, um etwas zu erreichen, und dass die Befehlskette viel zu umständlich sei und vereinfacht werden müsse. Nach dem Ende von Franco und Salazar kam es dann zur Süderweiterung der EU, wobei Spanien und Portugal zugleich auch der NATO beitraten, was Kissinger und die Vereinigten Staaten sowohl vor dem Eurokommunismus bewahrte als auch vor einer Machtübernahme durch ein anderes Militär als das der NATO. (…)

Weiterlesen auf makroskop.eu

Technischer Fortschritt und Historischer Wandel: Engels, der Krieg und die Hypertrophie des Staates im 20. Jahrhundert

In: Smail Rapic (Hg.), Naturphilosophie, Gesellschaftstheorie, Sozialismus. Zur Aktualität von Friedrich Engels. Berlin: Suhrkamp 2022, 273-289.

Engels stand zeit seines Lebens und steht bis heure im Schatten von Karl Marx, den er um zwölf Jahre überlebte. In diesen Schatten hatte er sich selbst immer wieder gerne gestellt. Der Autodidakt – er hatte ein Jahr vor dem Abitur auf Anweisung seines Vaters das Gymnasium verlassen, um als ältester Sohn in das Familienunternehmen einzutreten — bewunderte die systematisch-philosophische Brillanz des Junghegelianers, den er für ein Genie hielt, im Vergleich zu dem er selber nicht mehr war als, vielleicht, eine Begabung. In der Tat galt das spekulative Denken, in dem Marx sich wie kaum ein anderer auszeichnete, im Umfeld der deutschen philosophierenden Klasse seiner Zeit als die höchste Form wissenschaftlicher Erkenntnis. Engels, der diese Perspektive teilte, mag sich selber zu fußgängerisch, im Sinne von positivistisch-geerdet, vorgekommen sein — und so sah er seine Rolle in der Zusammenarbeit mit Marx meist als die eines Redakteurs, Lektors, Herausgebers, Verlegers, Übersetzers, auch Popularisierers, der die Marx’sche (nicht: die Marx-Engels’sche) Theorie den sozialistischen Bewegungen. für die sie ja bestimmt war, begreifbar zu machen hatte. […]

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English version:

Engels’s Second Theory: Technology, Warfare and the Growth of the State

In: New Left Review 123, May-June 2020, pp. 75-88.

Friedrich Engels famously spent his working life in the shadow of Karl Marx, a position he now occupies for posterity, and one in which he willingly placed himself. Born in 1820 in the Rhineland town of Barmen, he left school a year before his Abitur on the say-so of his father and, as the eldest son, entered the family business. An autodidact, then, his encounter with Marx left him profoundly impressed by the systematic-philosophical brilliance of the young Hegelian, whom he hailed as a world thinker. By comparison, he himself was no more than, perhaps, a talent. […]

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Italian version:

Engels sociologo empirico: tecnologia, guerra e crescita dello Stato

Pubblicato su MicroMega, 8/2020.

Friedrich Engels ha sempre vissuto nell’ombra di Karl Marx. Oggi, nel bicentenario della sua nascita, vale la pena riscoprire l’originalità di un pensiero che alla concezione materialistica della storia ha dato un contributo determinante sottolineando come i mezzi di distruzione esistano accanto ai mezzi di produzione e mettendo l’accento sulla formazione dello Stato, che si inquadra e si sovrappone a quella della classe. Ripercorriamo qui gli approfonditi e rigorosi studi sulla guerra e la tecnologia di colui che può essere definito come uno dei primi sociologi empirici. […]

Traduzione dall’inglese di Ingrid Colanicchia.

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