Sonderweg aus der Solidarität

Besprechung von: Johannes Becker / Clemens Fuest: Der Odysseuskomplex. Ein pragmatischer Vorschlag zur Lösung der Eurokrise. Hanser Verlag, München 2017

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 27. März 2017, S. 13.

Was tun, wenn man stecken geblieben ist – wenn es weder vorwärtsgeht noch zurück? Johannes Becker, Direktor am Institut für Finanzwissenschaft der Universität Münster, und Clemens Fuest, Präsident des Münchner Ifo-Instituts, versuchen es seitwärts. Die Währungsunion ist ein Desaster, aber die politische Union, die das heilen könnte, wird es nicht geben, und eine Rückkehr zu nationalen Währungen darf man nicht wollen. Der „pragmatische Vorschlag“: mehr nationale Autonomie durch weniger internationale Abhängigkeit; mehr nationale Demokratie bei mehr nationaler Verantwortung; weniger Politik und mehr Technokratie auf europäischer, dafür weniger Technokratie und mehr Politik auf nationaler Ebene. (Weiterlesen auf süddeutsche.de)

Scenario for a Wonderful Tomorrow

Review of Martin Sandbu, Europe’s Orphan: The Future of the Euro and the Politics of Debt, Princeton University Press: Princeton, 2015

Appeared in London Review of Books, Vol. 38, No. 7, March 2016, pp. 7-10

Europe is falling apart, destroyed by its most devoted fans, the Germans. In the summer of 2015, having humiliated the Greeks by forcing another reform diktat down their throats, Angela Merkel started a new game, aimed at diverting attention from the economic and political disaster monetary union had become. Abrupt changes of policy are nothing new to Merkel, who is best described as a postmodern politician with a premodern, Machiavellian contempt for both causes and people. Having made her party adopt a radically neoliberal, deregulationist anti-labour platform in 2003, she barely escaped defeat two years later at the hands of Gerhard Schroeder. When she became chancellor, she used her office and the Grand Coalition with the post-Schroeder Social Democratic Party (SPD) to purge her own party of neoliberalism and neoliberals, and social-democratise it beyond recognition. In 2011, after the nuclear accident at Fukushima, which received extensive media coverage in Germany, it took Merkel, then known as the Atomkanzlerin, no more than a few days to order the immediate closure of eight nuclear power plants and to initiate legislation to end all nuclear power generation by 2022 at the latest. This was only a few months after she had, with much political arm-twisting, got the Bundestag to repeal the nuclear phase-out passed by the Red-Green coalition in 2001, and to extend the operating licences of German nuclear plants by an average of ten years. (…) Continue

What about capitalism? Jürgen Habermas’s project of a European democracy

Review of Jürgen Habermas, The Lure of Technocracy, Polity: Cambridge, 2015

Appeared in European Political Science, advance online publication (paywall)

The book to be reviewed here – The Lure of Technocracy – is Jürgen Habermas’ latest statement on Europe, its crisis, its politics and its prospects. It is the English translation – a remarkably good one – of Im Sog der Technokratie (Habermas 2013). The German original came out as Volume XII of Kleine politische Schriften, a series that dates back to 1980 and which, according to Habermas (2013, 10), it is to conclude. The twelve volumes, all of them collections of occasional papers, interviews and public lectures produced alongside Habermas’ main works, have long become an object of wide admiration, in Germany and beyond, for their unique combination of political activism, profound scholarship and, not least, brilliant essayistic prose, and they can already now claim a prominent place in the political and cultural history of postwar Germany. The Lure of Technocracy consists of ten pieces from the last three or four years, seven of them more or less directly concerned with European integration and its crisis since 2008. (…)

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