German Europe

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The euro crisis is tearing Europe apart. But the heart of thematter is that, as the crisis unfolds, the basic rules of Europeandemocracy are being subverted or turned into their opposite,bypassing parliaments, governments and EU institutions.Multilateralism is turning into unilateralism, equality intohegemony, sovereignty into the dependency and recognition intodisrespect for the dignity of other nations. Even France, whichlong dominated European integration, must submit to Berlin’sstrictures now that it must ...

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The euro crisis is tearing Europe apart. But the heart of thematter is that, as the crisis unfolds, the basic rules of Europeandemocracy are being subverted or turned into their opposite,bypassing parliaments, governments and EU institutions.Multilateralism is turning into unilateralism, equality intohegemony, sovereignty into the dependency and recognition intodisrespect for the dignity of other nations. Even France, whichlong dominated European integration, must submit to Berlin’sstrictures now that it must fear for its international creditrating.

How did this happen? The anticipation of the European catastrophehas already fundamentally changed the European landscape of power.It is giving birth to a political monster: a German Europe.

Germany did not seek this leadership position - rather, it is aperfect illustration of the law of unintended consequences. Theinvention and implementation of the euro was the price demanded byFrance in order to pin Germany down to a European Monetary Union inthe context of German unification. It was a quid pro quo forbinding a united Germany into a more integrated Europe in whichFrance would continue to play the leading role. But the preciseopposite has happened. Economically the euro turned out to be verygood for Germany, and with the euro crisis Chancellor Angela Merkelbecame the informal Queen of Europe.

The new grammar of power reflects the difference between creditorand debtor countries; it is not a military but an economic logic.Its ideological foundation is ‘German euro nationalism’- that is, an extended European version of the Deutschmarknationalism that underpinned German identity after the Second WorldWar. In this way the German model of stability is beingsurreptitiously elevated into the guiding idea for Europe.

The Europe we have now will not be able to survive in therisk-laden storms of the globalized world. The EU has to be morethan a grim marriage sustained by the fear of the chaos that wouldbe caused by its breakdown. It has to be built on something morepositive: a vision of rebuilding Europe bottom-up, creating aEurope of the citizen. There is no better way to reinvigorateEurope than through the coming together of ordinary Europeansacting on their own behalf.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A compelling analysis of Germany."
The Economist

"A blistering indictment of Germany's modern-day economicdomination, by one of Germany's most distinguishedintellectuals."
Daily Mail

"A brilliant and succinct analysis of the political genius ofAngela Merkel."
Charles Moore,Sunday Telegraph

"A short but punchy book by the distinguished Germansociologist."

"A welcome tonic to reactionary discourses on the ills ofBrussels."
Times Literary Supplement

"Democracy won’t be real in Europe until that kind of law hasto be proposed, debated, and voted on by all concerned. Beck hasmoved us a small step closer to this highly desirable consummation,and to a unified political will in Europe, by getting his readersaccustomed 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 thatsuggests a long and arduous road ahead."
Financial Times

"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 ofpower."
Joschka Fischer, Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor ofGermany, 1998-2005

"An immensely incisive and encouraging book.  Not only doesit present an eye-opening outlook on Europe's crisis, it alsooffers a credible solution."
Daniel Cohn-Bendit, MEP and co-president of the Greens/FreeEuropean Alliance Group in the European Parliament

"Ulrich Beck's German Europe is one of those rare andbrilliant political tracts that offers us a new language with whichto understand the present crisis so that we can shape thefuture."
Mary Kaldor, Professor of Global Governance, LSE


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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745665399
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 4/29/2013
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 120
  • Sales rank: 1,299,490
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 5.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Ulrich Beck is one of the world’s leading sociologists andsocial thinkers, well-known for his best-selling book Risk Society.He is Emeritus Professor at Munich, London and Paris.

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Table of Contents


Introduction. Europe: To Be or Not to Be: The decision facingGermany.

I How the euro crisis is both tearing Europe apart and unitingit
1. How German austerity policies are dividing Europe - thegovernments are for it, the peoples are against
2. The achievements of the European Union
3. The blindness of economics
4. European domestic politics: the national concept of politics is outmoded
5. The EU crisis is not a debt crisis

II Europe’s new power coordinates: the path to a GermanEurope
1. Europe under threat and the crisis of politics
2. The new landscape of European power
3. ‘Merkiavelli’: hesitation as a means ofcoercion

III A social contract for Europe
1. More freedom through more Europe
2. More social security through more Europe
3. More democracy through more Europe
4. The question of power: who will enforce the socialcontract?
5. A European spring?


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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 30, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Whither the European Union (EU) and its premier currency the EUR

    Whither the European Union (EU) and its premier currency the EURO?  ***  
    German sociologist Ulrich Beck does not pretend to know for sure whether or how Europe's two current major crises will be surmounted. But in 2013's GERMAN EUROPE he sketches some possibilities.  ***   
    The two crises are (1) Greece is swimming in unpayable debt and Portugal, Spain and Italy are not that far behind; and (2) the countries in the European Community's Eurozone cannot be sure that their common currency the EURO will survive.   ***  
    Professor Beck stresses that these two intertwined crises can become catastrophes. For they were not widely foreseen and existing international agreements and European fiscal and political structures are not up to the challenge. Needed, he argues, is a new view: the European Union must be made for the first time ever to meet the aspirations and needs of ordinary INDIVIDUAL  Europeans and not just their governments. Europe has a future if and only if it develops new ways of thinking about how to deal with realities that are ever shifting, are not understood and may never be understood.  ***  
    Meanwhile Europe has been increasingly Germanized ever since Communist East Germany was absorbed into the free market Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) on October first 1990. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is now "uncrowned Queen of Europe."  ***  
    To a general reader or political scientist reasonably au courant with Europe since World War Two, Ulrich Beck's GERMAN EUROPE contains little new or memorable. It would, I suggest, be a more useful guide to American readers if it drew more on America's own internal history and on America's contribution to the steady integration of Europe beginning with the Marshall Plan in 1948.  ***  
    In particular, worth discussing are aspects of the USA's transition from the 1777 Articles of Confederation, to the Constituton ratified in 1788. Like the USA before 1788, the European Union (EU) of 2013 is utterly dependent on the good faith of member states for funding a central treasury. Also like America under the Articles, the EU depends on the good will of member states to discipline themselves internally to meet obligations to the Center. Just think of the Eurozone's common currency the EURO. There is no central enforcement mechanism to make Greece or Portugal keep spending and borrowing within ranges necessary to support a currency that Germany and Spain also require.  ***  
    Bottom line: this GERMAN EUROPE is a good book but not extraordinarily so. It abounds in memorable one-liners, snappy quotatations and the author clearly loves his neologism "Merkiavellian" to describe German Chancellor Merkel's cautious, hesitating yet seemingly punitive crisis management style. GERMAN EUROPE's quotability reminds of Oscar Wilde and makes it a good little text to stimulate discussion among foreign policy groups and book clubs.  -OOO-

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