Jan-Werner Müller

Jan-Werner Müller's most recent book is Democracy Rules. He teaches at Princeton.

Germany Inc.: Europe’s Monsters

Jan-Werner Müller, 26 May 2022

In​ 1990 the heavy metal band Scorpions released ‘Wind of Change’, a song celebrating the end of the Cold War: ‘The future’s in the air/Can feel it everywhere.’ It also contained the hopeful lines: ‘Let your balalaika sing/What my guitar wants to say.’ It turns out, though, that they had it the wrong way round: it is Putin who calls the tune to which...

Prussian Disneyland

Jan-Werner Müller, 9 September 2021

The reconstructed palace, with Franco Stella’s razionalismo façade.

Thirty years ago​, the Bundestag voted to move from sleepy Bonn to newly unified Berlin. There was a lot of anxiety at the time that the change might signal the emergence of a more nationalist Germany, but even the most apprehensive couldn’t have imagined that the centre of the new-old capital, the...

Short Cuts: Blame Brussels

Jan-Werner Müller, 22 April 2021

The EU took on a task that should have brought it popularity, but for which it was ill-prepared; in the end, it performed, to quote the German finance minister, in a ‘shitty way’. As with the common currency and the refugee crisis, the union acquired features of a state – but in an incomplete and ultimately incoherent way. The Euro couldn’t function without a common fiscal policy; the shared border has lacked a unified asylum policy. And, as so often, the commission overpromised: ‘l’Europe qui protège’ ended up protecting free trade at least as much as the lives of citizens.

Le Roi-machine: Beyond Elections

Jan-Werner Müller, 19 March 2020

‘Our regimes are democratic,’ Pierre Rosanvallon states in the opening sentence of Good Government, ‘but we are not governed democratically.’ There has in recent decades been a shift, he argues, away from a model of democracy focused on representative assemblies towards one in which executives are dominant. More and more countries are adopting the presidential style of...

Populism and the People

Jan-Werner Müller, 23 May 2019

They do not​ all look the same. But group them together and they clearly form a political family: Orbán, Erdoğan, Kaczyński, Trump, Modi, perhaps Netanyahu, Bolsonaro for sure. It would be a mistake to homogenise what are, after all, fundamentally different national trajectories: the causes of the rise of right-wing populism are not identical in every case. But there is a trend...

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