Wolfgang Streeck

Wolfgang Streeck is professor emeritus of sociology at the Max Planck Institute.

In the Superstate: What is technopopulism?

Wolfgang Streeck, 27 January 2022

Angela Merkel made the state seem like a service company, ready to fix people’s problems so that they could continue to live as they pleased. This helped to counter a perception of the world as fundamentally incoherent. No large plan, no holistic approach can be of help in such a world, only fast and flexible responses to dangers as they arise, carried out by an experienced leader with a strong capacity for improvisation. Can this be considered technopopulism? In a sense it can. For the new conservatism, crises arise from disorder, not from a wrong order, and their handling should be entrusted to technicians in command of special knowledge, whether scientific or magical, or both (they are hard to distinguish for the political consumer). Merkel never claimed to be an economist, or a lawyer, or an expert in foreign policy or military strategy. She did, however, have herself described by her communications team, and sometimes described herself, as privy to knowledge of a special kind: that of a scientist trained to solve problems by analysing them from the desired outcome backwards.

Through Unending Halls: Factories

Wolfgang Streeck, 7 February 2019

It was​ in the early 1960s, I think, that our class at a small-town Gymnasium made a trip to south-western Germany, accompanied by several teachers. We visited Heidelberg and Schwetzingen and similar places without really seeing them; 17-year-old boys have other things on their minds. But we also went to Rüsselsheim, near Frankfurt, for a tour of the Opel car factory. I had never...

You need a gun: The A-Word

Wolfgang Streeck, 14 December 2017

What​ is the relationship between coercion and consent? Under what circumstances does power turn into authority, brute force into legitimate leadership? Can coercion work without consent? Can consent be secured without coercion? Does political power depend on voluntary agreement and values shared in common, or does it grow out of the barrel of a gun? When ideas rule, how is that rule...

Playing Catch Up: The German Exception

Wolfgang Streeck, 4 May 2017

Monetary union gives German manufacturing a captive market in Europe, as well as an edge over European competitors that have to operate in more inflationary institutional settings. On top of that, it equips German firms with an undervalued currency in markets outside the Eurozone, especially at a time when the ECB’s quantitative easing keeps pumping up the bloc’s money supply. To restrain the competitiveness of German industries in order to save the single currency, as outsiders sometimes suggest, would from the perspective of the unions be committing suicide for fear of death.

Adam Tooze’s outpouring is material for a future anatomy of the class rhetoric of faux cosmopolitanism as it flourishes among a soul-searching urban-academic middle class in the post-Brexit moment (LRB, 5 January). Those of us who do not meet the demanding standards of universalist utopianism can find solace in the fact that when it comes to earthly matters, even the inhabitants of the moral high...

A General Logic of Crisis

Adam Tooze, 5 January 2017

Now that his cards are fully on the table it is a good moment to try to answer the question: how did Wolfgang Streeck turn critical theory into a vehicle for the assertion of the primacy of the nation?

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Vanity and Venality: The European Impasse

Susan Watkins, 29 August 2013

The single currency has turned into a monetary choke-lead, forcing a swathe of economies – more than half the Eurozone’s population – into perpetual recession.

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