Discovering the Limits of Ordnungspolitik

by Tobias Schulze-Cleven on January 20, 2011

As the Euro crisis deepened, the German government’s crisis management became the object of increasingly intense criticism. Being perceived to have “fallen out of love with Europe,” the country seemed to be “making a huge profit at the expense of the other Europeans, while simultaneously, at the political level, relinquishing its European responsibility.” 1 Many of the individual charges directed at Germany were right on the mark, particularly those about the one-sidedness and self-serving nature of German discourse about the country’s economic renaissance, which largely failed to acknowledge the strongly positive impact of the Euro on the economy. But other accusations were remarkable for their own biases. With the often clearly defined drawbacks of German actions, it has been relatively easy to criticize them. However, given the complexity of the challenges facing the Euroarea, it is far harder to say what German positions should actually be.

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Germany: The Necessary But Not Sufficient Nation?

by Sheri Berman on January 20, 2011

During the global economic crisis, Germany has received more attention than probably most scholars and observers would have predicted. Early on, much attention was paid to the country’s purported decision to go the “austerity” rather than the “Keynesian” route; more recently scrutiny has been focused on its purportedly obstructionist role in the European Union’s meltdown. While both of these claims have some truth on the surface, neither really captures fully what is going on.

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Most of the contributions to this seminar begin with Germany’s internal politics and work outwards. This short piece instead emphasizes the external consequences, asking what they mean for European Union politics, taking Ireland as a test case. Ireland is the only ‘Anglo-Saxon’ member of an economic and monetary union which was built largely in order to match German preferences. Both its current crisis, and the ways in which Germany (and other EU member states) are seeking to respond to it, provide evidence about German preferences, and their intellectual and material limitations when they become generalized as policy prescriptions at the European level. Because Economic and Monetary Union only provides fiscal restraints, and no very useful means of intervening in private markets, Germany and other member states face stark limits in their ability to prevent, and even to respond to crises that originate in the private sector. Moreover, when they do, they are likely to find their interventions politicized, and strongly resented by the populations of the countries that are intervened in.

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Germany Seminar Conclusion

by Henry Farrell on January 20, 2011

I’m about to post the final contributions to the seminar on Germany. Many thanks to the participants and to the Center for German and European Studies and Mortara Center for International Affairs at Georgetown, who hosted the original meeting. The URL for the entire seminar is “”: Those who would prefer to read the seminar on paper, or using your PDF-compatible portable reader of choice, can find the complete seminar “here”: