The German Social Model and Its International Supports
This chapter traces the long-term development of German capitalism from the vantage point of uneven and combined development. It argues that Germany’s postwar social market economy was built upon an externally oriented developmental model inherited from its belated insertion into the world market, and used to enroll capital and labor in a global export offensive. The underlying vision of Germany as the workshop of an advanced industrial and newly industrializing world coincided with the postwar plans of the United States for an open, multilateral global economy. And yet the chapter cautions that the prevailing image of Germany as a liberal “trading state” (Handelsstaat) that had traded power for wealth as its prime objective fails to capture the novel ways in which the German state, from the crisis of the 1970s onward, has come to exert its influence internationally to sustain this export-led social model.
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