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Kristian Kristiansen

In this article I examine how long-term economic strategies in the Bronze Age of northern Europe between 2300 and 500 BCE transformed the environment and thus created and imposed new ecological constraints that finally led to a major social transformation and a "dark age" that became the start of the new long-term cycle of the Iron Age. During the last 30 years hundreds of well-excavated farmsteads and houses from south Scandinavia have made it possible to reconstruct the size and the structure of settlement and individual households through time. During the same period numerous pollen diagrams have established the history of vegetation and environmental changes. I will therefore use the size of individual households or farmsteads as a parameter of economic strength, and to this I add the role of metal as a triggering factor in the economy, especially after 1700 BCE when a full-scale bronze technology was adopted and after 500 BCE when it was replaced by iron as the dominant metal. A major theoretical concern is the relationships between micro- and macroeconomic changes and how they articulated in economic practices. Finally the nature of the "dark age" during the beginning of the Iron Age will be discussed, referring to Sing Chew's use of the concept (Chew 2006).

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Christopher S. Allen

Henry Farrell, The Political Economy of Trust: Institutions, Interests and Interfirm Cooperation in Italy and Germany (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009).

Jeremy Leaman, The Political Economy of Germany under Chancellors Kohl and Schroeder: Decline of the German Model? (New York: Berghahn, 2009)

Wolfgang Streeck, Re-Forming Capitalism: Institutional Change in the German Political Economy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009)

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Philip Manow

The article addresses the relationship between party systems and welfare state regimes in Europe. It argues that the European party systems show a systematic variation with respect to the electoral success of communist parties – which is argued to be related to the intensity of past conflicts between the nation-state and the Catholic Church in the mono-confessional countries of Europe's south. The article presents empirical evidence for the manifestation of the pro-clerical/anti-clerical cleavage in the party systems of Southern Europe and sketches the consequences for the political economy of these countries. The article demonstrates the impact of religious cleavages (rather than the conflict between capital and labor) on the shape of social policy in a country. The Southern European variety of the welfare state differs markedly from the Continental and Northern European varieties, with fragmented and particularistic provisions, decentralized occupation-based social security, strong insider-outsider cleavages and a weak state. This testifies to the broad range of meanings the "social" may assume.

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Eric Langenbacher

Germany-watchers and many Germans have long been sour about the unified country. Often for well-founded reasons, there are few policy or cultural areas that have not been subjected to withering criticism: failed integration of immigrants, an antiquated political economy, insufficient coming-to-terms with the past, atrophied parties, or lackluster foreign policy. Nevertheless, the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Wall and unification is an appropriate moment to pause and reflect on the accomplishments of contemporary Germany—export champion, environmental pioneer, cultural leader, and staunch multilateral European. Despite all of the problems of the last twenty years and the daunting challenges ahead, perhaps Germans can dare some cautious optimism and even a sense of pride.

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John Sonnett

an ecological limit. The limitless pursuit of profits and economic growth is assumed in his perspective, but in ecology such growth is a runaway positive feedback loop that destabilizes systems. Although our current global political economy looks far

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Michael S. Carolan

This article maps key epistemological and ontological terrains associated with biotechnology. Beginning with the epistemological, a comparison is made between the scientific representations of today, particularly as found in the genomic sciences, and the scientific representations of the past. In doing this, we find these representations have changed over the centuries, which has been of significant consequence in terms of giving shape to today's global political economy. In the following section, the sociopolitical effects of biotechnology are discussed, particularly in terms of how the aforementioned representations give shape to global path dependencies. By examining the epistemological and ontological assumptions that give shape to the global distribution of informational and biological resources, this article seeks to add to our understanding of today's bioeconomy and the geographies of control it helps to create.

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Jonathan R. Zatlin

Stephen F. Frowen and Robert Pringle, eds., Inside the Bundesbank (St. Martins Press: New York, 1998)

Peter A. Johnson, The Government of Money: Monetarism in Germany and the United States (Cornell University Press: Ithaca and London, 1998)

Karl Kaltenthaler, Germany and the Politics of Europe’s Money (Duke University Press: Durham and London 1998)

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Carroll L. Estes

In the United States, social policy debate concerning the elderly has, for almost two decades, been permeated by the rhetoric of crisis and attacks on the entitlement programmes that provide the backbone of support for older persons. Based on demographics alone, with older women outliving and outnumbering older men, ageing is appropriately defined as a gender issue and, in important respects, a women’s issue. Corroborating this view, Dr Robert Butler, former director of the National Institute on Aging, recently described the U.S. health programmes for the elderly, Medicare and Medicaid, as ‘women’s programs’ for the very old (Butler, 1996).

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Mark Huberty

Mark Huberty, Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies, The Johns Hopkins University The development of the high-technology startup sector in Germany is critical for the adjustment of the German economy to growing international competition in traditional industrial sectors. The article explores whether changes to the German venture capital financing sector in the period 1995-2005 indicate an improved development path for high-technology startup firms. Based on the volumes and structure of venture capital investments during this period, I conclude that the venture capital sector has undergone substantial change in favor of financing and supporting high-technology startup firms. However, small firm behavior suggests that even with a changed venture capital sector, the overall regulatory structure of the German economy will result in lower rates of firm success than otherwise would be expected from a resurgent venture capital market. The policy implication is that, without additional regulatory reform favoring small, high-technology enterprises, the transformation of German industry will continue to be constrained.

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Horst-Dietrich Elvers

Phil Brown. Toxic Exposures: Contested Illnesses and the Environmental Health Movement. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007.

David Naguib Pellow. Resisting Global Toxics: Transnational Movements for Environmental Justice. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2007.