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Stephen J. Silvia

Among the many striking developments that arose out of the 2008-2009

financial crisis and the subsequent EURO crisis has been the policy divergence

between the United States and Germany. Typically, the two countries

have broadly similar preferences regarding economic policy. To be

sure, this is not the first time that Germany and the U.S. have failed to see

eye to eye on economic matters,1 but the recent gap in perception and

policy does warrant attention because it has been unusually large. Unlike

the famous quarrels between Jimmy Carter and Helmut Schmidt in the

1970s,2 personality does not seem to play a role in this case. What then

does explain the gulf?

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Abraham L. Newman

Since the end of World War II, scholars have attempted to make sense of Germany's insistent multilateralism. Many concluded that this sacrifice resulted from a deeply ingrained political identity that stressed international cooperation and shunned parochial national politics. More recently, however, German leadership has suggested a willingness to weaken its role as global altruist and reassert its interests in Europe and abroad. This article argues that core German attitudes towards regional and global cooperation have changed. But rather than a shift to "national self-interests," I argue that the unification process elevated long-held beliefs about policy conservatism and caution that now compete with the postwar multilateral policy frame within the foreign policy elite. In addition to the pro-European, multilateralist agenda, a second powerful lesson of the interwar period emphasized the dangers associated with sudden change and the benefits of incrementalism. Owing to the uncertainty associated with sociopolitical events, decision makers must rely on their beliefs about how the world works to guide their decisions. To explore the relationship between beliefs and Germany's regional policy, the paper examines the government's regional response to the post 2008 financial crisis and the banking crisis in Eastern Europe.

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Teppo Eskelinen

This article focuses in the allocation of financial risks from the viewpoint of social justice. In contemporary society, finance and the related risk allocation patterns have become highly important in determining the social positions of individuals. Yet it is somewhat unclear how ‘financial risks’ should be understood in normative theory and to what extent their allocation is a specific problem of justice. This article consists of a definition of this category and a typology of three different and distinctive perspectives to financial risks and social justice, out of which a synthesis is drawn. The contribution of the article is to propose a normative basis for a research programme on risks and justice in the society of high financialisation.

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Christian Schweiger

With Brexit, the European Union has entered the first phase of unprecedented and potentially wider political disintegration. This is a reflection of the growing division between the EU’s core political agenda, defined under Germany’s increasingly uncompromising hegemonial leadership throughout the past decade, and the political preferences of the periphery in Southern and Central-Eastern Europe. This article critically examines the multiple effects of Germany’s dominant leadership role in the EU since the onset of the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis on the basis of a liberal intergovernmentalist perspective. It also considers future perspectives for German leadership in the EU after Brexit. As Angela Merkel enters her fourth term as German chancellor, she faces growing domestic political pressures and dwindling support for German leadership in the EU. German leadership is therefore more constrained than ever at a time when it is urgently needed to steer the EU away from further disintegration and towards lasting consolidation. The latter will require Berlin to engage profoundly in rebuilding a multilateral EU leadership constellation with France and Poland, which develops an inclusive policy agenda that represents the growing diversity of national interests amongst the remaining EU-27 member states.

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Douglas Mair

The global economy is battling financial crisis and recession on an unprecedented scale. Reisman's book Democracy and Exchange reviews the contributions of a number of thinkers including Adam Smith and Joseph Schumpeter to the task of making ordinary people feel tolerably happy with the outcomes that affect their lives. The article argues that although Smith is viewed as the principal figure in the Scottish political economy tradition, there are other writers, notably John Rae whose ideas may have more contemporary relevance than those of Smith. A return to the ideas of Rae and Schumpeter, particularly on fiscal policy, may provide important insights into the financial crisis.

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Introduction

Rethinking the class politics of boredom

Marguerite van den Berg and Bruce O’Neill

Nearly a decade after the global financial crisis of 2008, this thematic section investigates one way in which marginalization and precarization appears: boredom. An increasingly competitive global economy has fundamentally changed the coordinates of work and class in ways that have led to a changing engagement with boredom. Long thought of as an affliction of prosperity, boredom has recently emerged as an ethnographically observed plight of the most economically vulnerable. Drawing on fieldwork from postsocialist Europe and postcolonial Africa, this thematic section explores the intersection of boredom and precarity in order to gain new insight into the workings of advanced capitalism. It experiments with ways of theorizing the changing relationship between status, production, consumption, and the experience of excess free time. These efforts are rooted in a desire to make sense of the precarious forms of living that proliferated in the aftermath of the global financial crisis and that continue to endure a decade later.

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It Was Not Meant to Be This Way

An Unfortunate Case of Anglo-Saxon Parochialism?

Tom Frost

In June 2016, the United Kingdom’s electorate voted in a referendum to leave the European Union. This article examines ‘Brexit’ from the perspective of British, or English, exceptionalism. It argues that the Leave vote was caused by a number of factors: underlying myths and exceptionalism about the U.K. and its relationship with ‘Europe’; the fallout from the 2007–2008 financial crisis; the austerity policies undertaken in the U.K. since 2010; and the increased migration into the U.K. after the financial crisis, in particular from other EU Member States. The article concludes by arguing that Brexit should serve as an important lesson to listen to all people who feel abandoned by the EU, austerity and globalisation, to hear their stories and perspectives. Only then can we start to think about whether there are shared values and principles which could form the basis for a European politics of the future.

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Aldo Di Virgilio and Claudio M. Radaelli

In an editorial published in the summer of 2011 in the Corriere della

Sera, Professor Mario Monti commented on the financial crisis of those

weeks and the pressures coming from the markets and from the European

institutions, making three points.1 The first was a criticism of the

Berlusconi government and its majority, which, “after claiming that it

had the ability to solve the country’s problems alone, and after turning

down the possibility of a shared effort alongside other political parties

to try to lift a discouraged Italy out of the crisis, … then actually

accepted … a super-national technical government.”

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Steven Weldon and Hermann Schmitt

Europe has been hit by a global financial crisis, and so has Germany. This crisis is associated, among European Union citizens, with the degree of support for European integration: those who are skeptical about the Euro and the debt crises in parts of the Eurozone tend also to be skeptical about European integration more generally. Our main question in this article is whether the pledges of political parties (as issued in their election manifestos) can add to our understanding of electoral choices in Germany. Relating German election results to the German data provided by the Comparative Manifesto Project MRG/CMP/MARPOR research tradition, our expectation is that political parties' European pledges have been irrelevant for the vote over half a century. Now that the European Union is rapidly moving in its postfunctional phase, the election of 2013 is expected to mark a turning point in that regard.

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Leading through a Decade of Crisis—Not Bad, After All

Germany’s Leadership Demand and Followership Inclusion, 2008-2018

Valerio A. Bruno and Giacomo Finzi

The decade following the great economic and financial crisis of 2008 saw the European Union demanding regional leadership. The EU has also suffered a number of other existential crises, such as the ongoing refugee crisis, the Ukraine-Russia military confrontation, the revival of nationalism and radical right-wing populism, alongside the “trade war” between the United States and the EU. The article develops a novel theoretical framework structuring leadership as a peculiar typology of power, characterized by the capacity of both including “followership” countries’ interests and providing crisis management. Our central argument is that Germany responded strategically to leadership demand in Europe through a positive power role, exhibiting the inclusion of followership and multilateral leadership rather than hegemonic, together with crisis management skills based on solid influence over regional outcomes. Conclusions are drawn from five key case studies drawn from different policy areas.