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German Europe [Kindle Edition]

Ulrich Beck , Rodney Livingstone
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The euro crisis is tearing Europe apart. But the heart of the matter is that, as the crisis unfolds, the basic rules of European democracy are being subverted or turned into their opposite, bypassing parliaments, governments and EU institutions. Multilateralism is turning into unilateralism, equality into hegemony, sovereignty into the dependency and recognition into disrespect for the dignity of other nations. Even France, which long dominated European integration, must submit to Berlin’s strictures now that it must fear for its international credit rating.

How did this happen? The anticipation of the European catastrophe has already fundamentally changed the European landscape of power. It is giving birth to a political monster: a German Europe.

Germany did not seek this leadership position - rather, it is a perfect illustration of the law of unintended consequences. The invention and implementation of the euro was the price demanded by France in order to pin Germany down to a European Monetary Union in the context of German unification. It was a quid pro quo for binding a united Germany into a more integrated Europe in which France would continue to play the leading role. But the precise opposite has happened. Economically the euro turned out to be very good for Germany, and with the euro crisis Chancellor Angela Merkel became the informal Queen of Europe.

The new grammar of power reflects the difference between creditor and debtor countries; it is not a military but an economic logic. Its ideological foundation is ‘German euro nationalism’ - that is, an extended European version of the Deutschmark nationalism that underpinned German identity after the Second World War. In this way the German model of stability is being surreptitiously elevated into the guiding idea for Europe.

The Europe we have now will not be able to survive in the risk-laden storms of the globalized world. The EU has to be more than a grim marriage sustained by the fear of the chaos that would be caused by its breakdown. It has to be built on something more positive: a vision of rebuilding Europe bottom-up, creating a Europe of the citizen. There is no better way to reinvigorate Europe than through the coming together of ordinary Europeans acting on their own behalf.

Product Description


"A compelling analysis of Germany."
The Economist

"A blistering indictment of Germany′s modern–day economic domination, by one of Germany′s most distinguished intellectuals."
Daily Mail

"A brilliant and succinct analysis of the political genius of Angela Merkel."
Charles Moore,Sunday Telegraph

"A short but punchy book by the distinguished German sociologist."

"A welcome tonic to reactionary discourses on the ills of Brussels."
Times Literary Supplement

"Democracy won t be real in Europe until that kind of law has to be proposed, debated, and voted on by all concerned. Beck has moved us a small step closer to this highly desirable consummation, and to a unified political will in Europe, by getting his readers accustomed to thinking of a ′European Germany′ rather than a ′German Europe′."
Los Angeles Review of Books

"Diagnoses Europe′s troubles with a realism and clarity that suggests a long and arduous road ahead."
Financial Times

"A thought–provoking essay on the European economic crisis, recommended to all interested in this topic."
Journal of Global Faultlines

"A brilliant analysis of Europe′s shifting landscape of power."
Joschka Fischer, Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor of Germany, 1998–2005

"An immensely incisive and encouraging book.  Not only does it present an eye–opening outlook on Europe′s crisis, it also offers a credible solution."
Daniel Cohn–Bendit, MEP and co–president of the Greens/Free European Alliance Group in the European Parliament

"Ulrich Beck′s German Europe is one of those rare and brilliant political tracts that offers us a new language with which to understand the present crisis so that we can shape the future."
Mary Kaldor, Professor of Global Governance, LSE


About the Author

Ulrich Beck is one of the world s leading sociologists and social thinkers, well–known for his best–selling book Risk Society. He is Emeritus Professor at Munich, London and Paris.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 253 KB
  • Print Length: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Polity; 1 edition (17 April 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CGH01OU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #383,997 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Impassioned tour de force 14 Sept. 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
German Europe is an impassioned essay which sets off from horror at the premise that Germany should decide the fate of Greece, to a prescription for a new Europe which is sufficiently transnational for Germany not to trouble it again. On the way Ulrich Beck bulldozes many comfortable beliefs about how Europe came to be, how it should operate, and what would happen if it ceased. Unfortunately, like every other tour de force, it never applies the same degree of critical brutality to its own premises.

One of the reviewers on the back cover describes this as a 'brilliant tract'. I'm not sure that it is quite 'brilliant', but it is certainly a tract. Beck's prose is without nuance. He calmly and collectedly states his position, dealing with anything which stands in his way, letting the underlying force of his argument carry the passion from page to page. However, he never takes the time to consider opposing views, except in order to dismiss them.

There is a degree of soul-searching and hand-wringing in this book which you probably have to be German to really respond to. Hitler and the Third Reich lie across it like a heavy shadow, and there is rather more Teutonic guilt spread across the pages than I'm usually comfortable with. The underlying claim is that Germany is achieving a dominance by economic and political means which it was never able to sustain by military means.

From the perspective from which this book is written, it is hard to argue with its conclusions. However, it is not the only perspective, and most British readers will spot this straight away. The premise that there is something fundamentally wrong with a vote in the German parliament determining the fate of Greece should give the game away.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A dissection of the seemingly obvious 14 April 2014
By Amazon Customer #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I may have read a few too many polemics on Europe and have become weary. I thought the notion that Germany had lost the war but won the economic peace was an accepted reality. Reading Beck was somewhat like listening to a first year sociology student speechifying for the first time.

It is almost fifty years since Beck was a first year; he has little to prove and I would have thought that his ability to communicate his ideas fluently and with economy of construct would by now have been honed to perfection. Taking a sentence at random by furling the pages and hitting a line with my finger I find:

“The economists who gave us their responses to the crisis make the situation more easily comprehensible but at the same time the ‘interpreters of capitalism’ tend to reduce the complexity of the global financial markets in a disconcerting fashion”.

Perhaps it is his translator’s fault but I would not use the word ‘lucid’ to describe Beck’s prose and I found reading some sections were the mental equivalent of consuming cream crackers without any water to aid the process.

There is also the question of what he is trying to say. It may be that my intellect is poor but there seems little point in dissecting and extrapolating a thought to an academic degree unless one seeks to reveal a further truth. Take an apple pie, render it down and analyse its constituents and it is still an apple pie.

As far as I could decipher, Beck made some fairly obvious points but in abstruse language. A weakened, wider Europe is increasingly dancing to Germany’s tune, which is codifying our economic and political future … and we should be wary. I think I’ve got that, but then, I thought we all believed (to a greater or lesser degree) that was the case. Like the apple pie, I am not sure that a detailed dissection actually adds anything.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting 14 May 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I used to work as a Political and Economic Expert to the Italian Government at the Council of the Regions. I also studied European Politics at degree level, did an MA in European Economics and LLM in EU law and have taught EU politics, law and International Relations theory around the World. When this book came up on the Vine list I thought it may be a very interesting read.

The book is written by the leading German sociologist Ulrich Beck and the basic premise is that the present Euro Crisis is turning the major nation state members into German economic and social clones. The conditions Merkel has imposed on the bailouts of Southern Europe has meant that the cultural/economic values of Germany, have been linked to the bailout conditions. This as the author suggests is to change the way the "lazy southern Europeans" do business and end the overly protective welfare states that foster laziness. This transfer of cultural values as Beck suggests, was to placate the German electorate.

Personally I have enormous issues with what Merkel has done and with the austerity model in general. As a macro economist who believes strongly in Keynesian answers, I have some sympathy for the Southern Europeans and the almost "evil" way Merkel has driven ever greater austerity, resulting in mass unemployment, virtually no growth and people who feel completely disenfranchised with their Governments and with the EU. It is extremely easy to criticise the welfare programmes of Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal pre 2007 and some changes were needed, but Merkel is using her position as lender of last resort, to overly influence economic changes in southern Europe, to the detriment of the peoples of those countries.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Essay on the new EU...
...that has emerged in the past decade. The forcible importation of the german economic model to eastern europe is the major theme here, although it gives a general overview of all... Read more
Published 15 months ago by M. Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Germany and its Aspirations for Europe!
The meltdown in the Eurozone has been managed largely by Germany with their usual ruthless efficiency. Read more
Published 17 months ago by G. J. Oxley
3.0 out of 5 stars Explains the current situation in Europe
If you are wondering why it is that Germany is thriving financially while other countries in Europe like Greece, Spain and Italy are not, this book will explain the reason to you. Read more
Published 18 months ago by J A NEWMAN
3.0 out of 5 stars A current analysis from a German analyst
A Federacy of Europe was never going to be democratic. You have the leaders, the bankers, the coasters and slackers. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Jack Chakotay
5.0 out of 5 stars The book that everyone in Europe should read
The book that everyone in Europe should read, and be made compulsory for people in Britain. German Europe explains how important the EEC is to the future of Europe. Read more
Published 19 months ago by San Diego surfer
5.0 out of 5 stars A tricky read
I didn't notice until after I'd ordered this book that its a translation, and as a result I struggled to read it at times due to it not flowing like a normal book would. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Kris
2.0 out of 5 stars European Germany in a German Europe
This short book (only 100 pages) presents us with a thesis on the place of Germany in Europe and the possible trajectory of the European crisis. Read more
Published 22 months ago by @iGlinavos
4.0 out of 5 stars German Europe
This is a translation from German. it is a very interesting analysis but I found some of the language a bit difficult to follow.
Published 22 months ago by Mrs. Suzanne J. Webber
5.0 out of 5 stars The EU from a sceptical German perspective...fascinating
This is a succinct and very thought provoking essay looking at the current and short to medium term future of the EU from a largely German perspective and that makes it... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Zipster Zeus
2.0 out of 5 stars Get Germanized if you like
Basically stating that we're all supposed to get Germanized because that seems to be inevitable, just because Germans have more initiative and work harder than everyone else. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Eng Luis Jardim
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