Review: A murkier Merkel

Hans Kundnani assesses an economist’s view of Germany’s role in Europe

The World Today
Published 1 December 2020 Updated 4 December 2020 3 minute READ

Critical Encounters: Capitalism, Democracy, Ideas 
Wolfgang Streeck, Verso, £20.00

The German political economist Wolfgang Streeck insists in the preface to Critical Encounters that it is not ‘a theory of anything’. It consists of 15 book reviews, several of which appeared in the London Review of Books over the past few years, together with six columns Streeck wrote for a Spanish website within the past 12 months. They cover everything from the history of factories to the theory of evolution. Yet read together, even if they do not exactly add up to a theory, they do provide a compelling and distinctive analysis of the current political moment.

Streeck’s intellectual universe can be thought of as a set of three concentric circles. At the centre is the German economy, in particular its manufacturing sector on which much of Streeck’s early sociological work focused.

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