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Economic Crisis and New Nationalisms

German Political Economy as Perceived by European Partners


Edited By Antonio Varsori and Monica Poettinger

As of a consequence of the ongoing economic crisis, in 2010 there was a marked deterioration in cross-border relations between Italy and Germany. In both countries the press published articles openly blaming economic hardship on the squandering attitude of southerners or the egoistic and mercantilist policies of northerners. The reigning confusion among economists, split between pro- and anti-Euro positions in both countries, could do nothing to counter this growing wave of populist nationalism.
Out of this situation grew the idea of organizing a conference to discuss the theoretical issues implied by recent economic policy debates, purging them of ideological and nationalistic overtones. This volume publishes the proceedings of the resulting international colloquium, «Economic crisis and new nationalisms: German economic policy as perceived by European partners», which was organized by the Foundation Cesifin Alberto Predieri and held in Florence in November 2012.
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The Genealogy of German Ordo-Liberalism and the European Project



Gerhard WEGNER

1. Introduction

The fiscal crisis in the European Union has revealed the diversity of approaches to economic policy which characterizes the European project from its beginning. These approaches originate from different political experiences but also from different intellectual cultures. Accordingly, they shape the perception of crises and instruct the search for their causes and appropriate political measures to remedy them in divergent ways. The cultural spectrum is frequently described as a North-South divide: on the one hand a pro-market, free trade, pro-competitive and anti-interventionist political culture favoured in the UK, the Scandinavian countries, the Netherlands, and Germany; on the other hand an interventionist, regulative, redistributive economic policy preferred in the Mediterranean countries such as Italy, Spain, Greece or France.

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