From the Demise of Social Democracy to the ‘End of Capitalism’

The Intellectual Trajectory of Wolfgang Streeck

in Historical Materialism
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.

Help

 

Have Institutional Access?

Login with your institution. Any other coaching guidance?

Connect

Abstract

Over the past decade, Wolfgang Streeck has emerged as one of the most prominent voices in the debate on the crisis of democratic capitalism. This article provides a critical appraisal of Streeck’s recent writings in light of his wider intellectual trajectory, tracing the evolutions and continuities in his work over time; highlighting its important contributions to our understanding of the present crisis; and presenting a fourfold critique of his latest book on the end of capitalism. The main argument is that Streeck’s work, while very valuable for its elucidation of the dynamics behind the demise of social democracy, ultimately remains plagued by a corporatist residue that keeps him from drawing his increasingly radical critique of capitalism to its logical conclusions. As a result, Streeck’s embrace of an exceedingly catastrophist worldview, devoid of any emancipatory potential, has tempted him to veer dangerously close to the welfare chauvinism of the nationalist right.

From the Demise of Social Democracy to the ‘End of Capitalism’

The Intellectual Trajectory of Wolfgang Streeck

in Historical Materialism
Sections
References
  • Abbas Ali S.M. Laura Blattner Mark De Broeck Asmaa El-Ganainy and Malin Hu 2014 ‘Sovereign Debt Composition in Advanced Economies: A Historical Perspective’ IMF Working Paper 14/162 Washington D.C.: International Monetary Fund.

  • AliTariqLudivine BantignyCédric DurandElsa DorlinAnnie ErnauxBernard FriotRazmig KeucheyanStathis KouvelakisFrédéric LordonLeo Panitch and Wolfgang Streeck 2016The Courage of Nuit DeboutVerso Blog4 May available at: <http://www.versobooks.com/blogs/2627-the-courage-of-nuit-debout/>.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ArrighiGiovanni 1994The Long Twentieth Century: Money Power and the Origins of Our TimesLondon: Verso.

  • ArrighiGiovanni and Beverly J. Silver 1999Chaos and Governance in the Modern World-SystemMinneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BoninHolger 2014The Fiscal Effects of Foreigners and Immigration in Germany’ Centre for European Economic Research available at: <https://www.zew.de/en/das-zew/aktuelles/der-beitrag-von-auslaendern-und-kuenftiger-zuwanderung-zum-deutschen-staatshaushalt/?cHash=379d94a982c6ef93f253467caa34cd4b>.

    • Export Citation
  • Crone Manni Maja Felicia Falkentoft and Teemu Tammikko 2017 ‘European Citizens Not Refugees Behind Most Terrorist Attacks in Europe’. Introduction to: ‘Europe’s Refugee Crisis and the Threat of Terrorism: An Extraordinary Threat?’ DIIS Report 2017–5 Copenhagen: Danish Institute for International Studies.

  • CrouchColin 2009Privatised Keynesianism: An Unacknowledged Policy RegimeBritish Journal of Politics and International Relations113: 382399.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Da CostaPedro 2017Welcoming Refugees Brings Unexpected Economic BenefitsBusiness Insider21 August available at: <https://www.businessinsider.nl/refugees-pay-more-in-taxes-than-they-collect-in-benefits-2017-8/?international=true&r=US>.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • DustmannChristian and Tommaso Frattini 2014The Fiscal Effects of Immigration to the UKThe Economic Journal124580: F593F643.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Europol 2017European Union Terrorism Situation and Trend ReportThe Hague: Europol available at: <https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/2017-eu-terrorism-report-142-failed-foiled-and-completed-attacks-1002-arrests-and-142-victims-died>.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Evans William N. and Daniel Fitzgerald 2017 ‘The Economic and Social Outcomes of Refugees in the United States: Evidence from the ACS’ NBER Working Paper No. 23498 Cambridge MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.

  • FloresEsteban 2017Walls of Separation: An Analysis of Three “Successful” Border WallsHarvard International Review383: 1012.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • HaegensKoen 2013Wolfgang Streeck: “Ja, ik ben ook woedend”De Groene Amsterdammer4 September available at: <https://www.groene.nl/artikel/ja-ik-ben-ook-woedend>.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • HallPeter and David Soskice 2001Varieties of Capitalism: The Institutional Foundations of Comparative AdvantageOxford: Oxford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • HarveyDavid 1982The Limits to CapitalLondon: Verso.

  • HarveyDavid 2017Marx Capital and the Madness of Economic ReasonNew York: Oxford University Press.

  • HugglerJustin 2014German Immigrants Bring in £18bn to the EconomyThe Telegraph27 November available at: <https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/11259083/German-immigrants-bring-in-18bn-to-the-economy.html>.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • JonesReece 2012Border Walls: Security and the War on Terror in the United States India and IsraelLondon: Zed Books.

  • KirkegaardJacob Funk 2016The Limited Economic Impact of Terrorism in EuropePeterson Institute for International Economics11 April available at: <https://piie.com/blogs/realtime-economic-issues-watch/limited-economic-impact-terrorism-europe>.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • KrippnerGreta R. 2011Capitalizing on Crisis: The Political Origins of the Rise of FinanceCambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • MaderPhilip 2013Buying Time and Running OutThe Current Moment11 April available at: <https://thecurrentmoment.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/buying-time-and-running-out/>.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • MarshallSenera 2016Obama Has Deported More People Than Any Other PresidentABC News29 August available at: <https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/obamas-deportation-policy-numbers/story?id=41715661>.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • MarxKarl 1990 [1867]Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume One translated by Ben FowkesHarmondsworth: Penguin.

  • MarxKarl 1991 [1894]Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume Three translated by David FernbachHarmondsworth: Penguin.

  • MayblinLucy and Poppy James 2016Is Access to Work Really a Pull Factor for Asylum Seekers?The Conversation25 April available at: <https://theconversation.com/is-access-to-work-really-a-pull-factor-for-asylum-seekers-57757>.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • MezzadraSandro and Brett Neilson 2013Border as Method or the Multiplication of LaborDurham, NC: Duke University Press.

  • O’ConnorJames 1973The Fiscal Crisis of the StateNew York: St Martin’s Press.

  • PikettyThomas 2013Capital in the Twenty-first Century translated by Arthur GoldhammerCambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  • RogersJoel and Wolfgang Streeck 1994Productive Solidarities: Economic Strategy and Left Politics’ in Reinventing the Left edited by David Miliband pp. 128145Cambridge: Polity Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • RonzoniMiriam 2015How Social Democrats May Become Reluctant Radicals: Thomas Piketty’s Capital and Wolfgang Streeck’s Buying TimeEuropean Journal of Political Theory10 September <https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1474885115601602>.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • RoosJerome 2019Why Not Default? The Political Economy of Sovereign DebtPrinceton: Princeton University Press.

  • SassenSaskia 2006Territory Authority Rights: From Medieval to Global AssemblagesPrinceton: Princeton University Press.

  • SilverBeverly J. and Giovanni Arrighi 2011The End of the Long Twentieth Century’ in Business as Usual: The Roots of the Global Financial Meltdown edited by Craig Calhoun and Georgi DerluguianNew York: New York University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Streeck Wolfgang 1999a ‘Competitive Solidarity: Rethinking the European Social Model’ MPIfG Discussion Paper 99/8 Cologne: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies available at: <https://pure.mpg.de/rest/items/item_1235382_2/component/file_2366277/content>.

  • StreeckWolfgang 1999b ‘An Arbeit fehlt es nichtDer Spiegel19 available at: <http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-13220370.html>.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Streeck Wolfgang 2007 ‘Endgame? The Fiscal Crisis of the German State’ MPIfG Discussion Paper 07/7 Cologne: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies available at: <http://pseweb.eu/ydepot/semin/texte0809/STR2009END.pdf>.

  • StreeckWolfgang 2008Re-Forming Capitalism: Institutional Change in the German Political EconomyOxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Streeck Wolfgang 2009 ‘Institutions in History: Bringing Capitalism Back In’ MPIfG Discussion Paper 09/8 Cologne: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies available at: <http://www.mpifg.de/pu/mpifg_dp/dp09-8.pdf>.

  • Streeck Wolfgang 2010a ‘Taking Capitalism Seriously: Toward an Institutionalist Approach to Contemporary Political Economy’ MPIfG Discussion Paper 10/15 Cologne: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies available at: <http://www.mpifg.de/pu/mpifg_dp/dp10-15.pdf>.

  • StreeckWolfgang 2010b ‘The Fiscal Crisis Continues: From Liberalization to ConsolidationComparative European Politics84: 504515.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Streeck Wolfgang 2010c ‘E Pluribus Unum? Varieties and Commonalities of Capitalism’ MPIfG Discussion Paper 10/12 Cologne: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies available at: <https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1805522>.

  • StreeckWolfgang 2011The Crises of Democratic CapitalismNew Left ReviewII71: 528.

  • StreeckWolfgang 2012a Review of Capitalizing on Crisis: The Political Origins of the Rise of Finance by Greta R. Krippner Socio-Economic Review102: 408414.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • StreeckWolfgang 2012b ‘How to Study Contemporary Capitalism?European Journal of Sociology531: 128.

  • StreeckWolfgang 2012c ‘Interview with Wolfgang StreeckThe Current Moment3 January available at: <https://thecurrentmoment.wordpress.com/2012/01/03/interview-with-wolfgang-streeck/>.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Streeck Wolfgang 2013 ‘The Politics of Public Debt: Neoliberalism Capitalist Development and the Restructuring of the State’ MPIfG Discussion Paper 13/7 Cologne: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies available at: <https://www.mpifg.de/pu/mpifg_dp/dp13-7.pdf>.

  • StreeckWolfgang 2014a Buying Time: The Delayed Crisis of Democratic Capitalism translated by Patrick Camiller and David FernbachLondon: Verso.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Streeck Wolfgang 2014b ‘Report to the 2014 Meeting of the Advisory Board of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies’ 27 May available at: <http://www.mpifg.de/people/ws/forschung_en.asp>.

  • StreeckWolfgang 2014c ‘The Politics of ExitNew Left ReviewII88: 121129.

  • StreeckWolfgang 2014d ‘Small-Stage Nostalgia? The Currency Union, Germany, and Europe: A Reply to Jürgen HabermasConstellations212: 213221.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • StreeckWolfgang 2014e ‘Interview: Capitalism, Neoliberalism and DemocracyRenewal: Journal of Social Democracy223/4: 7480.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • StreeckWolfgang 2014f ‘How Will Capitalism End?New Left ReviewII87: 3564.

  • Streeck Wolfgang 2015a ‘Rise of the European Consolidation State’ MPIfG Discussion Paper 15/1 Cologne: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies available at: <http://www.mpi-fg-koeln.mpg.de/pu/mpifg_dp/dp15-1.pdf>.

  • StreeckWolfgang 2015b ‘States and MarketsASA Section Newsletter XY 1: 1016.

  • StreeckWolfgang 2016a How Will Capitalism End? Essays on a Failing SystemLondon: Verso.

  • StreeckWolfgang 2016b ‘Social Democracy’s Last RoundsJacobin25 February available at: <https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/02/wolfgang-streeck-europe-eurozone-austerity-neoliberalism-social-democracy/>.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • StreeckWolfgang 2016c ‘Scenario for a Wonderful TomorrowLondon Review of Books387: 710.

  • StreeckWolfgang 2016d ‘What About Capitalism? Jürgen Habermas’s Project of a European Democracy’ available at: <https://wolfgangstreeck.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/streeck2016_eps_review_habermas-lure-of-technocracy.pdf>.

    • Export Citation
  • StreeckWolfgang 2016e ‘On the Dismal Future of CapitalismSocio-Economic Review141: 163183.

  • Streeck Wolfgang 2016f ‘Exploding Europe: Germany the Refugees and the British Vote to Leave’ SPERI Paper 31 Sheffield: Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute University of Sheffield available at: <http://speri.dept.shef.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/SPERI-Paper-31-Wolfgang-Streeck-Exploding-Europe.pdf>.

  • StreeckWolfgang 2016g ‘The Post-Capitalist Interregnum: The Old System Is Dying, But a New Social Order Cannot Yet Be BornJuncture232: 6877.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Streeck Wolfgang 2017 ‘Between Charity and Justice: Remarks on the Social Construction of Immigration Policy in Rich Democracies’ Working Paper 2017–5 Odense: Danish Centre for Welfare Studies University of Southern Denmark.

  • StreeckWolfgang 2018Lokalpatriotismus: Ein Weltbürger ist nirgendwo BürgerDie Zeit20 June available at: <https://www.zeit.de/2018/26/lokalpatriotismus-politik-kosmopolitismus-grenzen-identitaet>.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • StreeckWolfgang and Kathleen Thelen 2005Beyond Continuity: Institutional Change in Advanced Political EconomiesOxford: Oxford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • TanselCemal Burak and Joe Turner 2016Immigration, Refugees and the Politics of CrisisSPERI Comment17 October available at: <http://speri.dept.shef.ac.uk/2016/10/17/immigration-refugees-and-the-politics-of-crisis-a-response-to-wolfgang-streeck/>.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ToozeAdam 2017A General Logic of CrisisLondon Review of Books391: 38.

  • United Nations 2016 ‘Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism’ UN General Assembly Report No. A/71/384 New York: United Nations Organization.

  • Van der Pijl Kees 2015 ‘Democratic Capitalism in the Last Stages? Capital as Agency in Wolfgang Streeck’s Analysis of the Crisis’ paper presented at the fifth EU experts’ discussion Berlin: Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung 11–13 December.

  • WadsworthJonathanSwati DhingraGianmarco Ottaviano and John Van Reenen 2016Brexit and the Impact of Immigration on the UKCEP Brexit Analysis 5London: Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science available at: <https://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/brexit05.pdf>.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • WallersteinImmanuel 1974The Rise and Future Demise of the Capitalist World System: Concepts for a Comparative AnalysisComparative Studies in Society and History164: 387415.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • WarrenHelen 2014EU Migrants Pay £20bn More in Taxes than they ReceiveFinancial Times5 November.

  • World Bank 2018International Debt StatisticsWashington, D.C.: World Bank available at: <https://data.worldbank.org/data-catalog/international-debt-statistics>.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
Figures
Index Card
Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 224 224 178
Full Text Views 28 28 19
PDF Downloads 24 24 15
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0