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Germany's Hidden Crisis by Oliver Nachtwey
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Germany's Hidden Crisis

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Germany's Hidden Crisis by Oliver Nachtwey
Paperback $26.95
Nov 27, 2018 | ISBN 9781786636348

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“A true masterpiece. Focusing on the case of Germany—which has long been mispresented and misperceived as a paragon of economic success and political stability—Oliver Nachtwey offers a detailed account of the crisis of contemporary capitalism. Moving at the forefront of leading theories of political economy, the book develops an empirically grounded synthetic perspective on ‘regressive modernity,’ a concept of which much can be expected for future progress in the study of capitalist development.”
—Wolfgang Streeck

“A major critical review of Europe’s most important country, its socio-economics, its politics, and its self-diagnoses.”
—Göran Therborn

“Nachtwey’s book provides a detailed analysis of postwar developments in Germany from a left-wing, working-class, and sociology-based perspective. I can highly recommend it to everyone interested in the past, present, and future of this crucially important country, many of whose problems face other Europeans and people in the United States as well, in particular the danger of some variant of fascism, most alarmingly in case of a repetition of the 2008 crisis—perhaps a far more serious one.”
—Victor Grossman, Monthly Review

“In this comprehensive sociological study, the author assembles sobering news from Germany, a country the elites of which routinely pride themselves of presiding over a stable, prosperous, and socially inclusive society. To which there is even some truth, comparatively speaking. Yet capitalism thrives on credible promises and on hopes being redeemed. As elsewhere in the West, German elites are increasingly distrusted and hopes frustrated, giving rise to virulent fears and anxieties. As private and public debt, near-stagnation and growing inequality shape gloomy perceptions, a disjunction occurs between ongoing technical and economic modernization, on the one hand, and the notion of ‘progress’ that used to be associated with it. This is a condition for which Nachtwey coins the term ‘regressive modernity’. Among its characteristics are a decline of collective action and public goods production and the ‘de-institutionalization’ of social and economic conflict. Instead of anything resembling organized class struggle, we see symptoms of diffuse and ‘anomic’ rebelliousness ranging from short-lived ‘occupy’-style mobilizations to the outbursts of rightist mobs. Nachtwey has written a lucid analysis highlighting the social causes of our current perplexities.”
—Claus Offe

“It needs at once sociological imagination, an interpretive sense for statistics and explanatory sharpness to be able to decipher the anxious and conflict-laden atmosphere in a country that looks extremely well-ordered, affluent and healthy from the outside. Oliver Nachtwey, impressively combining these three talents, has managed to prompt such a necessary change of perspective with regard to contemporary Germany: In his fascinating study he not only informs us about how downward mobility, precariousness and polarization have grown over the last decades in Germany, but also about how people suffering from these developments fight against the downgrading of their lives—be it by inventing new forms of protest, be it by joining nationalist movements. A must to read for everyone interested in the dark side of the economic wealth of Western countries.”
—Axel Honneth

“Oliver Nachtwey has written an empirically grounded book of great topicality. He focuses on Germany, but his analysis is of much wider relevance. Nachtwey reveals that the ‘elevator effect’, which reduces the significance of social distinctions, is finished. A ‘downward escalator effect’ now makes class disparities visible again. Growing insecurity, increasing inequality and swelling precarianization lead to a renaissance of both left-wing revolts and right-wing authoritarianism.”
—Marcel van der Linden

“An insightful account of the crises threatening German stability.”
Morning Star

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