Test and paper

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Test and paper

  • The test
  • 11 True-false
  • 5 essay questions
  • The essay question (Due October 3, 1750 words):
  • What is globalization, and how is its intensification impacting economic and political life in the advanced industrial democracies? Thinking about
  • the way that democracy differently works in Britain and Germany, is one country better situated to deal with the challenges and opportunities posed
  • by globalization?

German Elections on Sunday

German Elections on Sunday


  • 82 Million people, or about one fourth the population of the US; about the size of Montana
  • Shares borders with 9 countries…
  • Debt to GDP: about 80% vs. US now over 100%
  • Budget deficits/surplus last year: +218B Germ vs. -585B US
  • Deficit as share GDP; US -3%; Germ +.1
  • GDP: $3.3 trillion, #4 in the world (vs US $14 tril); 21% of EU (vs. 14% UK, 16% FR, 12% Italy)
  • GDP 1990 – 2010: 3.96% annual growth (vs US: 5.3%)
  • Exports: #2 or #3 in the world in the world. Germ trade balance last year: +$242B ; US -$744B.
  • Unemployment (measured differently): Germ 5.5%; US 4.6 (Feb, 2017)

Why study Germany?

  • What can it tell us about late-developing states (1860s-70’s)? Any lessons for our thinking about China?
  • What can Germany tell us about why it’s important to get the democratic choices right for your society? What can it tell us about poor choices embedded in a democratic constitution (Weimar Republic)
  • What can it tell us about punishing countries for bad leaders when you want to make them a democracy later on?
  • How long does it take to build a democracy that works? What does it take?
  • Is Germany’s “two-party, plus” electoral system the best?
  • What kind of political culture is necessary for democracy to flourish?
  • What can Germany tell us about globalization’s pressures on subnational govts? What does it tell us about the upside and consequences of joining disparate economies and environments into one economic unit (from below and above)?


  • Why statehood and democracy so darn late? From loose fiefdoms ( to Napoleon, to domination by Prussia’s Bismark (1850s)
  • The Second Reich (1871-1918): Economic expansion followed pseudo- democracy. Why does democratization often stop here? Why was this historical a lousy time to become semi-democratic?
  • Why us-first isn’t always smart in the bigger picture: Treaty of Versailles (1919)
  • The Weimar Republic (1919): Healthcare and pensions for all…Everyone votes, PR elections w/ no threshold, referenda, no limits on no-confidence votes … and a strong, directly elected president


  • The Nazis’ Third Reich (1933-45). Fascist and totalitarian
  • Divided Germany (1949-90), with lots and lots of resources, an existential threat (Russia), and institutionalization, including the Basic Law.This is how you make democracies
  • Reunification (1989-90): Wow! But expensive ($2 trillion in infrastruct alone)
  • Central leadership in the expansion and institutionalization of the European Union, including adoption of the Euro


  • Why do they have a written Constitution?
  • Federalism (more on this on the next slide)
  • An far-reaching Bill of Rights: Is it good to write everything down? (Settlements can be helpful)
  • Dual executive (Pres+Chancellor) & bicameral natl. legislature (Bundestag+Bundesrat)
  • A strong supreme constitutional court with judicial review and an unusually broad jurisdiction (but also selected with 2/3 super majorities, 6 by each chamber of the legislature), & 12 yr term-limits… and set retirement at 68)
  • A const. fixed electoral process (multi-party)


  • Germany’s strong Lander (but not as strong of the US) have PR parliaments
  • Significant tax revenues (40%) & discretion on how to use it… but they can’t levy state-level taxes like in the US, so you do not have as unequal taxing and spending like here.
  • Lander legislatures select state delegations to the Bundesrat, which has strong autonomous powers…that aren’t fully used except to protect state power
  • Lander legislatures select half of the 16-member Constitutional Court via role in Bundesrat
  • Lander provide half of the electoral college that selects the president to 7-year fixed terms.
  • Can you have strong state governments in the context of globalization and the EU? This is an issue that the US and Germany is having to sort through.


  • Germany has a semi-parliamentary system… How does this work in places like Russia and France? Why does it work here
  • The Chancellor has a large executive staff, that is not selected from legislature
  • Formal policy guidelines issue for the cabinet
  • Why doesn’t Germany have Chancellor-called early elections like most parliamentary systems? Why only “constructive” no-confidence votes?
  • Is there any advantage to having at least somewhat independent legislators? Committees, individual lawmaking, & casework are stronger in Germany than Britain but way weaker than in the US


  • The Bundestag’s electoral system for 600+ legislators is (1) half PR. with an all-national district, & (2) half SMD (single-member district), using plurality elections
    • Just a reminder: SMD-plurality elections are sometimes called “first-past the post” whenthere is no run-off)
  • How does Germany’s ballot work? Isn’t it confusing?
  • The SMD system leads to two big parties: the CDU and the SPD
  • The PR system helps other parties: Greens, Free Democrats, and the Left ( which is mostly the old E. Germany Communist party)
  • What to make of all these hung parliaments where any combination of parties can form a government? Is Germany still a model that others should look at? Is it helpful to have “grand coaition” as has been the case since 2013 (CDU = dominant party, SPD is junior party)


  • A little context: A full, representative democracy achieved in just a couple of decades: 1950s: studied as non-democ; today = a “model”
  • Industrialization in the big picture: 1951: GNP per cap = $500 (1/4 US); Today: $30K (= to Britain & Japan)
  • Unification costs: Over $3 trillion. E. Germ. still receives 4% of GDP in transfers (7.5% tax surcharge)


  • Harder to get things changed than in Britain, but stability and centralism are the norm versus America’s inaction
  • Corporatism under a strong state (the Bundesbank)
    • Codetermination with wage restraints
    • Worker benefits & a very generous social policy
  • What’s their secret? Selective privatization; strategic social investment; and above all a political culture that emphasizes consensus, sacrifice, and stability
  • Is Germany’s domestic politics (emphasis on saving and external trade) going to harm their international relations over the long run?
  • Schroeder (Social Democratic) and Merkel (Christian Democrats): How different? Not very different.
  • Is the govt. held hostage by workers & small parties? It hasn’t been, but increasingly there are issues. Immigration concerns are central in this.

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