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)?
WHAT ARE THE KEY CRITICAL JUNCTURES IN GERMAN HISTORY?
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
MORE CRITICAL JUNCTURES
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
HOW DOES THE GERMAN SET UP POWER?
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)
A strong supreme constitutional court with judicial reviewand 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)
HOW DOES GERMAN FEDERALISM WORK?
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
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)
DOES GERMAN DEMOCRACY WORK?
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)
WHAT’S THE GERMAN APPROACH TO GLOBALIZATION?
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.