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Adam Tooze

Adam Tooze’s Crashed, a history of the global financial crisis, is out in paperback.

Shockwave

Adam Tooze, 16 April 2020

Once you lose control all the options are bad: shut down the economy for an unforeseeable duration, or hundreds of thousands die. Trump hasn’t mastered the challenge; instead, he expresses through his vacillations and erratic utterances the impossibility of doing so by any means that won’t cause a lot of pain. In the guise of Trump the economy appears not so much as a superego laying down the law, but as an irrepressible impulse that insists we satisfy its demands regardless of the cost, a symptom not of realism but of derangement. Trump thus personifies something that is in fact common to Europe and the US: a lack of leadership at the level appropriate to dealing with a pandemic. Instead, the job has devolved to regional governors in the US and national governments in Europe, to desperately overstretched medical services, on the one hand, and the technicians of economic policy and social relief, on the other. Meanwhile, hundreds of millions of individuals and their families cope as best they can. As with climate change, we are left praying for a deus ex machina in the form of a scientific breakthrough.

The Nolde above the sofa

Adam Tooze, 25 November 2019

AngelaMerkel had a bad start to 2019. The right-wing AfD was on the rise. The reaction of the German security services to the race riots in the East German town of Chemnitz had raised questions about right-wing infiltration of the state apparatus. And then came a request from the National Gallery in Berlin for the loan of two pictures that hung in Merkel’s chancellery office. Both...

Germany Divided

Adam Tooze, 18 July 2019

There is much to admire about German democracy. It is flexible, open, constantly changing. The six parties it is now made up of broadly reflect the divisions of German society. The complexity is a reflection of reality. But can it produce leadership? The answer matters for Europe as well as Germany itself. A clear German position is needed on issues ranging from Brexit and the development of the Eurozone to climate change and security policy in the age of Trump. A strategic window of opportunity closed in 2017 when Emmanuel Macron waited in vain for an answer from Berlin for his Sorbonne vision of Europe’s future. Europe can ill afford further delay. It is possible that a reconfiguration of politics in Berlin will eventually produce a more decisive, more pro-European government. But that is speculation. And how long will it take?

America Pivots

Adam Tooze, 4 April 2019

Two years into the Trump presidency, it is a gross exaggeration to talk of an end to the American world order. The two pillars of its global power – military and financial – are still firmly in place. What has ended is any claim on the part of American democracy to provide a political model. This is certainly a historic break. Trump closes the chapter begun by Woodrow Wilson in the First World War, with his claim that American democracy articulated the deepest feelings of liberal humanity. A hundred years later, Trump has for ever personified the sleaziness, cynicism and sheer stupidity that dominates much of American political life. What we are facing is a radical disjunction between the continuity of basic structures of power and their political legitimation.

Keynes in China

Adam Tooze, 13 September 2018

If, faced with fundamental environmental challenges, Keynesianism is reaching its ultimate limit, will it end with a whimper or a bang? Beijing faces the classical Keynesian dilemmas raised to a new level of extremity. Xi’s ‘Chinese dream’ is the most spectacular Keynesian promise ever made. The underlying fear of domestic unrest is palpable, the scale of repression is astonishing, but so is the gamble on growth.

A General Logic of Crisis

Adam Tooze, 5 January 2017

The publication of How Will Capitalism End? comes when Wolfgang Streeck has positioned himself as the leading intellectual proponent in Germany of a Gaullist vision of Europe from the left. Now that his cards are fully on the table it is a good moment to try to answer the question: how did Streeck turn critical theory into a vehicle for the assertion of the primacy of the nation?

Schäuble’s Realm

Adam Tooze, 19 November 2015

Wolfgang Schäuble​ can’t have expected an easy ride when he moved from Germany’s Interior Ministry to its Finance Ministry on 28 October 2009. Angela Merkel’s new coalition with the Free Democratic Party (FDP), the free market Liberals, was committed to reducing the government deficit. That summer the preceding Grand Coalition – the name for a coalition...

Letter
Adam Tooze writes: Wolfgang Streeck accuses me of blowing up his ‘innocent analytical distinction between “the people of the state" and “the people of the market" into an essentialist, racist, implicitly anti-Semitic conceptualisation of politics and political economy’. This reading is more revealing of Streeck’s insecurities than it is of anything I wrote. But the ‘innocent...

The Global Financial Crisis

Simon Wren-Lewis, 25 October 2018

In​ 2007, Alan Greenspan, the former chair of the Federal Reserve, was asked by a Swiss newspaper which presidential candidate he was supporting. He said it didn’t matter: ‘We are...

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The Great War and After

Margaret MacMillan, 5 February 2015

A common​ and still widely accepted story of the origin of the Second World War is that it was the direct result of what happened in 1919 at the end of the Great War. The French were...

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Hitler’s Wartime Economy

Jonathan Wright, 19 July 2007

Richard Evans’s history of the Third Reich – it will be completed by a third volume covering the war – is an invaluable work of synthesis. The mass of specialist studies we now...

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