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Tempestuous Seasons

Adam Tooze: Keynes in China, 13 September 2018

In the Long Run We Are All Dead: Keynesianism, Political Economy and Revolution 
by Geoff Mann.
Verso, 432 pp., £20, January 2017, 978 1 78478 599 4
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... and regulation. The liberty of trade was established as something akin to a religion, with Adam Smith and the classical economists as its prophets. In Keynes’s view, such dogmatism, and the rigidity it fostered, were the opposite of what was needed to secure a progressive liberal order. From today’s standpoint, Keynesianism must also be contrasted ...

After the Wars

Adam Tooze: Schäuble’s Realm, 19 November 2015

The Age of Catastrophe: A History of the West 1914-45 
by Heinrich August Winkler, translated by Stewart Spencer.
Yale, 968 pp., £35, September 2015, 978 0 300 20489 6
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... 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 involving Germany’s two largest parties, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) – had made use of its large majority to write a self-denying debt brake into the German constitution ...

To the Bitter End

Adam Tooze: The Nolde above the sofa, 5 December 2019

Emil Nolde: The Artist during the Third Reich 
edited by Bernhard Fulda, Aya Soika and Christian Ring.
Prestel, 320 pp., £45, May 2019, 978 3 7913 5894 9
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... Angela​ Merkel 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 ...

Is this the end of the American century?

Adam Tooze: America Pivots, 4 April 2019

... On 13 October​ 1806 a young German philosopher, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, had an encounter with world history. En route to their annihilation of the Prussian forces 24 hours later, Napoleon and his army were marching through the East German university town of Jena. Hegel couldn’t disguise his terror that in the ensuing chaos the recently completed manuscript of The Phenomenology of Spirit might get lost in the mail ...

Which is worse?

Adam Tooze: Germany Divided, 18 July 2019

Die Getriebenen: Merkel und die Flüchtlingspolitik – Report aus dem Innern der Macht 
by Robin Alexander.
Siedler, 288 pp., €19.99, March 2017, 978 3 8275 0093 9
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Die SPD: Biographie einer Partei von Ferdinand Lassalle bis Andrea Nahles 
by Franz Walter.
Rowohlt, 416 pp., €16, June 2018, 978 3 499 63445 1
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Germany’s Hidden Crisis: Social Decline in the Heart of Europe 
by Oliver Nachtwey, translated by Loren Balhorn and David Fernbach.
Verso, 247 pp., £16.99, November 2018, 978 1 78663 634 8
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Die Schulz Story: Ein Jahr zwischen Höhenflug und Absturz 
by Markus Feldenkirchen.
DVA, 320 pp., €20, March 2018, 978 3 421 04821 9
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... This year​ is both the 70th anniversary of the formation of the Federal Republic of Germany and the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. For years Germany has been thought of as both the pace-setter and the anchor of European politics. But in the summer of 2019, the political scene in Berlin is in greater flux than at any time since the Second World War ...

A General Logic of Crisis

Adam Tooze, 5 January 2017

How Will Capitalism End? 
by Wolfgang Streeck.
Verso, 262 pp., £16.99, November 2016, 978 1 78478 401 0
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... Whatever it takes​ .’ These words, spoken by the president of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, to a crowd of investors in the City of London on 26 July 2012, have come to represent the symbolic end to the acute phase of the global financial crisis. In the political sphere, by contrast, where words are supposed to be everything, we have not yet been able to draw the line ...

Shockwave

Adam Tooze: Shockwave, 16 April 2020

... In​ March, as Europe and the US began to apprehend the scale of the Covid-19 pandemic, investors panicked. Financial markets plunged. The rout was so severe that on several occasions in the second and third week of March, normal market functioning was in question. The prices of US Treasuries, the ultimate safe asset for investors all over the world, swung wildly as fund managers, scrambling for cash, sold everything they could sell ...

Whose century?

Adam Tooze: After the Shock, 30 July 2020

Schism: China, America and the Fracturing of the Global Trading System 
by Paul Blustein.
McGill-Queen’s, 356 pp., £27.99, September 2019, 978 1 928096 85 6
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Superpower Showdown: How the Battle between Trump and Xi Threatens a New Cold War 
by Bob Davis and Lingling Wei.
Harper, 480 pp., £25, June, 978 0 06 295305 6
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Trade Wars Are Class Wars: How Rising Inequality Distorts the Global Economy and Threatens International Peace 
by Matthew C. Klein and Michael Pettis.
Yale, 288 pp., £20, June, 978 0 300 24417 5
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The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Metropolitan Elite 
by Michael Lind.
Atlantic, 224 pp., £14.99, February, 978 1 78649 955 4
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... What​ Eric Hobsbawm called the ‘short 20th century’ is supposed to have ended in 1989 with the United States winning the Cold War. Yet today America faces a powerful and assertive China, a one-party state with an official ideology it calls 21st-century Marxism, which is busy building a powerful military on the back of an economy set to become the world’s biggest in the foreseeable future ...

A Bit of Chaos

Margaret MacMillan: The Great War and After, 5 February 2015

The Deluge: The Great War and the Remaking of Global Order 
by Adam Tooze.
Allen Lane, 672 pp., £30, May 2014, 978 1 84614 034 1
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... political leaders who thought that they could use him and his movement. In The Deluge, Adam Tooze, an economic historian who in 2006 published a wonderful study of the Nazi economy, has set himself the immense task of explaining what went wrong. He also wants to show the intimate relationship between domestic and foreign policies, arguing, for ...

Bait and Switch

Simon Wren-Lewis: The Global Financial Crisis, 25 October 2018

Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World 
by Adam Tooze.
Allen Lane, 706 pp., £30, August 2018, 978 1 84614 036 5
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... was forced back into the picture, though it had never really gone away. In Crashed, Adam Tooze sets himself the mammoth task of making sense of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and its consequences over the last ten years. By and large he succeeds brilliantly. The origins of the GFC are usually traced to the sub-prime housing crash in the ...

Breathtaking Co-ordination

Jonathan Wright: Hitler’s Wartime Economy, 19 July 2007

The Third Reich in Power 
by Richard J. Evans.
Penguin, 941 pp., £12.99, May 2006, 0 14 100976 4
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The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy 
by Adam Tooze.
Penguin, 800 pp., £12.99, August 2007, 978 0 14 100348 1
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... atrocities and the range of Germans who were involved in them. In The Wages of Destruction, Adam Tooze emphasises Germany’s relative economic weakness compared to that of the British Empire or the United States, making sense of the invasion of the Soviet Union ‘as the last great land-grab in the long and bloody history of European ...

It Never Occurred to Them

John Connelly: The Nazi Volksstaat, 27 August 2009

Hitler’s Beneficiaries: How the Nazis Bought the German People 
by Götz Aly, translated by Jefferson Chase.
Verso, 448 pp., £19.99, August 2007, 978 1 84467 217 2
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... budget – from where it could support largesse expended on the Volk. The Cambridge historian Adam Tooze has contested Aly’s claim that 75 per cent of the state budget was covered by this form of looting: he says the actual figure was more like a quarter, but that is still substantial. Aly asks at the outset: ‘What drove ordinary Germans to ...

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