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Europe, German Mercantilism and the Current Crisis

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  • Sergio Cesaratto

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Abstract

Contributions to Brancaccio and Fontana (2011) look at a variety of aspects of the current crisis, some of them focusing on the contingent financial causes, others on the underlying contradictions of capitalist economies. In this context, less attention has been paid to the role of Europe and particularly Germany. Europe has not been distinguished by an assertive and cooperative economic policy stance in the aftermath of the current crisis. German mercantilist policies are said to be behind the European policy stance and a source of regional and global imbalances. After a brief examination of the main pillars of European economic policy and German behaviour during the present crisis, these notes suggest an embryonic interpretation of the origins of mercantilist behaviour, dwelling on the nature of mercantilism in economic theory and commercial practice, and of the allegedly German mercantilist model. The suggested interpretation is that in the German case, the national mystique of a trade surplus may have had a role in disciplining the labour market and at the same time assuring profits. Recent developments in Spring 2010 have shown the gravity of the European imbalances in the global crisis (see Cesaratto 2010) and the relevance of the background issues discussed in the present paper.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Siena in its series Department of Economics University of Siena with number 595.

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Date of creation: May 2010
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Handle: RePEc:usi:wpaper:595

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  1. L'uscita dell'euro redux: la Realpolitik colpisce ancora
    by Alberto Bagnai in Goofynomics on 2011-11-29 08:56:00
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Cited by:
  1. Oliver Landmann, 2012. "Rotating Slumps in a Monetary Union," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 303-317, April.
  2. Sergio Cesaratto, 2013. "The implications of TARGET2 in the European balance of payments crisis and beyond," European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies: Intervention, Edward Elgar, vol. 10(3), pages 359—.
  3. Sergio Cesaratto, 2012. "Harmonic and Conflict Views in International Economic Relations: a Sraffian view," Department of Economics University of Siena 651, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  4. Sergio Cesaratto, 2012. "Controversial and novel features of the Eurozone crisis as a balance of payment crisis," Department of Economics University of Siena 640, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  5. Martin Klein & Tobias Weirowski, 2011. "Trade and Unemployment in Germany: An Empirical Exploration and Some Theory," Global Financial Markets Working Paper Series 2011-24, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  6. Sergio Cesaratto, 2010. "Alle origini della crisi europea in corso: spunti critici a margine di due rapporti della Commissione," Department of Economics University of Siena 596, Department of Economics, University of Siena.

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