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Change and internationalization in industry: toward a sectoral interpretation of West German Politics


  • Deubner, Christain


Sectoral growth and change in the postwar West German economy have been affected both by the specialization inherited from prewar times and by the general Western evolution of demand and production along “Neo-Fordist” lines. These two factors have also shaped West Germany's politics, particularly the organization of labor and bourgeoisie, and their alliances with each other and with the state apparatus. The three most important economic crisis situations since 1945 were turning points in the political articulation of socioeconomic interests. The crisis of the immediate postwar period resulted in a politics determined by the conflict of interests between owners of capital and the rest of the population, especially labor from 1947 onward. The Social Democratic party (SPD) was outside the government. A temporary interruption of sustained and highly differentiated sectoral growth in 1966 led to greater political attention to sectoral problems and less attention to class conflict. The SPD entered, indeed led, the government. Since the mid 1970s, the economy's structural crisis, compounded by growing foreign competition, has reaccentuated class conflict in political life. The SPD lost power in 1982.

Suggested Citation

  • Deubner, Christain, 1984. "Change and internationalization in industry: toward a sectoral interpretation of West German Politics," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(03), pages 501-535, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:intorg:v:38:y:1984:i:03:p:501-535_02

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