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Europe, German Mercantilism and the Current Crisis


  • Sergio Cesaratto


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Sergio Cesaratto, 2010. "Europe, German Mercantilism and the Current Crisis," Department of Economics University of Siena 595, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  • Handle: RePEc:usi:wpaper:595

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Buzan, Barry, 1984. "Economic structure and international security: the limits of the liberal Case," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(4), pages 597-624, October.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. L'uscita dell'euro redux: la Realpolitik colpisce ancora
      by Alberto Bagnai in Goofynomics on 2011-11-29 14:56:00


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    Cited by:

    1. Sergio Cesaratto, 2014. "Balance of payments or monetary sovereignty? In search of the EMU’s original sin – a reply to Lavoie," a/ Working Papers Series 1406, Italian Association for the Study of Economic Asymmetries, Rome (Italy).
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Sergio Cesaratto, 2013. "Harmonic and Conflict Views in International Economic Relations: a Sraffian View," Palgrave Macmillan Books, in: Enrico Sergio Levrero & Antonella Palumbo & Antonella Stirati (ed.), Sraffa and the Reconstruction of Economic Theory: Volume Two, chapter 10, pages 242-264, Palgrave Macmillan.
    5. Viljar Veebel, 2015. "Baltic Pathways from Liberal Trade Model to Neo-Mercantilism in the European Union," Managing Global Transitions, University of Primorska, Faculty of Management Koper, vol. 13(3 (Fall)), pages 213-229.
    6. Pasquale Tridico, "undated". "Economic policies and growth strategies after the crisis: different approaches in USA, Japan and EU," Working Papers 0015, ASTRIL - Associazione Studi e Ricerche Interdisciplinari sul Lavoro.
    7. 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 Publishing, vol. 10(3), pages 359-382.
    8. Bill Lucarelli, 2017. "Intra-eurozone Payments Imbalances: Implications for the TARGET2 Payments System," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 49(3), pages 343-357, September.
    9. 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.
    10. Oliver Landmann, 2012. "Rotating Slumps in a Monetary Union," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 303-317, April.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • B11 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Preclassical (Ancient, Medieval, Mercantilist, Physiocratic)
    • N14 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: 1913-
    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions

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