Rethinking German Political Economy: Lessons for Comparative Theorizing after the Social Democratic Century
Wed, 08/30/2017
SMLR Professor Tobias Schulze-Cleven
discusses shifts in Germany's social market

For decades, Germany’s evolving form of welfare capitalism illustrated the possibilities of social democracy. In the past, German developments proved to be an important prism for conceptualizing evolving capitalism and democracy. Over the last decades, the pillars of stability seem to have progressively crumbled. However, at the current juncture, the country has the potential to again inform consequential revisions of existing theories.

Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations' Center for Global Work and Employment wants to leverage assessments of the changing “German Model” for innovation in theorizing broader changes. In an attempt to foster dialogue around this topic, SMLR's center held a workshop on August 30, 2017 at the Goethe-Institut in San Francisco to probe the changing politics of Germany’s social market economy. Organizers included SMLR Professor Tobias Schulze-Cleven, a co-director of the Center for Global Work and Employment, and Sidney A. Rothstein, a Ph.D. candidate from the University of Pennsylvania.


Workshop attendees at the Goethe-Institut 
San Francisco.

The workshop focused on three themes to make progress toward formulating:

  1. A dynamic theory of capitalism that grounds the conceptualization of evolving political conflict in changing patterns of economic growth and financial accumulation
  2. A conception of democratic governance that integrates transnational institutions as part of multi-level repertoires for representing popular will and regulating economic forces
  3. An analytic approach to tracking evolving answers to a shifting social question – primarily for leverage in Europe but with applicability beyond.

According to SMLR Professors Tobias Schulze-Cleven and Mingwei Liu, the center's co-directors, contextualized analyses of causal processes and outcomes of change in Germany can yield a better understanding of ongoing transformations across capitalist democracies.

Researchers discuss capitalist democracies during
the Center for Global Work and Employment's 

You can learn more about SMLR's Center for Global Work and Employment