Wolfgang Streeck

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Wolfgang Streeck (2015)

Wolfgang Streeck (born October 27, 1946 in Lengerich ) is a German sociologist and director emeritus at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne.


Streeck studied sociology in Frankfurt am Main and New York and then worked as a research assistant at the University of Münster . His doctorate in 1980 in Frankfurt am Main was followed by his habilitation in sociology at Bielefeld University in 1986 . During his studies he was an active member of the Social Democratic University Association (SHB) and co-founder of the Socialist Office in Offenbach am Main . From 1980 to 1988 he was a Senior Research Fellow at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin . From 1988 to 1995 he was Professor of Sociology and Industrial Relations at the University of Wisconsin – Madison .

Since 1995 he has been director at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne. In 1999 he took over a professorship for sociology at the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Cologne . He has been a member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities since 1998 and of the Academia Europaea since 2002 . In 2016 he was elected as an external member of the British Academy . He retired at the end of October 2014 .

In his work, Streeck is primarily concerned with questions from the fields of economics and politics and their interrelationships. In doing so, he uses a historically comparative institutional approach.

At the age of 16, Streeck became a member of the SPD . After Thilo Sarrazin's proposal to state awards for pregnancies among academics, he resigned from the SPD. After successful mediation by Bernd Stegemann, he has been involved in Sahra Wagenknecht's collection movement Stand Up since 2018 .

Frankfurt Adorno Lectures 2012

Streeck believes that so-called late capitalism, as described in the crisis theories of the 1960s / 70s, was in truth the beginning of an expansion of capitalist production and consumption relationships that was unimaginable at the time. This expansion was accompanied by an increase in inflation, government and private debt that lasted almost 40 years, which has reached its peak for the time being in today's international banking and fiscal crisis. The fiscal crisis has now grown into a fundamental crisis in the relationship between democracy and capitalism; it thus affects the state system of developed industrial societies as a whole.

The three lectures at the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research deal with the prevention or the temporary postponement of the “legitimation crisis” of the system predicted in the 1970s by inflation, national and private debt, which followed each other until the collapse of “pump capitalism” ( Ralf Dahrendorf ). In place of the growth of the post-war years, distribution-political “pacification instruments” emerged after 2007, as a means of determining differently the relationship between rich and poor within society. The lectures describe the financial and fiscal crisis of 2012 as a process of a long-term shift in weight in the relationship between the factors “democracy” and “capitalism”, they trace the change from a tax to a debt state, they examine and discuss the consequences for democratic politics current development towards a "consolidation and austerity state". Democratic participation was degraded to mere entertainment and also decoupled from political and economic decisions. What has been politically sold in the last few days (June 2012) as “growth programs” is nothing more than “repackaging of the austerity and deregulation strategy that is still being pursued without alternative”.

Jürgen Habermas , who praises the book publication of the lectures with great respect for the diagnostic analysis of the author, even compares it with Marx's book The Eighteenth Brumaire by Louis Bonaparte , criticizes Streeck's “nostalgic option” for a retreat into European small states.


In some quarters, he was accused of having the late 1990s through the Alliance for Jobs , the Agenda 2010 prepared with. Others, on the other hand, argued that the Alliance for Work had no direct influence on Agenda 2010.


In the current crisis policy, Streeck sees a continuation of the long-term trend towards the increase in national debt and thus towards the decreasing ability of the state to act, which has been taken hostage by the banks:

“It is possible that the financial feat we are currently observing will be the last that the Western state system is capable of. After that, capitalism, as it has always wanted, would be left to its own devices. "

- Handelsblatt , March 10, 2009

"There seems to be an imperative: The demands of the financial sector on the states must have absolute priority over the demands of the citizens on the states."

- Deutschlandfunk , April 22, 2013

In a polemic in 2012, he characterized economic and financial experts as experts on capital , "whose special know-how consists in reading the wishes of the owners of means of production from the lips and translating them into" practical constraints "for public use."

In 2017, he apostrophized the French presidential candidate Macron as a “mannequin of the financial sector”.

At the end of 2017 he diagnosed the end of the Merkel era :

“The Merkel era is coming to an end. Fortunately, because it stands for the meaningless retention of power by a monarch. "

- Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , November 16, 2017

Fonts (selection)

  • How Will Capitalism End ?: Essays on a Failing System. Verso Books, Brooklyn 2016, ISBN 978-1-78478-401-0
  • How will capitalism end? Part I. In: Sheets for German and International Politics , Issue 3/2015, mpifg.de (PDF)
  • How will capitalism end? Part II. In: Sheets for German and International Politics , Issue 4/2015 mpifg.de (PDF)
  • Bought Time: The Postponed Crisis of Democratic Capitalism . Suhrkamp, ​​Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-518-58592-4 .
  • Re-Forming Capitalism: Institutional Change in the German Political Economy . Oxford University Press, Oxford 2009.
  • Governing interests: business associations facing internationalization. Routledge, 2006, ISBN 0-415-36486-8 .
  • with Colin Crouch : The diversity of democracy: corporatism, social order and political conflict. Edward Elgar Publishing, 2006, ISBN 1-84542-613-4 .
  • with Kathleen Ann Thelen: Beyond continuity: institutional change in advanced political economies. Oxford University Press, 2005, ISBN 0-19-928046-0 .
  • with Martin Höpner : All power to the market? Case studies on the settlement of Deutschland AG . Campus Verlag, 2003, ISBN 3-593-37265-7 .
  • with Kôzô Yamamura: The origins of nonliberal capitalism: Germany and Japan in comparison. Cornell University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8014-3917-5 .
  • Corporatism in Germany: Between Nation-State and European Union. Campus Verlag, 1999, ISBN 3-593-36320-8 .
  • International Economy, National Democracy: Challenges for Democratic Theory. Campus Verlag, 1998.
  • with Colin Crouch: Political economy of modern capitalism: mapping convergence and diversity. SAGE, 1997, ISBN 0-7619-5653-0 .
  • State and associations. Westdeutscher Verlag, 1994, ISBN 3-531-12661-X .
  • Status and contract as basic categories of a sociological theory of industrial relations: Habil. Lecture, given on November 12, 1986 in front of d. FAK. For sociology d. Univ. Bielefeld. Published by WZB, research focus on labor market and Employment, 1988.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. according to Rainer Hank : A sensible linker. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. October 26, 2014, p. 30 ( portrait via Streeck )
  2. spiegel.de
  3. von Streeck referred to as "neoliberal counter-revolution". This means that capital has broken out of the “prison” of social regulations of the post-war period. He calls the deregulation "breathtakingly successful"
  4. according to IFS ( Memento of July 3, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  5. Jürgen Habermas: Democracy or Capitalism. On the misery of nation-state fragmentation in a capitalistically integrated world society. In: Sheets for German and international politics. Vol. 58/2013, no. 5, pp. 59-70.
  6. nachdenkseiten.de
  7. Cornelia Fraune: Social Pacts in Germany and the Netherlands. Wiesbaden 2011, p. 217.
  8. Wolfgang Streeck: A burden for generations. In: Handelsblatt . March 10, 2009, accessed March 20, 2009 .
  9. When political decisions are replaced by a global market economy. In: Andruck - The magazine for political literature on Deutschlandfunk . April 22, 2013, accessed May 5, 2013 .
  10. Knowledge as power, power as knowledge: Understanding capital in crisis capitalism . In: Merkur , September 2012, Volume 66, Issue 760, pp. 776–787
  11. ^ Presidential election in France: Bonne chance, France! In: Die Zeit , No. 17/2017. Looking for the additional population . In: Die Zeit , No. 39/2017
  12. Merkel - a look back . In: FAZ , November 16, 2017.