Social Protection, Capitalist Production: The Bismarckian Welfare State in the German Political Economy, 1880–2015

Philip Manow

18. Juni 2020

MPIfG Book


Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020
192 Pages
ISBN 978-0-198-84253-8

» Publisher's page
Manow, Philip
Social Protection, Capitalist Production: The Bismarckian Welfare State in the German Political Economy, 1880-2015. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020.


Social Protection, Capitalist Production provides a thorough analysis of the genealogy and the functional logic of German capitalism over the last 130 years. It addresses several puzzles of the existing literature, in particular how economic coordination proved possible and remained stable in a (big) country without prominent traits of neo-corporatism, without long government participation of social democratic parties, without centralized wage bargaining, without active economic steering by the government, under a 'monetarist' regime, and under an allegedly liberal, namely 'ordoliberal' economic policy.

The central claim of the book is that the functional equivalent was a 'conservative-continental' welfare state which provided labour and capital with the organizational resources and the infrastructure to establish and maintain long-term economic coordination. A better understanding of the German case, which can be seen as prototypical for other continental political economies as well, thus provides us also with a much better understanding of the different variants of coordinated market economies in Northern, Continental, and Southern Europe, i.e. it provides us with a more profound Comparative Political Economy-framework.

This has important implications for contemporary debates on Germany's role within international trade, and especially on her role within Europe and especially within the Euro-zone and its crisis. Much of the current debate, so the book claims, is based on an incomplete account of the functional logic of Modell Deutschland.


1   The Political Construction of a Coordinated Political Economy
2   Social Insurance and the Origins of the German Political Economy
3   Modell Deutschland as an Interdenominational Compromise
4   Work and Welfare as Strategic Complements in Germany's Postwar Economic Order
5   Pathological Adjustment, Structural Change and the Welfare State: Modell Deutschland after the Golden Age
6   International Complementarities of National Capitalism
7   Conclusion


Philip Manow

Philip Manow is professor for Comparative Political Economy at the University of Bremen. His publications include In the King's Shadow (Polity, 2010) and Welfare Democracies and Party Politics (edited with Bruno Palier and Hanna Schwander, OUP, 2018).

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