Globalization in One Country: East Germany Between Moral Economy and Political Economy

Jeffrey Kopstein

in The Politics of Labor in a Global Age

Published in print September 2001 | ISBN: 9780199241149
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598920 | DOI:
 Globalization in One Country: East Germany Between Moral Economy and Political Economy

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Examines one effect of globalization on labour in the case of unified Germany: the rise of a new particularism. A number of scholars have started to speak of the new divide between eastern and western Germany in terms of ethnicity. As useful as this analogy is, however, it has the disadvantage of being just that—an analogy. Seen differently, the source of the new cultural divide in Germany is the conflict between two very different, historically shaped moral economies. Despite Stalinist misdevelopment, the economy of the communist East, through everyday labour practices, inculcated a set of egalitarian economic values. For political reasons, the unification strategy after 1991 did not challenge these values but accommodated them. Such a strategy thus guaranteed the persistence and even growth of regional identities in post‐unification Germany. The new particularism in other locales, therefore, may stem from the clash not only of ‘civilizations’ (Huntington), but also, rather more prosaically, from the conflict between dominant labour and leisure practices, of notions of what is properly commodified and what is best put outside of markets—practices that are being challenged by global markets, and the diffusion of tastes, values, and institutions.

Keywords: economic values; egalitarianism; German reunification; Germany; globalization; industrial relations; moral economy; regional identity

Chapter.  12189 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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