American capitalism is frequently contrasted with its European other—namely, the social democratic model that seems, to American eyes, more equitable and less crisis-prone. Yet, according to sociologist Oliver Nachtwey, all is not well in social-democratic Germany, Europe’s largest economy, where stagnant social mobility has led to social fragmentation and a revived nationalist right-wing. In the 35th episode of the Podcast for Social Research, Nachtwey joins BISR faculty Ajay Singh Chaudhary for an extended discussion of contemporary capitalism, social democracy, the neoliberal turn, the rise of the right, and alternatives to the status quo. What, if anything, differentiates Western European capitalism from its American variant—and why, if it was once in some sense more equitable, are Western European societies and institutions currently in crisis? How did neoliberalism make itself felt in Germany? What remains of the social democratic compact? Can Western Europe be re-stabilized—and under what conditions?
This episode of the Podcast for Social Research was edited by Nechama Winston. If you enjoyed the podcast, please consider supporting our Patreon page.