The Primacy of Politics over Economics
Gabor Steingart in conversation with Manfred Lahnstein
Introduction: Henrik Adler
Gabor Steingart is convinced that we are witnessing a time of transition. The overall state of society is changing from solid to liquid – the only thing we can rely on is that we cannot rely on anything. In his most recent book The End of Normality. An Obituary of the Life We Used to Have (2011) Steingart turns his attention to the current turbulence in global finance and analyses how states attempt to control it. The “nationalization of unreason” which can be observed mocks the expectations of the electorate: by believing in “the primacy of politics” they had expected that politicians would be able to prevent an economic crisis. What they experience now, however, is that the politicians “are now exacerbating the crisis through their own actions” and that the financial services industry now has “unfettered access to taxpayers’ money”. Angela Merkel spoke in May 2010 about a battle between politics and the markets and assured us: “I am determined to win this battle”. Can politics win its primacy over the economy or is it a helpless witness of liberated markets? Are attempts at political intervention bound to be answered by further speculation?
The journalist and economic writer Gabor Steingart (*1961) was a reporter for the Wirtschaftswoche. After 20 years with Spiegel, which included periods running the office in the Capital and as Washington correspondent, in 2010 he became Editor in Chief of the Handelsblatt. Steingart’s books include World War for Prosperity. How Power and Wealth are Redistributed (2006) and The Question of Power. Views of a Non-Voter (2009).
Prof. Dr. Manfred Lahnstein is chair of the board of the ZEIT Stiftung. He is a former Finance Minister in the Federal Government and serves on the board of Bertelsmann and lectures in cultural and media management at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg.