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Germany: The EU's economic powerbroker - sample comparative politics paper

In the wake of the great recession, Germany emerged with strong economic growth. Due to the size of its economy and its political influence within the European Union, Germany has power to influence Europe's economic recovery. This sample short political science paper analyzes Germany's economic power and notes the role of Germany's leaders. It would be a good reference for a student who wants to respond to an article concerning current economic events.

Germany rises amidst Europe's economic trouble

The global economic recession has affected every nation, including member states in the European Union. This has led many analysts and political scientists to speculate about how much responsibility the European Union, and Germany in particular, should have over the economic well-being of its member states. The Economist contemplated this issue in its article, "Europe's reluctant paymaster?" on February 26, 2009. This article revealed the level of economic success Germany has achieved on an international level and discussed whether or not it's in Germany's best interest to allow nations within the European Union to fall into recession. This article also discussed Germany's changing attitudes within the European Union. To best understand the European Union and Germany, and individual needs to utilize information found both in this article and in Comparative Politics textbooks.

"Europe's Reluctant Paymaster" is very much in line with what Comparative Politics and its textbooks teach. While it naturally analyzes Germany from a more globalized contemporary economic angle than the textbooks, the textbooks are still necessary for overall discussion of Germany's involvement with the European Union. Both the article and Kopstein and Lichbachss book, Comparative Politics, discuss Germany's original enthusiasm for the European Union and its expansion. These same sources also tell of a Germany now wary of the repercussions that come with too much expansion. Both the textbooks and the article examine the economic cushion Germany has created to prevent itself from going down with the rest of Europe, the reason the Economist refers to Germany as "Europe's Reluctant Paymaster." While the books look at Germany more broadly, both the books and the article overlap in their knowledge of Germany's economic role in the European Union.

Despite the overlap, this article was still particularly useful because it was able to add new knowledge to politics not covered in the textbooks. Specifically, it showed the perspective other European nations and international organizations have of Germany. For instance, the article reads, "At times like these people turn to Germany, the biggest and most creditworthy economy in Europe. Austria wants the EU to provide $191 billion of aid (Europe's Reluctant Paymaster)." This shows that not only does Germany's economic success as a middle developer have a positive effect on the people living within the nation, but also that other nation's perceive Germany as economically prosperous. Germany is known for being careful about allowing workers to immigrate and this expected dependency shows why workers would want to come to Germany in the first place. What this doesn't show is that to achieve such stability, Germany has had to deal with a very high unemployment rate. Nonetheless, this article analyzed Germany from an international perspective and provided insight into the manner in which Germany is perceived by other nations and international organizations.

The article is fairly accurate but fails to analyze some of the more interesting aspects of Germany. For instance, the article states that Germany is the most economically powerful country in the European Union? Even more so than England and France. This is particularly interesting because Kopstein and Lichbach's textbook, Comparative Politics, describes the growth of middle developers by stating, "[these] countries all got a late start in economic development and the state played a much larger role in fostering their development (Kopstein p.11)." Thus while France, Britain and many other early developers are generally looked upon favorably by the western world, they often are not the most economically successful. Additionally, Kopstein's book reads, "the main [German political] parties advocate even greater economic free trade and are willing to compensate for the losers under this policyEven during the late 1990's the major political parties remained strongly of continued economic integration (Kopstein p.156)." While the article looks at Germany from a broader perspective it does not discuss political parties and the influence the Grand Coalition has. This is an atrocious oversight by the authors because an accurate analysis of whether or not Germany will provide a bail out to other nations would have to look at who's leading Germany and their economic policies. While the article has some positive qualities to it, it does not give sufficient information to allow the reader to have an accurate understanding of the depth of the situation.

"Europe's Reluctant Paymaster" was published by the Economist, an internationally respected publication. It is well known, however, that the Economist has an often conservative point of view. For example, the article seems to argue against the idea of a common European bond to such a degree that it suggests utilizing an IMF-style facility for lending ("Europe's Reluctant Paymaster). A promotion of this kind reveals a definite degree of bias. Nonetheless, the Economist gives an accurate portrayal of the European Union and Germany's involvement in it. While the textbooks are useful for analyzing both Germany on a domestic level and the way the European Union has affected Germany, the article is important because it shows how Germany is affecting all of Europe.
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