Since the onset of the Great Recession, Germany's economy has
been praised for its superior performance, which has been
reminiscent of the "economic miracle" of the 1950s and 1960s. Such
acclaim is surprising because Germany's economic institutions were
widely dismissed as faulty just a decade ago. In Holding the
Shop Together, Stephen J. Silvia examines the oscillations of
the German economy across the entire postwar period through one of
its most important components: the industrial relations system.
As Silvia shows in this wide-ranging and deeply informed
account, the industrial relations system is strongest where the
German economy is strongest and is responsible for many of the
distinctive features of postwar German capitalism. It extends into
the boardrooms, workplaces and government to a degree that is
unimaginable in most other countries. Trends in German industrial
relations, moreover, influence developments in the broader German
economy and, frequently, industrial relations practice abroad. All
these aspects make the German industrial relations regime an ideal
focal point for developing a deeper understanding of the German
economy as a whole.
Silvia begins by presenting the framework of the German
industrial relations system-labor laws and the role of the
state-and then analyzes its principal actors: trade unions and
employers' associations. He finds the framework sound but the
actors in crisis because of membership losses. Silvia analyzes the
reasons behind the losses and the innovative strategies German
labor and management have developed in their efforts to reverse
them. He concludes with a comprehensive picture and then considers
the future of German industrial relations.
Subjects: Political Science, History, Business
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