> Today's Financial Times has a piece on succession pressures facing the
> Mittelstand, Germany's small- and mid-sized businesses that the paper
> describes as "one of the anchors of the German 'social market' mode." This
> is expected to lead to a greater role for a "vibrant stock-market culture,"
> as these firms go public (and become avaiable to foreign investors too).
Interestingly, it's been the big German keiretsu banks (Deutsche B., Commerzbank, Dresdner, ad teutonicum) who've been leading the charge into the stock markets for awhile now, in the form of holdings companies and venture capital funds (the latter are often co-financed, it seems, by the state, through structural funds, R & D subsidies, and the like). But it's by no means Thatcherism, it's more like the continued keiretsu-ization (someone will have to invent a term for this) of the EU. German banks are pursuing the Swiss strategy, of becoming truly global centers of accumulation, tied to specific global industrial concentrations (machine-tools, autos, specialty chemicals, and pharmaceuticals). What all that concentrated capital does is, of course, to enable things like Daimler's buy-out of Chrysler. In a nutshell, national capital is becoming multinational capital. It makes you wonder if we're going to see a titanic Eurobubble in the near future, as all that money squeezed from the welfare state sloshes around newly-created equity funds; of course, Europe's fundamentals are better than the US, so maybe the unfolding Eurobubble is more like a gigantic bet on the viability of the euro. It all makes a twisted kind of sense, considering that the history of capitalism is the history of ever more gigantic speculations; only new (and Government-financed, where necessary: as with Japan's current bailout) speculations can resolve the crisis of old ones.