@INET-BW: Anglo-Saxons versus the Germans

For one and a half days we had Anglo-Saxons talking finance and financial crisis: Keynesian stimuli, surplus countries bashing, drawing China in, and bullying of the Euro area and in particular Germany’s role in it. If there was one message, it was that it is all about (the politics) of money. So I was curious to hear what the first German speaker, Dalia Marin from the University of Munich would argue: would she defend Germany against the Anglo-Saxon condescencion? Would she defend the cause of the surplus countries? No, she talked about firms, trade and increasing firm production (example: cars). Will the twain ever meet?

8 thoughts on “@INET-BW: Anglo-Saxons versus the Germans

  1. I stand corrected. In session 8, Carl-Ludwig Holtfrerich, Kevin O’Rourke, Jean Pisani-Ferry, and Niels Thygesen undertake a genuine attempt, often based on historically similar examples, to assess the problems of the Euro-zone, and suggest solutions. Nice presentations. Underneath the conclsusion seems to be: more political integration. Is Gordon Brwon the man for the job?

  2. Simon, you’re right, historically speaking :). But the cultural divide seemed real and in the end difficult to bridge.

    1. I do not doubt the cultural divide (here in Israel, as an historian of ideas who focuses on Britain I bump against it all the time in a different form: Israeli scholars – who as scholars try to be more German than the Germans – cannot believe that any intellectual history ever actually occured in Britain).

      But at the risk of being overly pedantic, it does strike me as interesting that the very term you use to describe the English-speaking world reflects that divide itself. From the Wikipedia article on ‘Anglo-Saxons’ I read that: “Outside Anglophone countries, both in Europe and in the rest of the world, the term “Anglo-Saxon” and its direct translations are used to refer to the Anglophone peoples…” But just a few paragraphs before the same article notes that the term was in use in C19th Britain for ‘racist’ and ‘imperialist’ purposes. Actually, historically speaking, this last claim is possibly problematic (crudely speaking, it would seem that many Victorians used the term ‘race’ to mean something more like culture than blood). But the relevant point here is that the (respectable) English-speaking world today rejects the C19th label of ‘Anglo-Saxon’ on the (possibly mistaken) ground of its racist heritage.

      Put another way, as a native of the United Kingdom, when I find myself described as an Anglo-Saxon I wonder what planet the speaker hails from (answer: ‘the Continent’).

      NB. All of this is not meant as criticism, but rather the building of cultural bridges (bridges built in the usual Anglophone manner of course – for all communication is in English!)

  3. Dear Simon. That’s very interesting, I don’t think I new that and I’m sure it reflects my being Dutch and that fact that I’m a non-native speaker of English. But what would be the proper term, English-speaking world? That seems too broad and too general. Finance-oriented world perhaps?

  4. Hi Floris,

    The Wikipedia article I quoted (and linked to) uses the expression ‘Anglophone countries’. I assume this is standard usage.

    I seem to remember that when I was an undergraduate in the UK there was a distinction drawn between ‘Anglo-American’ and ‘Continental philosophy’ (the former supposedly empirical, the latter rationalist and, ultimately, post-modern). But I wonder whether anyone outside England would maintain the ‘Anglo’ part of the former term.

    Maybe one should bite the bullet and just write ‘North American’?

  5. Dear Simon,
    To my Dutch ears Anglophone both sounds like Anglophile – we say ‘anglofiel’ but also ‘frankofoon’ for lovers of those cultures -, and sounds like people from British ex-colonies (we say for instance the ‘anglophone people of Cameroon’ to describe those who were uner British mandate).
    Interestingly enough, the qualification of continental philosophy as post-modern to me immediately indicates an Anglophone writer who equates everything non-logical empiricist as post-modern – not intended as criticism of course.
    Anyway, I’ll use Anglophone or North American from now on. Thanks!

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