We have recently added a new valuable study to our bookshelf: Holding the Shop Together (Cornell University Press, 2013) is a study on German industrial relations in the postwar era by Stephen Silvia, associate professor at American University and a former fellow here at the institute.
Silvia’s book explores the evolution of the particular way of managing industrial relations in Germany and stresses how important they are for understanding how the country’s largely consensus driven economy works. Silvia finds that, despite the notable decline of unions and employers’ associations in past decades, the framework for industrial relations has remained largely intact. Deep historical roots that even predate the Second World War help to explain the strength, but sometimes also some of the rigidities and thus vulnerability of the German model. To find out if Germany’s way of managing industrial relations are distinctly unique to that country or whether it could even become the blueprint for how other developed economies manage the relations between their employers and employees you need to read this book. It is a remarkable effort and will provide an illuminating explanation of why Germany has succeeded to ‘hold the shop together’ thus far.
Dr. Stephen Silvia is a Professor of International Economics at the American University School of International Service.