In This Review

The German Economy: Beyond the Social Market
The German Economy: Beyond the Social Market
By Horst Siebert
Princeton University Press, 2005, 416 pp.

Siebert, a distinguished German economist who was for 12 years a member of Germany's five-member Council of Economic Advisers, reviews the current condition and future prospects of the German economy. His excellent overview of the world's third-largest economy is evenhanded in analysis, but its tone is not optimistic: Germany, in his estimation, is overregulated, overtaxed, lacking in fiscal discipline, and ill prepared to face the aging of and the decline in growth of its labor force in the coming decades. Recent reforms, he argues, have been inadequate. The book is full of informative detail on many topics, including Germany's social welfare system, the challenges of unification, and the loopholes in Germany's "eco-taxes," enacted in the name of reducing greenhouse gas emissions but in fact serving mainly to increase state revenues at the expense of users of petroleum fuels and electricity, however generated.