The German elections of 24 September not only concluded an important electoral cycle, they also sent some unequivocal messages. The election of Emmanuel Macron to the French presidency in May led many to welcome, somewhat naively, the end of the threat of populism. Angela Merkel’s fairly hollow victory in Germany and the arrival of the extremist party Alternative for Germany (AfD) to the Bundestag en masse, offered a timely reality check. The economic crisis may be on the road to recovery (although not everywhere), but the social crisis that it has spawned is more relevant than ever. Discord, inequality, precariousness and youth unemployment are all elements of the unresolved legacy that began in 2008.

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