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Mostly i agree with the description of current Germany in this article.

Though i dont agree with the way, germany future is described here:
Of course, a new conservative government doesnt have a lot more choices to convince the people of further reforms.
But they will be in charge, and most people BELIEVE that the conservatives can do better. Now either this motivation plus the world championship in 2006 will help the county`s mood to rise again OR the people will be further disappointed by those established parties.

If the second possibility is going to happen, then radical parties on both the left and the right wing will gain further support - that support is naturally growing for as long as the economic situation isnt improving.
(There already is a left winged "alliance" and a right winged "national front" establishing)

So i dont believe that germans will just sit by and do nothing while the country is going to lose its wealth and strength. They will simply vote for alternatives, maybe a completely new system one day - and then all those calculations about our economical future will have to be rewritten completely.

-> That`s why there s no reason to be so depressive in my opinion :)

Unfortunately the destructive phenomena you describe are present in the USA as well. The Democratic Party is very eager to take America down this same path to mediocrity.

I'm not expecting overly much out of the upcoming German elections.

First off, let's face it, the German electorate is no longer sympathetic to what might be termed as "American" positions on economic and geopolitical issues. Sure, come Christmas, Schroeder and his SPD/Green buddies will probably be enjoying those fabulously high German unemployment benefits, but not because of their positions on Iraq, terrorism or the proper balance between taxation and entrepreneurialism. The only reason that Schroeder is going to get booted (if he doesn't find some vaguely or directly anti-American trick to get him elected once again) is that he has failed to address Germany's unemployment rate and growing sense of social breakdown.

A more reasoned CDU government would be welcome, but I don't expect that they will be able to turn Germany around, because the Germans don't currently want to be turned around. They want somebody to arrive who can make the current social welfare model work--something that I don't really see happening.

As for the welfare state itself, I think the central problem is the same one that afflicted communism. It's not so much that the theory behind communism or socialism is bad. Yes, the world would be a better place if everyone contributed according to their abilities and took according to their needs. But that theory is utterly disconnected from reality!

In reality, people need to be incentivized to pursue certain goals. What's the use of going to college and studying to be a doctor, if you won't really enjoy a higher standard of living than the cashier at the local market? What's the use of pouring your time and money into starting a business, if you lose a bunch of the benefits of making that business a success? If you pay people to underachieve, pretty soon you have a big class of underachievers. That's especially true if you punitively tax the overachievers to pay for the underachievers.

On top of this, you have the tendency of people in the governing and bureaucratic classes to want to accumulate more responisibility and power to themselves. It's a natural human tendency. So instead of having a communist/socialist society as Marx foresaw, which moves towards a stateless, non-governed utopia, you get a "workers state" that is increasingly grasping and controlling. The Soviet Union and Red China turned out to be far more oppressive than any capitalist society ever was. Compare the USSR to late 19th century "Gilded Age" America, which was probably the most socially Darwinian major economy you can ever find, and you will see that as bad as things got in America, the supposedly more enlightened USSR was far worse. Strikebreaking, tenement-building, monopolistic, corrupt and financially chaotic Gilded Age America managed to do without a gulag, secret police informants, political re-eduction and purges, and the people still had a high degree of control over their government, not the other way around as was the case in the USSR. While modern Germany isn't nearly as bad as the USSR, the bureaucratic mindset that the state knows best is firmly entrenched in German society.

Germany sounds like a pensioner on a fixed income. Achtung Deutschland! The global economy is not a zero-sum game. It's possible for all workers--note I said workers--to enrich themselves.

This is not a problem about taxation. It is a problem of spending. If spending is not brought under control, then Germany will face a bleak future.

Today because Germans chose in the early 80’s not to make the hard choices faced by such nations as the UK and the US, they have limited and more painful options going forward.

If the population chooses not to both recognize this and effectively deal with it, then Germans will have a very dismal life and the nation will collapse. They can elect any party but until such time corrective action is taken fundamentally nothing will save the Germans.

This can only be considered sad.


One aspect left out of this portrait is the toll unification has taken on Germany. How much 'envy' comes from the influx of East Germans? (Not a rhetorical question, I'm asking it sincerely.)

Niko, I read your post, thinking about the lack of accountability even in the private sector - and the Volkswagon scandal came to mind.

Then Enron. Then Worldcom. At least on this side of the pond it looks like we're finally at the point where these scum will actually go to jail for a LOOOOONG time.

Niko, I agree with your criticism of the 'elite' in Germany as there are more than enough disgusting examples. That notwithstanding, I don't think you and Ray are necessarily singing different tunes. RaTHer, I see it as different appearances of the same phenomena. Bottom line: If you punitively tax hard work, wealth building, innovation, and risk taking whilst subsidizing/rewarding unemployment, status quo, Arbeit nach Vorschrift, don't save behaviour... well, it doesn't take the brains of an Arch Bishop to figure out that you'll get less and less of the former, and more and more of the latter.

Bush recently tried to give a TINY portion of control over American Social Security back to citizens. Between the Democratic party's demagogues and a compliant liberal media, his efforts were painted as an attempt to destroy Social Security.

What are the odds that the German Left and their accomplices in German Media will not do the same thing to any who attempt to reconcile Germans to the need for serious changes to rectify the German economy?

My prediction: There will be no fix, the economic doldrums will continue, the German Left will regain government in a few years, having demonstrated that the 'Right' was ineffectual. The obstruction by the Left to any change will be obscured by acquiescent media dominated by the Left.

Germany is not a dynamic populace, seeking solutions. It's become what the USSR became, a dependent population. To these, the only acceptable solutions will be those that promise that the system can be supported as it is.

Every center of power in Germany will fight to the death to maintain its position. That is, labor, government, and bureaucracy, will strongly resist any change which diminishes their present position.

The radical right will grow in strength, out of power, because there is no place for them WITHIN the power structure in Germany. Any practical solutions they offer will gather support, generally, but, will fail to be implemented.

Joe says: "This is not a problem about taxation. It is a problem of spending. If spending is not brought under control, then Germany will face a bleak future." Well, actually, the two kind of go together, don't they? If you tax more, you can spend more. If you spend less, you can allow yourself to tax less. I think Ray has pointed out nicely that the crux of the problem is: Most Germans, if asked, would overwhelmingly support an initiative "to lower taxes and government spending." That is, until someone tries to touch THEIR pet entitlement programme. It's all right to save money, just do it somewhere else.... not with me.
Germans have forgotten why there are governments. They've come that far that they think the State has to do everything. In this respect, they are also not alone in Europe, but that's beside the point.

"Every center of power in Germany will fight to the death to maintain its position. That is, labor, government, and bureaucracy, will strongly resist any change which diminishes their present position."

Sadly this is so true - great point!
Its nothing new though: The same happened to the second Reich, the Weimar Republic and the third Reich. In each systems, either a war against half of the world (2nd and 3rd Reich) or an economical decline (Weimar republic) was experienced to the VERY VERY end.
Each kinds of governments resisted any changes to their system - and the only possibility to change something was a complete system change.

Right now it doesnt look very different.

But I also keep in mind that each bitter end led to the beginning of a new, fruitful era. The question always remains the same: What do you make out of it?
Thats why I believe we are simply stuck within the unpleasant ending of the current era right now. We dont know how long it will last - but it WILL end one day.

So for the long term future there s really no need to be depressed.

"Why do we point this out? Well, we don't want people to come to the false conclusion that a new government will suddenly change everything in Germany. The fundamental attitudes that dominate in German society simply won't permit it."

Good point! If a German says: "Das ist ein guuuter Geschäftsmann" it has a decidedly unfavourable, if not sneering, connotation.

Germans needs to be reminded that they CAN be self-sufficient... and reminded often. This is a terrible future predicted for a country that has produced some of the world's most famous engineers... one of the highest callings in modern civilization. But it's the future that will happen if they don't get their attitudes pulled back together.

@ Niko,

Thanks so much for your comment.

I am just curious: Don't you think a Neidkultur exists in Germany? Don't you sense a desire to punish success? Is this really only a phenomena of the elites?

And if the vast majority of Germans oppose reducing the social welfare state and the bureaucracy in place to administer it, how can Germany hope become an economic powerhouse again?

The article states some of the problems very concisely. Neidkultur and Sozialstaat will haunt us for some time to come.

Still I don´t think that the outlook is so bleak. The most important point is that it is not necessary to make a big cut, throw everything away and start a new system. This indeed wouldn´t work and there wouldn´t be a majority for this.
It´s not a question of everything or nothing, already some small changes can have very positive effects. For this we shouldn´t look at the USA, but rather at some of our European neighbours, like Austria.

I, too, don´t expect miracles from a new government. What I hope for is continuity and some kind of vision for the future.
Schröder actually made some promising steps: tax cuts, Riester Rente, HarzI-IV, but he never made clear where the journey should go. The resulting overall sense of insecurity has done much damage.


@Niko

Interesting comment. Some points:

Japan is not much better off than Germany, despite it´s asserted love for technology.

It occurs to me that patriotism in Germany often expresses itelf in a regional way. People aren´t proud to be German, but they are proud to be Bavarians, Berliners, etc.

Zyme, you wrote:

"[...]If the second possibility is going to happen, then radical parties on both the left and the right wing will gain further support - that support is naturally growing for as long as the economic situation isnt improving.
(There already is a left winged "alliance" and a right winged "national front" establishing)

So i dont believe that germans will just sit by and do nothing while the country is going to lose its wealth and strength. They will simply vote for alternatives, maybe a completely new system one day - and then all those calculations about our economical future will have to be rewritten completely.

-> That`s why there s no reason to be so depressive in my opinion :)"

I see the same possibility, but your optimistic closing on that has me dumbfounded. Are you saying there is no reason to be so depressive because in the end we can still vote Communists or Nazis to let them have a go at it??

I truly hope Germany does have the time it desires to make changes. Of course, while Germany is moving at their own measured pace, the rest of the world will be speeding along at a very much different pace.

To select Austria as role model is an interesting choice. It is a tenth the size of Germany. In fact the entire workforce of Austria is less by several million than those unemployed in Germany. Its GDP growth rate falls behind many other EU members but when compared to Germany’s probably looks dazzling. It already has a negative birthrate. Its public debt is only about 1% less than Germany’s at 64 vs 65%. Its largest export market is Germany at 31%. It has no military to speak of and finally does not want to be a member of the UNSC.

I would think there might be other better choices but then it seems Germans have difficulty in making choices.

Already the German share of the world market is declining. It population is declining. So as Germans waltz to their own music the world does the tango.

.

" This indeed wouldn´t work and there wouldn´t be a majority for this.
It´s not a question of everything or nothing, already some small changes can have very positive effects. For this we shouldn´t look at the USA, but rather at some of our European neighbours, like Austria." - fuchur

Agreed. Except for one difference though: I rather DO think will have to waste a good part of our current system - the time for subtleness is long gone imho. However, you are right that there of course would be no majority for it. So I also agree that we should look out for those smaller changes, but spinning this idea further, I have hope that when these smaller changes are actual changes in the right direction, and people will see that they work and bring some improvements, then I believe there is a chance that the willingness to introduce further and more meaningfull changes will grow - IF the responsible politicians manage to propagate the connection there and the success is not entirely played down by the opposition.

mamapajamas posts:

"Germans needs to be reminded that they CAN be self-sufficient... and reminded often...

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

mama,
I just returned to America after six years of living and working in Deutschland. My observation is that the Germans don't really need to be reminded, they know this already. Those who prefer to suckle off the government teat are ubiquitous worldwide, though perhaps over represented in the nations of "old Europe." ( I would say it's approaching 49% in the U.S.A. too)
The rest, the aggressive, the entrepeneurs, the self motivated . . . well, that is why so many Germans are being self-sufficient in Florida and Arizona. People can and will thrive anywhere the environment permits.
The German/ "old Europe" problem is they have just about stifled that environment with their latest disguise for socialism, the faddish "New Third Way!" or the boutique "different European way." (A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G but the American way, God forbid, right? fuchur even says so.)
Hell, even Tony Blair has stopped speaking that nonsense. But to mitigate the growing obviousness of their expanding economic stagnation ~ they attempt to shift the focus and blame onto . . . the Americans, this time.

The truest test of whether or not Germany or the German psyche has really changed will be if they can get through this economic downturn without reverting to the scapegoating and continental slaughter of recent history. (I am a bit worried on this point.)

One of the most interesting things for me to watch has been the large percentage of the German people (interetingly, approx the same who are against the liberation of Iraq) who are fairly rapidly trading away their freedom for a little security, all the while lecturing me over a pils on how the U.S.A.s 3+ % average GDP growth was/is proof of a "failed old fashioned model!"
It was like sitting with the owners on the deck of the Titanic and being lectured to that oceanliners aren't all that great! And, "hey, water is better for you anyhow!" (and since we are going there ~ you should too!)
"It is not just about numbers!" they would say! It is also about quality of life!" To which
I would always agree but point out, "great food and wine, or delicious beer and cheese are certainly a joy, a wonderful pleasure and a big part in my life, but they unfortunately, don't get you a chair at the big table." Or, as chirac just learned, it doesn't get you an Olympics.

Hey, bottomline, perhaps I am a simple, black and white thinking, parochial, Yank with a propensity to forgive and forget. So bygones! I ran out of time and energy trying to explain facts to counter emotional beliefs. Always a losing proposition! Try to logically convince Tom Cruise scientology is just astrology for a fee! You try to talk anyone out of their God. And it got fatiguing listening to them tell me how I "couldn't" understand ~ being an American and all... when we simply disagreed.

Like I keep telling all my entrepenurial German friends (that haven't done it already) . . . Come on over!
Turn left at Greenland and glide on in. Sure it's a little faster and a little hotter here, but there are fresh sheets on the bed.
Oh, and I'll leave a light on!"

Tyranno

Zyme: "Each kinds of governments resisted any changes to their system - and the only possibility to change something was a complete system change."

Second Reich - authoritarian, parliamentary democracy, proportional representation.
Weimar Republik - radical proportional representation in parliamentary democracy
Third Reich - populist, plebisitory, totalitarian socialist, nationalist
Bundesrepublik - modified proportional representation in a party parliamentary democracy

Hmmmm, maybe Germany should switch to a first past the post, District-based, Anglo-Saxon style, representative democratic republic - like US, Canada, UK, Australia.

Party dominated, proportional representative democracies go off the rails too easily.

"I see the same possibility, but your optimistic closing on that has me dumbfounded. Are you saying there is no reason to be so depressive because in the end we can still vote Communists or Nazis to let them have a go at it??"

Let me put it like this:
The situation we have right now can`t go on forever - nothing is moving essentially into any direction.

In such a constellation, i think a prussian saying fits well - "Wrong decisions are better than no decision"
So i would love to see some REAL movement, which (in germany) typically includes a complete system change.

Niko
>>Most likely he'll be just fine with another A or B, because he won't see either one as a threat. But in Germany you have many, many B's in control. How will the B decide? No, he won't chose an A, because then he might come under pressure from that one's superior skills.

Niko, that dynamic is not unique to Germany. Hell, it's not unique even to the workplace! It's weel known that a bride-to-be will not choose prettier girlfriends to be her bridesmaids.

Alex N.
>>I have hope that when these smaller changes are actual changes in the right direction, and people will see that they work and bring some improvements, then I believe there is a chance that the willingness to introduce further and more meaningfull changes will grow

Even assuming there was support within the German population for such changes, how much leeway does Germany have, given the requirements of the economic ties/treaties with the EU?

(forgot to put my name under my last posting)

"Hmmmm, maybe Germany should switch to a first past the post, District-based, Anglo-Saxon style, representative democratic republic - like US, Canada, UK, Australia."

I would rather say we would need a strong president - who is voted by the people directly and does not have to worry about those established parties.
Something we call Ersatzkaiser here would be just fine, since he could do those nessessary reforms and after a while, people would be glad that finally someone has taken responsibility.

The problem now is that each governing party can point at those that where in charge before and say "its all their fault!"
But when you got one person that can adress each issues, people dont have to worry about voting party X or Y anymore. They know there s someone who only cares about the success of this country and when he failes he will be voted out of his position after lets say 5 years.

A powerful president that isnt responsible to our corrupt parties would thereby be a great step into future here.


Also we need to get rid of the federalistic system. The occupying foes after the last war installed it to enchain our politics - which works perfectly.

Whenever some federal government in Berlin starts to do unpopular reforms, people start to vote the opposing parties at those elections within the german countries -> the Bundesrat (a commity of the governments of the individual german countries)opposes to federal laws and nothing can go on.
This leads to nowhere until the opposing parties win the next federal elections, and after they start unpopular reforms the people vote the former governing parties and AGAIN the Bundesrat is blocking federal laws.

Since we have 16 german countries, there are elections pretty much all the time, so that every federal government is scared to lose elections almost constantly. This way, many of our federal governments avoided unpopular reforms for good reason -> this has system has to be removed.


Finally, we need a new constitution - the current one was never meant to stay in place for more than a decade.
But the problem is, our current established parties are based upon the current system - they will fight to death against any essential system changes.
Also, there is a secret service (Verfassungsschutz, which means something like "protection of the constitution") within EVERY INDIVIDUAL german country -> there are 16 of these services, all operating independantly.

So as soon as you want to change something essential, you will be put under observation in no time. And who is going to risk his personal future/career under such conditions?

Dear Mr. No-Name,

who do you think you are kidding. If you don't like it here, change the channel. Personal Freedom comes with Personal Responsiblity and I suggest that you refrain from such attacks. If you are a violent person, get yourself help. Your threats have no place here or anywhere else.

As often suggested in successful blogs, start your own and find those who agree with you.

You impress no one.

LOL "Kill yourself and fuck off"

That's comedy gold.

@ Tyranno:

You need a healthy dose of Erik Svane's Americans Anonymous.

@ anonymous:

I'm not going anywhere my friend. Comments like yours just motivate me.

BTW, for our computer experts, anonymous' IP address is 84.176.121.16

Zyme
>>Also, there is a secret service (Verfassungsschutz, which means something like "protection of the constitution") within EVERY INDIVIDUAL german country -> there are 16 of these services, all operating independantly.
So as soon as you want to change something essential, you will be put under observation in no time. And who is going to risk his personal future/career under such conditions?

Zyme, this is very disconcerting to read. In my head there are shades of STASI. Is this what you intend?

No Pamela, Zyme is describing the situation as he thinks it IS. But he is dearly mistaken here - the "Verfassungsschutz" - "protection of the constitution" is NO secret service lol. Secret Service would be an executive force which protects a certain party or person. The Verfassungsschutz however protects the constitution and is no threat to anyone who acts in accordance to that.

Zyme, from reading your responses, I still have a very arkward feeling about what you say. You say federalism is bad (and was introduced as an evil means by the occupieing forces to sabotage Germany??) and what we need is some kind of semi-Kaiser. A strong man. And that the Verfassungsschutz is a bad thing, because you would like to see the constitution change?? Tell you what, our constitution is NOT the problem here. We have an economic connected with a society problem. The only way to improve the situation can be from the people. What you describe - that no one can achieve change because he'll be eaten up by populistic opponents - is only a problem as long as the people are too much divided in their understanding about how things work, thus allowing populism to work. Or, in other words, as long as there are too many people expecting and demanding that the state ought to take care of their asses.

We live in a democracy, thank God, and in the long run this means the only way for change is for people to understand. What you are proposing here is basicly that our democracy is the problem (we need a semi-Kaiser, we need centralization, we need a change of the Verfassung to allow for those certain radical changes, and you say the Verfassungschutz is a "secret service" - yes, it is some kind of secret service, but against radical and constitution-questioning forces and parties like the NPD) and I do not agree with that notion. Actually, I'm not surprised that you don't like the Verfassungsschutz and call it secret service...

I would also like to remind you on Artikel 20(4) GG.

One thing I agree with you on the federal system is that the timing of the elections could be changed. I see no reason why they cannot be all at once or in short order, other than spreaded over a Bundesregierungs term.

There is a 3rd and more troubling reason why "Germany Is Doomed" ("..To Mediocrity" intentionally omitted). In the July issue of Cicero there is an article beginning on page 104 titled

Deutschlands zweites Versailles

The synopsis:

"Deutschland hat sich mit Pensionszusagen für Beamte in eine finanziell aussichtslose Lage gebracht. Das Ausmaß der impliziten Verschuldung erinnert an die Höhe der von den Siegermächten geforderten Reparationszahlungen nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg."

The looming pensions of elected officials and civil servants ("Beamten") are a time bomb which threaten the very existence of Germany. The welfare state is not limited to the non-elite; in fact, it is the elite who are the major source of Germany's economic woes.

@ Niko:

"But leaving those figures aside, Japan minds the international patent system, and they do have knowledge and patents in all future key technologies, i.e. advanced robotics (no, not those found in dumb assembly lines at Daimler-Chrysler), nano- and bio-technology, genomics, optoelectronics, artificial intelligence, and so on"

What a ridiculous, contempt-filled, substance devoid argument. I guess German machining tech, software tech, nano-tech (yes, they do know a thing or two about this), materials engineering, aircraft industry (Airbus), AI (also, research in this area is also being carried out here), a leader in robotics (i guess you are talking about advanced robtoics such as those used in the robot that can walk, rather than those much more useful and robust than those found at the "dumb" Daimler plan), in which German team won the competition at TU Darmstadt, beating American and Japanese teams, installation of the Maglev line in China, optics , medical equipment, and more, doesn't count in your books. Nor the fact that Germany, a nation of 80 or so million, exports more to the World than Japan, China, and the mighty US. Perhaps you have another notion of success or being ready for the marketplace. Or perhaps you were just pulling unsubstantiated generalizations out of your nether regions.

If I may repeat my old song and dance (you won´t actually be able to see the dancing, though) on this subject :

I think Germany could very well have kept up the welfare-state situation etc if the Left since 1968 ( that year of course is not accurate , but as a key phrase it is very well ) had not been out to disrupt, destruct and destroy the West German capitalist society in striving for a Communist state. They have not succeeded in „Systemveränderung“ , but they DID succeed in damaging the German economy greatly, more than similar efforts by their brethern in other Western countries. It all started with nuclear power , and went on and on, through every new technology, and constantly thowing sand in the gears of conventional economic strengths.
They were the ones propagating not having children (for they would all die in nuclear war), disobediance and revolt just for the sake of it, destroying traditional work and conduct values.
They were the ones preventing a more restrictive immigration policy and propagating the multi-kulti nonsense

@ Ray D

"Numerous German superstars and athletes like Boris Becker have fled their home country because of high taxes and the media's tendency to target anyone successful."

Yes, we all know that in the UK or the US or any other country for that matter, the media does not go after celebrities or athletes.

"Nothing, not even George W. Bush or an act of terror, is guaranteed to get more angry, outraged Germans on the street than a proposal to cut their government handouts. "

What does this have to do with your so called "Neidkultur." As you yourself state, this has to do with belief in social programs and assistance. What does wanting more health benefits or practically free University education have to do with Neidkultur. Make up your goddamn mind.

"f the trend continues, it is unlikely that Germany will remain at the top economically in an ever-changing global world."

People have been saying this about Social systems for years now. While the German economy is not doing well now, this does not mean this model does not work. Look at Sweden, for instance.

"For a short time during the Wirtschaftswunder when West Germany prospered under the protective wing of the United States, the 'social' system actually seemed supportable."

Bull. What did the "protective wing" of the US do to power German economic success? I think that the problems can clearly be traced back to the trillions of Euros it has cost the West to integrate the East and bring its entire infrastructure to the level of the West. The unemployment problem of the East has never really disappeared.

"...will also need to spend far more on military capabilities in order to be taken seriously and treated as a true equal by the United States."

If this is the view that is commonly shared by American conservatives, then I really am glad that Europe is NOT on the same page as people like you. Why on Earth should Europe need to spend more on military to be taken seriously by the US. I guess the US only understands ( and uses) the language of force, which explains a lot about its many past actions. Are you implying the US does not give due consideration to a nation unless its populace has decided to go down the path of massive, wasteful military spending? Are you to now decide where a nation spends its tax revenues? This reminds me of a TIME magazine with, on the cover, a picture of the globe with Canada missing. The Headline stated "Would anybody notice if Canada disappeared?" When I read the article, all it basically stated was that Canada is insignificant because its military is insignificant. What is this obsession with Military spending, even wishing that other nations would do it. I guess everything else about Canada, its quick growing economy, etc, dont mean shit since its citizens chose to go with Social Healthcare and not spend money on military. Well, if thats the case, I guess Germans (and Canadians) should not even try to be taken seriously. Don't make this seems like its a German problem. This is an American problem.

@tyranno

"A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G but the American way, God forbid, right? fuchur even says so"

What I say is: Germany is not America. And it won´t be anytime soon. There are huge differences in the workforce, the social structure, concerning resources and whatnot.
Now, the reaction to this simple truth can be to bang one´s head against the wall or emigrate to the US.
On the other hand, there are numerous countries in Europe that are not the US, but are still doing considerably better than Germany right now. It would be very wise to learn from them.


@Alex N

I agree very much with you. Of course we mustn´t stop at a few small reforms. But is might be enough to make people aware of the chances of capitalism again, instead of just being afraid. And I hope that then we´re ready for the big step.

Btw, I also have to say that all this talk about the need for a "strong man" (or a Roman dictator, a Pinochet...) that you even hear from reasonable persons makes me a bit uneasy...

Gavin, stop riding my back while kicking me in the ass. Fuck you. Find your own feet. You pretend to hold the moral high ground while taking no stake in it. You are proud to hold no principles, no values, no morals, no rights, no beliefs, no nothing.

You believe in nothing and would fight for nothing. Americans have shed blood for your right to vote. Why in the hell should we continue to protect your rights when you yourselves do not believe your own defence is worth your own dying for?

I ain't your fool, fool. My grandfather, aunts and uncles were, but I AM NOT. FUCK YOU FOREVER. Good fucking luck defending your nothing with your nothing, shithead.

Hello Ray D.,

very interesting article and I can just underline that you are so right. What can we germans in good old europe do? Please help us and let us hide under the protective wing of the US again. We are so tiny. What doesn't fit in this picture is that german exports, the highest in the world, rose by 5.4 percent from 05.2004 to 05.2005 to a high of EUR 63.6 billion. Maybe you missed the press release of the Federal Statistical Office (7/9/2005): http://www.destatis.de/presse/englisch/pm2005/p2890181.htm

Happy Weekend everybody,
JoeII.


ps: posting someones IP is like posting the telephone number. and very nice of you to exclude me from commenting. but it doesnt work...

@Gavin:

"People have been saying this about Social systems for years now. While the German economy is not doing well now, this does not mean this model does not work. Look at Sweden, for instance."

Have you looked recently at Sweden's "working model"? The devil is in the detail.

"I guess everything else about Canada, its quick growing economy, etc, dont mean shit since its citizens chose to go with Social Healthcare and not spend money on military."

Another "working model"? Why then are Canadians finding it necessary to pay out-of-pocket for medical care in the US?

@ Tom Penn:

Is the grunt ticked off? Your excellent response couldn't make me happier, because it just proves what I said, which is that when ANY nation chooses not to invest in military, it or someone who believes this to be good (me) has no principles, no beliefs, no morals, no nothing. If principles like yours produce great thinkers like you, then again, more power to Europe and Canada. It just confirms we made the right choice, and that American principles, morals, beliefs, are something to stay away from.

"But he is dearly mistaken here - the "Verfassungsschutz" - "protection of the constitution" is NO secret service lol."

Thats why the Verfassungsschutz has the capability of listening to your phone calls, list you in a Verfassungsschutz-report - and therefor brand you as an "enemy" to the republic. Additionally, if you start up a party that SOUNDS like you would want the constitution to be changed -> they send undercover agents to infiltrate you party completely.
Also they have the right to open your letters and read all your emails and so on and so on..

Pamela, i ll give you a recent example of this:
The NPD - considered to be a fascist and anti-democratic party - has lots of these undercover agents within its members.
Last year, the NPD was charged with their unconstitutional goals at the Bundesverfassungsgericht (highest german court) to become forbidden.
In the end, the Bundesverfassungsgericht did not forbid the NPD. The important point here is WHY they did not. Clearly, the NPD opposes our current constitution. So the reason WHY they were NOT forbidden simply was that there were SO MANY undercover agents of the Verfassungsschutz WITHIN the NPD that nobody could tell anymore which actions were done by real enemies to the constitution and which actions were done by simple undercover agents !!

And now for gods sake, stop telling the Verfassungsschutz is no secret service - they explain all their rights even at their own homepage: www.verfassungsschutz.de/de/FAQ/

What really matters about such a powerful organisation (or rather say organisationS) is, who controls it?
Each Verfassungsschutz is controlled by the ministry of inner affairs within EACH german country - plus there is a FEDERAL verfassungsschutz controlled by the federal ministry of inner affairs.
Now who is in charge within those ministries? The governing (-> established) parties of course!

They decide who might be against the constitution and who might not.

Of course Alex N. is right when saying "The Verfassungsschutz however protects the constitution and is no threat to anyone who acts in accordance to that."

But Pamela ask yourself: Was the STASI a threat to anyone, who acted according to their doctrine..?

@ Toby:

"Another "working model"? Why then are Canadians finding it necessary to pay out-of-pocket for medical care in the US? "

Another pathetic and oft-repeated argument. The average Canadian has no reason to leave Canada. The people who go to the US are those who go for last ditch treatments, such as specialised cancer care and AIDS treatment. Do you really think millions of Canadians cross the border to get care? Are you really this stupid? And besides, what does this have to do with the fact that Canada wants no big military, and the US cannot dictate the spending of tax revenues of other countries, no matter how loud it wails.

(i forgot to put my name under the posting about the verfassungsschutz)

@ Alex N. :
"would also like to remind you on Artikel 20(4) GG."

Alex.. this one is considered a great joke among law science in germany.
I ll explain it to you:

(4) Gegen jeden, der es unternimmt, diese Ordnung zu beseitigen, haben alle Deutschen das Recht zum Widerstand, wenn andere Abhilfe nicht möglich ist.

Solange das Grundgesetz seine Geltung hat, liegt das Gewaltmonopol beim Staat - der einzelne darf also nicht selbst "Widerstand" leisten, solange andere Abhilfe möglich ist.

Versuchen nun Personen/Gruppierungen, diese Ordnung zu beseitigen, ist naturgemäß solange andere Abhilfe (Polizei etc) möglich, solange die Ordnung noch besteht.

Wenn die bestehende Ordnung aber beseitigt ist - dann wäre ja zunächst keine andere Abhilfe mehr möglich. Einzig ist dann auch das Grundgesetz nicht mehr gültig - und Art. 20 IV ist ausser Kraft!

Das nenne ich mal "lol" !

For those of you who want to believe the fairy tales spun by people like Gavin about how wonderful Sweden’s social model works I suggest you read the below link.

Taxes in Sweden exceed more than 50%. Private consumption ranks Sweden 19th out of the 30 OECD countries.

Swedish growth has been declining for 50 years. Currently, Swedish growth is well below that of the countries of Eastern and Central Europe, but also lower than that of, for example, Britain, France, Spain and Denmark.

Only one of Sweden's 50 largest companies today was founded after 1970.

Of the Swedish population of working age (5.8 million), 2.2 million belong to the category "not at work," of which 1.4 million live off government handouts. In 2004, this amounted to 39% of the population of "working age" -- that is, almost four out of 10 people of working age don't go to work.

The real Swedish unemployment is closer to 20%-25%.

This is almost as good as selecting Austria as a model.

Again I ask why do Germans have such difficulty with making choices?

Link:

http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111697031686842186,00.html

@Gavin:

"The average Canadian has no reason to leave Canada. The people who go to the US are those who go for last ditch treatments, such as specialised cancer care and AIDS treatment."

...and routine treatment (eg. hip replacement surgery) for which there is a 3 year waiting line. Any reason the specialized treatment is not available in Canada? Could it have anything to do with the bureaucracy and cost associated with socialized medicine?

"Do you really think millions of Canadians cross the border to get care? Are you really this stupid?"

Now, now Gavin. Try to regain your composure. First of all, I never said anything about millions. Second of all, if the medical care is so hunky-dory in Canada, why would a single Canadian seek medical care in the US - for routine treatment?

Here is a reality check for those of you, and I realize a majority of Germans do, believe your social model is not failing.

The welfare state and it associate concept of social justice worked well in Europe for over two decades. The reason it worked so well is so few people actually needed it. Economic growth was strong, employment was high and the actually benefits paid were low.

This all changed in the early 70’s. Since then GDP has been decreasing and unemployment has been increasing in Europe.

As spending goes up by the various national governments, higher taxes must be collected to pay for those benefits. Those taxes, usually payroll taxes, must be collected from a shrinking number of workers as jobs are cut. This in turn increases the cost of labor and decreases the benefit of working rather than collecting unemployment. This can lead to a continuous spiral of tax increases to support government spending drawing from a smaller and smaller work force. As more jobs are lost, the tax base shrinks, and taxes in some form must go up even further to pay for more welfare benefits. This makes work even less attractive and not working more attractive.

What we are seeing in Germany and in much of Europe is permanent higher unemployment and higher taxes. At some point this will result in a noticeable decrease in the standard of living.

What the future holds for you if significant changes are not made will be not only a declining birthrate, a declining share of the world economy, but a declining standard of living.

This will become a vicious cycle and it will spare no German. Those individuals who will break out of this cycle will be forced to do by leaving Germany. This will only add to and hasten the decline.

So if this is the future you want, then make only small changes, follow the example of Sweden or Austria or france but then be prepared to reap what you have sown.


I am not familiar with the intracacies of each European country's economy. But because my job requires some knowledge of the Common Agricultural Policy, I've had to find statistical sources. One good one is Eurostat.
http://epp.eurostat.cec.eu.int/portal/page?_pageid=1090,30070682,1090_33076576&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

Another is Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development

http://www.oecd.org/home/

And a blogger who tracks this stuff and comes up with interesting profiles

http://eurota.blogspot.com/

Flame away. Hope I gave you all good ammo!

Es sei doch grotesk, wenn man die Penner von gestern den Aufbruch von morgen gestalten lassen wolle, sagte unser Kanzler Schröder mit Blick auf CDU und FDP.

Penner??? Ich schäme mich, einen solchen Kanzler zu haben.

@ zyme, gavin and some others.

The future of Germany looks bright?
Well, look at some trend lines that are very disturbing. Since the "Wirtschaftswunder" that unfortunately didn't come with instructions, negative trends started to emerge. Due to the "La dolce vita" attitude Germans became too lazy to breed. This is a very dangerous exercise that happened and it is now rearing it's ugly head. The Government realized this many years ago and instituted Kindergeld. It didn't work. The German population still declined and has led to a potential demise of the "Rentensystem", Arbeitslosenvericherung, Krankeversicherung, etc. If the Government continues to pay as promised, it will go bankrupt.
The result will be higher taxation than you currently have to pay for the deficits, more auswanderung for the best people in industry and research, complicating matters even more.
Today's trendlines are as follows: Last year 39 billion were withdrawn from the German economy by Investors citing high costs and inflexibility.
Firms, depending on exports see a narrowing of options in a marketplace that is already overpriced against foreign competitors.
Some of the things that are done keeping them alive for now are: Stabilization of currency reserves for 2-3 years, outsourcing more and more components to 3rd countries producing better and cheaper.Just look at BMW, you have to understand how many parts are already produced in other countries, bypassing the German labor market. How many factories are already located outside of Germany? Just one example.
The decline of manufacturing doesn't all of a sudden happen overnight, rather it will be gradual. Labor contracts will have to be honored, subsidies will have to be negotiated, etc.
There will never be a 100% unemployment in any country. However, there will never again be 100% employment in Germany again.
The future looks indeed bleak, unless there is a complete overhaul of the system in Germany. Itcan't continue like it is.
I presently see no "Saviour" on either side of the political spectrum. I guess the old saying still holds true. A strong Leader will only emerge in the most desperate times. In the good days you only get people who will do and say anything to get elected in order to gain personal power and wealth.

@ Nico

You give no stats to suuport your claims. How would you support your claim that the leader in machining tech is Korea?

(I guess that fact that its not would kinda make it hard to prove it)

Here is a link,

http://www.manufacturingtalk.com/news/mlw/mlw100.html

proving Germany is the largest machine tool producer, and the second largest consumer. South Korea, Im afraid, isn't the second largest exporter either. My, aren't we losing credibility fast?

The leader in robotics is Japan. Again, how would you support your claim that the leader in robotics is Japan. Was it the term "dark factory?"

Japan is the leader in robtics?

(Its not. I'll tell you why. You know the term robot. It comes from Czech. Hence, Czechs are leaders in robot technology)

"Installation of Magleve line. Installation = Leadership."

Well, it is the fastest line and longest line in the world. Only two countries produce Maglec tech, one of which is not the USA. Japan and Germany competed for China, and China chose the Germans to build the line, so they seem to have thought the Germans have leadership. But you know better.

"Back in reality, I'm sure the brightest of those competitors at TU Darmstadt already applied for a VISA in the US, Japan, China, India, ..."

Again, petty talk with no substance. You're making this too easy. The fact remains, they won.

"optics , medical equipment, and more, doesn't count in your books."

No, because Germany got no edge in any of those fields. Not anymore, that is."

Siemens is one of the largest producers of medical equipment in the world. It employs approximately 31,000 people worldwide and operating in more than 120 countries, it reported sales of €7.4 billion ($9 billion), orders of €7.8 billion ($9.4 billion), and group profit of €1.1 billion ($1.3 billion) for FY 2003. I guess you have support to back up your claims that Germany does NOT have an edge in medical equipment anymore.

By the way, on another note, SAP is the third largest software firm in the World.

"Alright, so the fact that the US hosts more Nobel Prize laureates than all the other countries combined means less than German exports? Plus, what exactly does that figure mean? What exactly does Germany export?"

Well, the World Market doesn't seem to give a shit how many Nobel Prize winners live in the US, it seems to prefer buying German goods over Japanese, Chinese, or American. As for what exactly they produce, what do you want, a list or something? Go look it up yourself. Jeez. But I guess the fact that you really don't like Germany is more important than the fact that Germany is the worlds number one exporter. What does the WTA know anyways?

"Just look at BMW, you have to understand how many parts are already produced in other countries, bypassing the German labor market. How many factories are already located outside of Germany? Just one example."

You have to note that this is no indicator for a decline. Our sole raw material as we like to say is: Brains.
We got no oil, raw gas, gold or diamonds beneath the surface, we only got education.
Outsorcing factories that produce stuff other countries know how to do is the right way, since such things can be produced in foreign coutries a lot cheaper.

What remains here in germany is research and development of things that will be produced in foreign countries some years after they have been developed here.
So the fact that much has been outsorced is simply an indicator to the point that our country is giving away more and more of the industrial sector in favor to the develompment sector.

So dont be surprised when no international investor is interested in producing clothing or other low tech stuff here. It is companies that are in computer chip production, laser technology, aircraft manufacturing / space development, car development, weapons technology or biochemical research (to name the most typical ones) that are heading for germany for simple reasons:

They get a lot of support from german universities, they do NOT have to pay high taxes in most cases, they sit within the biggest high tech market (europe -> 450 million ppl) and within the biggest country of europe.

The only real problem now is what to do with those citizens that were educated for jobs to be outsorced now.

"I presently see no "Saviour" on either side of the political spectrum. I guess the old saying still holds true. A strong Leader will only emerge in the most desperate times. In the good days you only get people who will do and say anything to get elected in order to gain personal power and wealth."

Well if we decline towards such a desperate time, all those calculations for our future will have to be rewritten anyway - since a strong leader typically includes a system change in germany. (like i explained in my first and second post)

If things really go totally down the wrong way and our economy won`t improve for years, i would like to point out my personal impression of our people:

Everything is fine for as long as our living standart is among the highest in europe.
But the majority of the germans would never accept the fact that countries like those in eastern europe (czechian republic or poland for example) might actually "overtake" us as regards the standart of living - they would rather take aggressive measures against those countries than watching this happen.

Last Posting was mine

i really got to figure out why remembering personal info doesnt seem to work for me :)

High Education? Have you looked at the Pisa study? German education has been slippin and continues to do so.
Low taxation? Germany has one of the highest production costs including taxes.
Space research? Eads is not Germany and they couldn't do anything without the American high-tech contribution.
Highest living standard in Europe, think again. While it is still relatively good, it is shrinking.
I was European Director for my company for 16 Years, lived in Germany. I do know how to look at trend lines.
Even though I am retired now, I still visit Germany 4 times per year. Still have family. I am pissed at the state of affairs in the once proud and productive country.
Sorry, I am a realist. I wish it would be different, However, all the things I had warned about 20-30 years ago are now coming to fruition. I wish you all the best and I hope I am wrong. So far I have been right on track, having some inside knowledge.

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