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Spiegel does not have the resources to translate every major article into English. Were we to comply with your request, it would be impossible to accomodate informative and responsible SPON features like "A George W. Bush Mad Lib" (scroll down).


That is the lamest excuse I have ever heard. this was not just any major article, it was a huge 4 page headliner. and it was not simply about bashing the POTUS. it claimed to be a realistic insight into the american way of life. the way Germans like to see it - to delude themselves about the pathetic state of their own rotten welfare system. that is why SPON does not publish it in English: the international audience might reject it as a distortion of reality, because unlike the german readers, they may have the true picture.

Well - Speigel has a point. Kannapolis almost reached Germany levels of unemployment and remained there for at least two months before plunging. Most lamentable.

And note that while Kannapolis is now below the US average unemployment it has not recovered to former levels of 2% unemployment!

I think Speigel's point may be 'look how the stupid Yankee clods go right back to work. Can't be done in Deuschland - Germans are too smart to fall for that'.

We at Spiegel would like to reassure you that the Kannapolis article's passing resemblance to Upton Sinclair's The Jungle is purely coincidental.

Some might point out that Lewis's book also begins its narrative with a workingman's wedding. They may argue that we and Lewis both present caricatures of the labor market and working conditions. Yes, it's possible one could observe that we and Lewis both employ bawdy descriptions of African-Americans for shock effect. And, of course, there is the common message that a socialized welfare state holds the solution to America's woes.

But, my dear weblog gadflies, before you draw conclusions hear me out! Mr. Lewis's jeremiad is a work of fiction whereas our piece is a factual report. Unlike Lewis, we would never overlook something that would not fit into our ideological framework, nor would we try to mold perceptions by supporting our analysis with extreme anecdotes.

Geez, weren't Germans ever taught that if you can't share your comment in class, maybe it shouldn't be said?


"we would never overlook something that would not fit into our ideological framework"

Really ? Then how about mentioning that graph above, depicting the steep drop in unemployment rates in Carrabus County, NC, since 2003. I do not remember having read that in SpOn. In fact, it was one of the "gadflies" around here, that supplied that interesting bit of information. Because it shows the main difference between Kannapolis and Brandenburg: When things go down the drain there, people love to complain, lament and appeal to the government for help. In Carrabus County they actually did something to better their fate. THAT is America for you. Fancy mentioning that in an update of your article or too much reality for you and Spiegels German readers to handle ?

Thanks Ray and David for the link to my modest blog, which will remain modest -- though I may occasionally post similar items if I get real passionate about a story and find the time.

A visitor to the site asked if I would make the data used to generate the graph available. It's really not a whole lot, since I only used the monthly numbers for Germany, the U.S. and Cabarrus County, but it can now be downloaded in tab-delimited form from www.beimami.com.


@Ray: "Is there one set of news for the German-speaking audience and another set of news for the English-speaking audience?"

Why would Der Spiegel be expected to bridge the language gap more symmetric than the government does?

Just have a look at the press releases on the website of the German foreign office: German - English

There are documents that are only in German, and there are documents that are only in English. There even is a remark on the English page that some documents are only available in German, but there is no such statement on the German page that some other documents are only available in English. E.g. a German-only reader would entirely miss the article on Iran policy that the European foreign ministers published in the Wall Street Journal late September.

A lack of resources in the translation department? I doubt so.


Good catch. That is really incredible. I note that if one scrolls down a little more it gets even worse -- SPIEGEL channels Al Gore.

Dear Toby,

Thank you for sharing your concerns. Our primary (German) reader base does not pay us to paint a rosy picture of America or to denigrate our own (vastly superior) economic model.

As for that graph, the proletarians of Kannapolis remain alienated from the means of production, so it matters little that they are now "employed".

I am never sure what to make of articles like this. In most cases, if they are from either Germany or france they almost always have some negative spin to them. Why this is the case I am not really sure.

In most “news” or human-interest articles written in the US about either of these two nations, a very balance view is presented based on facts.

It is equally difficult to understand why there is so much interest about the US. I would think and there probably are many more articles about European nations. Articles about the US probably should be the rare exception. Equally there should even be more articles about Russia than the US.

My only two conclusions as to why this is so are Germany wants to compare itself to the best and secondly it is in some way to stroke the egos of the average German.

The article cited in this post I think is more of an example in the defense of the need for a strong social welfare state more than anything else. In the case of Germany this is probably true. The factors that make this true are many. There is surely a culture difference between the people, the role of government, the perceived role of government, etc.

Because of the differences what works in the US will not work in either france or Germany. How Germany and france, assuming they really want too, go about turning their current economic situation around should be interesting.

The fears of an Anglo American economic model being tossed about in Germany and france should be taken about as seriously as a hostile take over bid for VW. Neither will happen. In the case of the economic model, it will not work because over the years the ideal of the individual has been replaced by the twin ideas of collectivism and the state.

Whatever path chosen in Berlin and paris it surely will not be one that resembles anything from Washington or London.


got it.

The attached article shows the dynamism of the AngloAmerican model:


So Kannapolis will be trading textile mill jobs for people without high school education for better paying jobs in biotech, done by the private sector (with public support). All by the initiative of an American billionaire, David Murdock. Or would a better model be to simply let all the unemployed in Kannapolis stay on welfare for a couple of years???

Mark in Charlotte NC (about 50 km from Kannapolis)

p.s. I wonder why Speigel Online failed to mention the plans for the Biotech Hub? HMMM???

You guys can't get anything right. Here is the English version; read it and then explain how Osang is violently anti-American (he is not).


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