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Forum Post: What’s going on in Germany?

Posted 11 years ago on Aug. 16, 2012, 2:23 p.m. EST by WatTyler (263)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

I’m always amused when reactionaries paint a picture of the choices for America’s economic future as being between an Ayn Rand inspired neo-fascist state and 1930’s style Stalinist communism. How ignorant, how embarrassing the level of public discourse is in our country! (Of course, this is no accident.)

I could have just as well asked what’s going on in Norway, or elsewhere. The answer is, I’m not entirely certain, (For which I should be, and am embarrassed.) but I do understand that it’s quite a bit different than what’s going on in America.

Now it’s time for the stink-tank trolls to distract everyone with accusations that Europe as a whole has serious economic problems AT THE MOMENT. (Many of the causes of which aren’t exclusive to Europe.) And that none of the societies are perfect social nirvanas, having social problems and troubling voices, as will ANY complex modern society. Or as is the case in Germany, has the sad and awful history of the Nazis from 70 years ago.

And it’s important that the trolls accomplish this distraction. Because the LAST thing they want discussed are the economic paths such countries have pursued since the end of World War II, and the overall, long term benefits that these policies have had on these societies and the average quality of life of their citizens.

As I confessed, I do not have a detailed understanding of all these policies. But I do hear bits of information reported on the news that intrigue. Sometime ago, Germany began to suffer from unemployment. Solution? They REDUCED their working hours! Can you imagine such a policy in our country? And just last week; Germany is having difficulty finding ENOUGH employees to fill all the needs their industry requires. Or that German students at large leave school fully prepared with real-world preparation to earn a living.

But in America we are given the false choice where either the corporatists control government policy so as to create a labor market that minimizes earning, including a certain degree of unemployment to control wages, or else the government takes most of production, and itself employs enlarged numbers of bureaucrats to redistribute it.

Obviously, Germany and other countries have followed different courses. And the results of those courses have been societies with high average standards of living, and a social contract in which their citizens generally have a secure material future. And yet, STILL, in these societies, there is also thriving industry! As I said, I’m not conversant with all the details, as few Americans seem to be, but perhaps we should begin the conversation that leads to greater knowledge.



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[-] 5 points by beautifulworld (23760) 11 years ago

A humane economy. Makes sense to me since an economic system should serve all the people and not just the wealthy and corporations.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 11 years ago

if we had a system of production for use and not for profit we would all have what we need and plenty of time to enjoy life. in the 1800's it took 85% of the population to feed the country - now it takes 2% - what are we all doing - chasing our tale to make somebody rich. and we allow it - we need to move to a 30 hour week then a 20 hour week and stop maidson avenue from "creating artificial wants and needs" - here is noam on the subject - "Suppose the people around here decide that instead of having more consumer goods they’d like to have more leisure. The market system doesn’t allow you that choice. It drives you to having more consumer goods because it’s all driven to maximizing production. But is the only human value to have more and more goods you don’t need? In fact the business world knows that it’s not. That’s why they spend billions of dollars in advertising, to try to create artificial wants."

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (23760) 11 years ago

All so true, and as Wat says this would all require a humane society, one that puts humanity above profits. I wish.


[-] 1 points by WatTyler (263) 11 years ago

A humane economy tends to be both a product of, and contributor to a humane society.

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (23760) 11 years ago

Well said.

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 11 years ago

The duplicitous proponents of mass austerity - from Madison, WI to Washington DC to Berlin to Athens - would have us believe that nations, states & communities should sacrifice good public education ; decent public services & universal healthcare so as to balance budgets. Yet the very same politicians who preach that there's no money for vaccinations and school lunches etc. always seem to be able to find the money for corporate tax breaks, payouts to defence contractors & aggressive wars of whim based on 'Words of Mass Deception' !!!

There’s a nascent uprising brewing - not just in Europe but in American as well. There’s an increasing recognition that it is neither morally nor fiscally prudent to sacrifice human needs in order to pay for wars - or to redistribute ever more of the wealth ever more upwards !!

There are groups that understand that the New & Next Politics requires an inside-outside strategy that has to challenge the lies of austerity and the lies that lead to wars of whim. Those challenges have to play out inside existing political parties AND outside them ; in the corridors of power & In The Streets.

We don't need “shared sacrifice”, Bankster Corporatocracy and the heinous lie of Austerity. We need New Priorities. Politicians tell austerity lies. ... But The People Are Pushing Back !

Thanx for your great forum-post 'WT' & the opportunity for me to vent a little after a long day (+ you know already that I dig your moniker, dude :-)

per ardua ad astra ...

[-] 1 points by 1sealyon (434) 11 years ago

I can tell you exactly why Germany's economy does well:

It is because Germany is full of Germans!

You think I am joking? Go back 25 years to the end of the Cold War. The economies of the Soviet Union and the Satellite Soviet Block countries were a mess. There was only one bright spot in the whole group. East Germany. The reason: Germans can make an economy work in spite of the system.

[-] 1 points by WatTyler (263) 11 years ago

I’m afraid I can’t agree. At the time of reunification, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) was an economic basket case, as it had been throughout its entire history. And that area was a drag on the entire economy of reunified Germany through a good portion of the 1990’s. While I have some admiration for the virtues of the German people, as well as an awareness of some of their foibles, I can’t see how the simple fact of their being German can explain contemporary German prosperity when the two different systems had such disparate results.

[-] 1 points by 1sealyon (434) 11 years ago

Compared to Russia and the Soviet Block they were an economic power house.

[-] 1 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 11 years ago

Well in my opinion Germany had a pretty good economic model for a long time until 1999 when they adopted the Euro. Now Angela Merkel is trying to get the prime minister of Canada to help them prop the currency and sign on to a trade agreement with the Eurozone. Harper will sign the trade agreement because he's a neoliberal dirtbag but it'll be a cold day in hell before he agrees to propping up the Euro. Only the technocrats at the European central bank still believe that the currency will survive another 2 years.


[-] 1 points by WatTyler (263) 11 years ago

Thank you!



[-] 0 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 11 years ago

BAsically almost any system works, assuming the people are willing to actively particiapat.

thats why we are heading no where fast.

[-] 1 points by WatTyler (263) 11 years ago

I don’t know that I can agree that any system can work. Particularly if the system is one that both discourages and does not adequately reward participation. Some systems are just innately unworkable, and that can be for a variety of reasons.