.us vs .de

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Ugg, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #1
    Via the LA Times
    Germany has the economic strengths America once boasted

    Via the NYTApple, America and a squeezed Middle Class


    FoxConn did it.
    The article also goes on about Corning and how they've moved their production to Asia not because it's necessarily cheaper, but because that's where all their customers are.


    Two things struck me here.

    The rise of consumerism.

    The lack of pride in America by CEOs.

    Since the end of the equally turbulent 60s, Germany's path has mostly followed the one labeled "Pragmatic", while the US' has followed the one labeled "Greed". Germany had a lot of problems in the 60s and the 70s but rather than turn into some kind of religious hell and CEO paradise, they became in many ways a worker's paradise. Ironic isn't it? The 4th largest economy in the world is also one that mostly thinks of its employees before its CEOs.

    Obviously, the US could have followed the same path that Germany did and become a pre eminent manufacturer of all things "i". Reagan took us down the path greed instead.

    Is it too late?
     
  2. MorphingDragon macrumors 603

    MorphingDragon

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  3. malman89 macrumors 68000

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    #3
    The vacation thing isn't that crazy. Most countries in Europe have a much more generous vacation time. The private sector in Italy takes much of August off and then has other vacation time as well - on top of siestas. European countries have 25-40 vacation days a year compared to the US average of about 13.

    One doesn't need a much higher income when many more services are provided by the government as well.

    There's probably no way we can ever turn the US around to be like Germany today, but I don't think it's too late to return to a so-called 'better time' of the United States standard of living.
     
  4. Heilage macrumors 68030

    Heilage

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    #4
    I think you have a legal rigth to at least four weeks of vacation time a year if you're a full time employee here, not counting national holidays and such. It's also my impression that it stays true for most of Western Europe.

    But remember, these are social democratic economies, Americans don't want that.
     
  5. Happybunny, Jan 23, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012

    Happybunny macrumors 68000

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    #5
    That was some read.:D

    I live and worked in the Netherlands.

    We fall right in the middle between Germany and France. Social services are good, taxes are high, the Netherlands is also an export driven country.
    Before I retired I had 42 paid vacation days per year. My standard of living was very good compared to most people here in Europe at €51,000.

    The country here in Europe that most closely followed the US was the UK. During the Reagan/Thatcher years, Britain went from being a social/capitalist system to market lead economy.
    Stocks and shares and property where seen as the new way to make money for nothing.
     
  6. iStudentUK, Jan 23, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012

    iStudentUK macrumors 65816

    iStudentUK

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    #6
    No surprises there. It's down to an instinctive response from many in the US to call anything resembling a social service or employment rights 'communism'! Stable employment is very important for the economy, lots of people are clearly worried at the moment due to the current climate but having some basic rights in place can help with that worry.

    The median full time income in the UK is about the same as the US, but we do have higher taxes. But for that we get all sorts of things like free healthcare, cheap higher education (at least compared to the US), better welfare, workers rights (min 28 days paid holiday, statutory redundancy/notice rights, unfair dismissal rights), consumer rights (I don't buy warranties usually)...

    The UK has sort of bridged the gap between US and continental Europe for many years, fortunately we are still much closer to the political style of our European neighbours than our US friends. I hope it stays that way!
     
  7. MorphingDragon macrumors 603

    MorphingDragon

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    #7
    I would murder to have citizenry in a Scandinavian Country.
     
  8. Heilage macrumors 68030

    Heilage

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    #8
    Actually, I think that could be the way to go. Our prisons are quite nice.
     
  9. MorphingDragon macrumors 603

    MorphingDragon

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    #9
    Does Norway have a marriage in policy? :D
     
  10. torbjoern macrumors 65816

    torbjoern

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    #10
    No need to murder - just get a Nordic spouse, then apply for family reunification. After 4 years of living in e.g. Norway, you may qualify for citizenship if your spouse is citizen of one of the Nordic countries (.no, .se, .dk, .fi, .is), otherwise it takes 7 years.
     
  11. MorphingDragon macrumors 603

    MorphingDragon

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    #11
    I could handle 4 years of stumbling through the Norwegian language. I did the same for Japanese. :D
     
  12. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #12
    Just to throw a couple of questions out there...

    • Did the German/France sponsored Euro currency project export inappropriately low interest rates to the rest of Europe?
    • Did that fuel a spending boom in the PIIGS countries, that benefitted Germany's industrial production and trade surplus?
    • Will Germany eventually end up paying for that borrowing... in effect making this an elaborate government funded industrial stimulus scheme?

    (For what it's worth, I like Germany and their approach to social/economic policy - but the points above seem to be increasingly voiced).
     
  13. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #13
    They don't have the military bills that the US has. You also have many more billionaires and millionaires per capita (many of them in the "defense" industries) than they do so something is going right for someone. KOCH-ING!
     
  14. Happybunny macrumors 68000

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    #14
    I hope this goes some way to giving you an answer.

    The simple Answer is NO Germany not pay alone for the EURO crisis.

    The Euro was a political animal, there were voices back before the introduction date, that warned that without proper controls there would be a major problem. Back then Italy was seen as the major problem.

    The reuniting of Germany and the cost to German economy, caused Germany also break 3% budget deficit that was allowed. This was seen at the time as a slight hiccup. The ECB held rates low as this was seen to help the economy grow.

    But it was the down right lying of some of the PIIGS, that defy all belief. Greece with the help of criminal accountants where running a 12% deficit, but presenting books for audit to Europe well with in budget. The facts about the mismanagement of Greece reads like some thing only found in a film script.
    But I will concentrate on Ireland. Please remember Ireland RECEIVED more money from the EU than it paid in by a wide margin.
    Ireland do you remember how they would brag to world about being the 'Celtic Tiger'. It was all built on loans which the government knew could not be paid back. There was at one time more house being planed in Ireland than people.
    It was the Irish who benefitted from the HUGE EU payments to fund infrastructure development, roads, hospitals and all the other things Ireland had previously dreamed of.
    It was the Irish who voted for Irish governments that gave huge tax incentives to large corporations like Microsoft and Apple to base their Euro operations there - depriving the Irish Government of tax revenues - and supported corporation tax avoidance.
    It was the Irish who took out massive small-business loans to expand their businesses to cash in on the 'Celtic Tiger' - in spite of being unable to pay them back.
    It was the Irish who took out mortgages on properties they knew were overpriced - and knowing their incomes couldn't allow the mortgages to be paid off in the event of price adjustment in a recession.


    No Germany will not end up paying for this all. The ill will in Northern Europe against the PIIGS, is so great that it would be political suicide to lessen the pain.
    The Euro Parliament will introduce rules that will start this year, these are going to see that the ECB holds the budget of all EU countries up for inspection. Plus a start will be made to harmonize tax rate across Europe.
     
  15. firestarter, Jan 23, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012

    firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #15
    Wow. I didn't expect that answer. From some of your other posts I thought that the Eurozone states were all of a single mind so that 'working together can build a safe and secure future'.

    If you're so negative about the nature of the peoples and governments of the PIIGS, why on earth do you believe that tax harmonisation is going to work?

    Is this the same European Union that's failed their audit for 16 clear years in succession? Why will the ECB inspection be any different?
     
  16. TPadden macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    Sure are different perspectives voiced here: I for one find it interesting and telling that our demise of work ethic and the proliferation of our credit mentality take a backseat to political and CEO greed and their "lack of pride in America" .....:rolleyes:
     
  17. Ugg thread starter macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #17
    The global economic boom was the reason for the low interest rates. Iceland and Hungary are the most common example of countries using foreign currency based loans and their problems stem from global bankers, many of them American.

    As HappyBunny points out, EU structural funds messed up Ireland and the Olympics really, really put Greece deeply in debt. Although, Greece has a lot of other issues that have nothing to do with foreign entities.

    I don't think Germany is going to be penalized by much. If anything, the troubles in other Euro countries help keep German inflation at very low levels.


    Germany has also been at odds with the EU over VW. I'm not sure where the situation stands now, but the state of Lower Saxony owns 20% of VW. This ensures that VW will stay in Lower Saxony and provide a stable source of jobs and tax revenue. Public ownership of private companies isn't frowned upon in Germany like it is in the US and unlike in the UK, public/private partnerships really do benefit the public.

    During the Reagan/Thatcher era, many privately held American and UK companies were told they needed to maximize their profits by going public. The Germans resisted the IPO push and grew through mostly careful reinvestment. (Re-unification was an obvious exception to this as billions of DM poured into the construction companies.) Many of those US/UK companies are now in the hands of nameless, faceless multi-nationals whereas Germany still has an amazing number of family owned businesses, BMW being the most well known.

    In other words, Greenspan along with Reagan and Thatcher, sold Americans and Brits down the River while the Germans plodding along in their own stubborn and stolid way, enjoy a quality of life that we can only dream of .
     
  18. Happybunny, Jan 23, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012

    Happybunny macrumors 68000

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    #18
    Everything that you wrote is true.

    There were terrible mistakes made, of course the European commission and the Parliament failed. Some MEP's pointed this out, but where shouted down at the time.
    But to think that Germany alone is going to pay for this all, is simply not realist.

    The European dream is still there but it has to be affordable. There can be no more free rides. The fact of the matter is that the PIIGS nearly destroyed the EU.
    Just look at the latest nation to join Croatia, the hurdles that is country had to endure to gain entry show that the EU has changed.

    Ideals are fantastic, but so is putting a meal on the table.

    Sorry about the rant, but these PIIGS where liars and thieves and cannot be allowed to just walk away, and let Germany pick up the bill.

    The IMF is going to be more involved That was why it was so important to have a European as head of the IMF. Budgets will be controlled via IMF, tax harmony will take longer, but will happen. Such a crisis can never happen again.
     
  19. Ugg thread starter macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #19
    Let's see, declining wages along with cheap credit offered by banks who were no longer risk adverse equals what? Yeah, people who have no choice but to charge it. Oh, and then there's the whole health insurance issue...

    Steve Jobs' insistence that the glass screen be ready in six weeks is a leading indicator of the "gotta have it now mentality' that is bankrupting the US.
     
  20. TPadden macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    Driven by our "can't wait for the iPhone 5, got to replace my iPhone 4 with a 4S now" mentality :rolleyes: ..... we agree :).
     
  21. jeremyshaw macrumors 6502

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    #21
    Iirc, isn't welfare in germany deliberately made to properly encourage those who can to not stay on welfare? Not blaming social help for USA issues, but it, and worldwide healthcare systems, are some things I have learned about recently.
     
  22. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #22
    Somehow, someone (Fox News) has convinced sixty million stupid white guys that giving their boss's, boss's, boss's, boss a huge tax break is going make him give them a slightly better job than they have now. And anything else is regarded as socialism, fascism, communism, or worse.

    When you've got Sean Hannity (estd. 2011 income: $25 million) and Rush Limbaugh (estd. 2011 income: $45 million) lecturing these chumps several hours a day, is it any wonder we've got the problems we do?
     
  23. Ugg thread starter macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #23
    Hartz IV

    Gerhard Schroeder introduced Hartz IV in 2005. Prior to the reforms, Germany's welfare benefit was seen as too generous. As the above article states, many now see it as too stringent and in fact the poverty rate in Germany has gone up although the recent boom means that it's not as severe as it could be.

    The government also works closely with industry and labor. One of the most interesting reforms is that the government will help pay a person's wages even if a company can't give them full time employment. Paying welfare and paying for retraining is a lot more expensive than some periodic wage assistance. Germany's labor unions and industry itself have become much more flexible over the last 20 years. As the LA Times article points out, sometimes Volkmar Krueger works very long hours. Rather than pay him very expensive overtime wages, he gets a lot of flex time.

    I doubt Germany has very many policemen, nurses or firemen that pull in a quarter of a million euros a year. However, they still do have a solid middle class.

    The important lesson here is that stubborn, hidebound, stolid Germany has actually made the necessary sacrifices of labor flexibility, increased retirement age, welfare reform, etc to keep them competitive with low wage China while maintaining if not even growing their middle class. In comparison, the US has rewarded the CEOs and shareholders for gutting the American middle class.
     
  24. TPadden, Jan 23, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012

    TPadden macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    We still agree :). I see the solution as the middle class can either become shareholders or rely on the government. One path improves the middle class economic position the other only insures the status quo (but will allow the middle class to continue to buy their iPhone 4S on credit) :eek:.
     
  25. Happybunny macrumors 68000

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    #25

    We have the same idea 'deel tijd WW' here in the Netherlands. It works well.
    In the Netherlands we also pruned our Welfare system, that was seen as very non work motivated.

    The big difference is that the Anglo Saxon world thought it could get rich quick, and with no work. The stock market and for all property, where seen as tools, to be used in the short term.
     

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