Why is Germany steamrollering ahead, even despite the woes of the E.U., while America languishes, showing many signs of entering a great decline? For ordinary Germans and ordinary Americans the differences are as night and day.
Earlier this week I found this fascinating article on AlterNet, Why Germany Has It So Good - and Why America Is Going Down the Drain. It's an interview with progressive American labour lawyer Thomas Geoghegan, author of Were You Born on the Wrong Continent. In his book, Geoghegan makes the case that blue and white collar America have a lot to learn from European social democracies, particularly Germany.
According to Geoghegan, "Since 2003, it's not China but Germany, that colossus of European socialism, that has either led the world in export sales or at least been tied for first. Even as we in the United States fall more deeply into the clutches of our foreign creditors -- China foremost among them -- Germany has somehow managed to create a high-wage, unionized economy without shipping all its jobs abroad or creating a massive trade deficit, or any trade deficit at all. And even as the Germans outsell the United States, they manage to take six weeks of vacation every year. They're beating us with one hand tied behind their back."
It's a great interview and well worth a read. As I was going through it I couldn't help but recall our own Furious Leader, Stephen Harper, who used to denounce Canada as a "northern European welfare state." Compared to his empty vision of Canada, a northern European model doesn't sound all that bad, not at all.