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Steppenpig

Make Me A German

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Just noticed this is on later. Couple of Journos going to Germany to see what makes them so successful. As there have been a couple of threads about Germany recently, might be of interest.

What they should find:

Old fashioned education system, with selective schooling and actual "learning".

Rigourous (and inflexible) systems of apprenticeships, training and qualifications.

Long term planning.

Strong sense of cohesive communities and feeling of working for mutual benefit.

Benefit system based on rewarding those who contribute to the system rather than the most antisocial elements

Hard work and self discipline.

High propensity to save, low propensity to consume (apart from big cars).

Given that it's the Beeb, they'll probably find out that it's all thanks to their tolerant multi-ethnic society, feminist outlook, child friendly work policies, and famous Teutonic touchy-feeliness.

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Just noticed this is on later. Couple of Journos going to Germany to see what makes them so successful. As there have been a couple of threads about Germany recently, might be of interest.

What they should find:

Old fashioned education system, with selective schooling and actual "learning".

Rigourous (and inflexible) systems of apprenticeships, training and qualifications.

Long term planning.

Strong sense of community and feeling of working for mutual benefit.

Benefit system based on

Hard work and self discipline.

High propensity to save, low propensity to consume (apart from big cars).

Given that it's the Beeb, they'll probably find out that it's all thanks to their multiethnic society, feminist outlook and child friendly work policies, and their famousTeutonic touchy-feeliness.

You forgot: predatory banking system, and effective control of the ECB.

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What they should find:

Nowt that Simon Weisenthal - or John Voight in "The ODESSA File" - haven't already made public many years ago...

XYY

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Just noticed this is on later. Couple of Journos going to Germany to see what makes them so successful. As there have been a couple of threads about Germany recently, might be of interest.

What they should find:

Old fashioned education system, with selective schooling and actual "learning".

Rigourous (and inflexible) systems of apprenticeships, training and qualifications.

Long term planning.

Strong sense of community and feeling of working for mutual benefit.

Benefit system based on

Hard work and self discipline.

High propensity to save, low propensity to consume (apart from big cars).

Given that it's the Beeb, they'll probably find out that it's all thanks to their multiethnic society, feminist outlook and child friendly work policies, and their famousTeutonic touchy-feeliness.

Germany's education system is not selective in the sense that most people here would understand it. Yes, they have their Gymnasien (roughly equivalent to our grammar schools), but the kids don't normally take an entrance exam. Instead, they are recommended (or not) for a Gymnasium education by their primary school teachers. Parents are not obliged to accept this advice. Also, the children do not generally march in lock-step through the system by age as they do in the UK; instead, children may start school a little later or earlier if a parent so desires.

Agree with what you write about apprenticeships, etc.

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Watched it, and a lot of it did accord with my own experiences, with a couple of caveats.

One is that they were a middle class family attempting to live the lives of working class Germans, so some things were bound to go awry. Also, Bavaria is not really typically German; it's more conservative and religious then any of the other German states. It's as typical of Germany as Scotland is typical of the UK.

All the stuff about working short but productive hours was pretty accurate though. As was the fact that lots of people rent cheap, sizeable apartments while saving a 50% deposit on a house.

Edit: Why all the oldies though? You only have to glance at an average German street to see all the slim, nubile German students cycling to work/college/university along proper cycle lanes or sitting in the beer garden on a summer's evening.

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I thought Germany was successful because it couldn't have an army.... the same as Japan?

The rest is just incidentals.

Germany has an army, the Bundeswehr, which currently serves in Afghanistan, Kosovo and other places. Granted, they don't spend as much on their military as we do in the UK, but I doubt that's the main reason for their success.

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Germany has an army, the Bundeswehr, which currently serves in Afghanistan, Kosovo and other places. Granted, they don't spend as much on their military as we do in the UK, but I doubt that's the main reason for their success.

Really?

It must be their intelligence then, or their natural resources.

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Really?

It must be their intelligence then, or their natural resources.

Personally, I put their success down to the lack of an upper class parasite class and an underdeveloped financial "services" industry.

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Personally, I put their success down to the lack of an upper class parasite class and an underdeveloped financial "services" industry.

I can live with that.

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a lot of it did accord with my own experiences,

.

.

.

Edit: Why all the oldies though? You only have to glance at an average German street to see all the slim, nubile German students cycling to work/college/university along proper cycle lanes or sitting in the beer garden on a summer's evening.

Yeah, it did a surprisingly good job. I guess Germany is easier to get a handle on than some places. They do tend to conform to their stereotypes to some extent. They were trying to mimic the average german,which is why they were middle aged.

Thought it was funny to see the whiny English journalist getting so outraged on behalf of the poor downtrodden german womanhood, who were presumably to stupid to realise that they were being oppressed, without the wise counselling of a liberated BBC journalist. Mind you, I don't think I'd really want to be German myself. Im happy to pay 20% of GDP in order to lead a life of disorderly, flexible, wishy washy liberal slovenliness.

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Personally, I put their success down to the lack of an upper class parasite class and an underdeveloped financial "services" industry.

Did you watch the programme as the pencil manufacturing company he was working at was clearly owned by a German aristocratic dynasty?

I would say that's true of many German manufacturers I've dealt with. I suspect a fair number are virtually closet Nazis, the head of one household name manufacturing company misconstrued something I said to him to be anti-semitic and, thinking he'd found a kindred spirit, proudly told me how no jews or blacks work anywhere in the business worldwide. The next time I visited their UK site I realised he wasn't kidding.

Although it would be never admitted, I suspect Germany's more unique financial services sector, compared to other similar countries, may not be unrelated to how it treated jewish people historically given the usual over-representation in that industry.

Also I can't see how the pencil manufacturer is viable long-term in Germany, either that, or the jobs will be automated away.

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Yeah, it did a surprisingly good job. I guess Germany is easier to get a handle on than some places. They do tend to conform to their stereotypes to some extent. They were trying to mimic the average german,which is why they were middle aged.

Thought it was funny to see the whiny English journalist getting so outraged on behalf of the poor downtrodden german womanhood, who were presumably to stupid to realise that they were being oppressed, without the wise counselling of a liberated BBC journalist. Mind you, I don't think I'd really want to be German myself. Im happy to pay 20% of GDP in order to lead a life of disorderly, flexible, wishy washy liberal slovenliness.

They got a bit too carried away with their averages. As I said, it was an English middle class family trying to live like working class Germans. They neglected to mention, for example, that either the mother or the father can take the 3 years' parental leave, after which you are guaranteed your job back and you child is entitled to a place in kindergarten. Amongst the middle classes, many fathers do take some of the parental leave.

I'd agree that, as a liberal Englishman, the German tendency towards collectivism and social responsibility did tend to grate a little sometimes when I lived there, but then that was my upbringing, I guess.

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Did you watch the programme as the pencil manufacturing company he was working at was clearly owned by a German aristocratic dynasty?

I would say that's true of many German manufacturers I've dealt with. I suspect a fair number are virtually closet Nazis, the head of one household name manufacturing company misconstrued something I said to him to be anti-semitic and, thinking he'd found a kindred spirit, proudly told me how no jews or blacks work anywhere in the business worldwide. The next time I visited their UK site I realised he wasn't kidding.

Although it would be never admitted, I suspect Germany's more unique financial services sector, compared to other similar countries, may not be unrelated to how it treated jewish people historically given the usual over-representation in that industry.

Also I can't see how the pencil manufacturer is viable long-term in Germany, either that, or the jobs will be automated away.

Depends on your definition of aristocratic, I guess. The British variant don't generally demean themselves to such things as running pencil factories; they usually live off their land.

As for closet Nazis or xenophobes, I'm sure there are a few, just as in the UK or US. I strongly doubt your story about the anti-Semitic household name manufacturing company head though. To say such a thing would be commercial suicide in Germany, and company heads just aren't that stupid.

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Personally, I put their success down to the lack of an upper class parasite class and an underdeveloped financial "services" industry.

Personally I think a lot of their success is a legacy of the war.

With so many men lost labour would be very expensive, to be competetive German industry needed to specialise in high value added manufacturing which is what is needed for the 21st century. Also the high wages and availability of jobs generates a virtuous circle by encouraging education and training thus maintaining their competetive advantage. In comparison we lost relatively few men and sought to make good those losses by immigration, the plan was to carry on as before which left us with a outdated and uncompetetive industrial sector hence the rapid decline in the 1970s onwards.

Also I think another legacy of the war was the disasterous labour relations in the 1970s. A lot of the senior UK workers in the 1970s were WWII veterans who felt that the country owed them a living and any attempt to modernise was met with shouts about fat cats and upper class parasites. In contrast your average German worker would presumably not feel any sense of entitlement and in any event had no real need to kick up a fuss due to the demand for his labour.

Also I suspect that it's harder for left wing ideaology to take hold when half the country is still occupied by the Soviet Union.

Just some random thoughts.

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Personally I think a lot of their success is a legacy of the war.

With so many men lost labour would be very expensive, to be competetive German industry needed to specialise in high value added manufacturing which is what is needed for the 21st century. Also the high wages and availability of jobs generates a virtuous circle by encouraging education and training thus maintaining their competetive advantage. In comparison we lost relatively few men and sought to make good those losses by immigration, the plan was to carry on as before which left us with a outdated and uncompetetive industrial sector hence the rapid decline in the 1970s onwards.

Also I think another legacy of the war was the disasterous labour relations in the 1970s. A lot of the senior UK workers in the 1970s were WWII veterans who felt that the country owed them a living and any attempt to modernise was met with shouts about fat cats and upper class parasites. In contrast your average German worker would presumably not feel any sense of entitlement and in any event had no real need to kick up a fuss due to the demand for his labour.

Also I suspect that it's harder for left wing ideaology to take hold when half the country is still occupied by the Soviet Union.

Just some random thoughts.

Interesting theory, spoiled only by a few facts. For one thing, Germany had far more immigration (primarily from Italy and Turkey) than the UK during the years of their economic boom in the 60s and 70s. For another thing, Germany is far more left-wing generally than the UK, with powerful unions, a high-tax high spend economy and a far smaller gap between the wages of the bosses and the workers.

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WWII veterans who felt that the country owed them a living

The war was a long time ago. I think it's stretching it a bit to argue that there are any concrete aspects of losing the war, that they're still reaping the benefits of 70 years later. But I agree that it had the opposite psychological effects on our countries. They had no choice but to collectively pull together and rebuild their country from scatch, while we collectively decided it was time to put the slippers on, settle back in the comfy old armchair, bask in the satisfaction of a job well done, and have a well deserved little snooze.

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Germany is far more left-wing generally than the UK, with powerful unions, a high-tax high spend economy and a far smaller gap between the wages of the bosses and the workers.

I see germany as being far more "politically middle of the road" than us. Their left wing party is "social democrat" and not "socialist" Their right wing party is certainly to the left of the Tories.

Their social-educational-welfare systems seem to be quite conservative compared to our left-wing ideology riven equivalents. The unions are strong, but they don't seem particularly interested in a political agenda, they are more like works councils.

Commerce and industry on the other hand is more left-wing than the rabid capitalism in the UK. It all comes back to the cohesive, consensual sense of community and in-it-togetherness.

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Can't believe the wife was moaning because she was 'forced to' look after her own children for half a week. :blink:

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Also I can't see how the pencil manufacturer is viable long-term in Germany, either that, or the jobs will be automated away.

Faber Castell wasn't it? They do make excellent pencils. I recently bought my son a coloured pencil set. I had a choice between Cheapjackfillediwithnuclearwasteandlead Chinese pencil set at 5.95 or Caran Dache made in Geneva at 12 euros. I bought the Caran D'ache set (Caran D'Ache being derived from the Turkish word for pencil). There is still some demand for quality products.

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Can't believe the wife was moaning because she was 'forced to' look after her own children for half a week. :blink:

You don't have children. do you? <_<

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Can't believe the wife was moaning because she was 'forced to' look after her own children for half a week. :blink:

Oh yes, most people are complicit in the 2 income trap, death of the middle class.

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Watched it, and a lot of it did accord with my own experiences, with a couple of caveats.

All the stuff about working short but productive hours was pretty accurate though. As was the fact that lots of people rent cheap, sizeable apartments while saving a 50% deposit on a house.

Yes, I often get riled when the BBC, or some other media outlet, tell you that 'Europeans rent'.

Actually, the number of people that own their home AT SOME POINT in their life is high in most EU countries. French and Germans generally enjoy cheap rents when they are younger then move to a suburb or more rural location with a family later and buy a good value house with a massive deposit and a modest mortgage.

In Spain, home ownership is higher than the UK as traditionally adults live at home until they've save a massive deposit for a home (often their fiancee doing the same), although this process has stalled due to the Thatcher-style deregulation of their economy.

We get rents so gouging you can't save and then anxiety-inducing mega-mortages.

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