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American workers compared to our German cousins across the pond, work 1,804 hours versus their 1,436 hours – the equivalent of nine extra 40-hour workweeks per year.
The Germans have six weeks of federally mandated vacation, free university tuition, nursing care, and childcare. In an attempt to make Germany more like the U.S., Chancellor Angela Merkel has proposed deregulation and tax cuts only to be met with fury on the left. According to Thomas Geoghegan, a labor lawyer in Chicago and author of “Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?: How the European Model Can Help You Get a Life,” Over multiple trips spanning a decade, Geoghegan decided to investigate how the Germans were living so well, and by extension, what we might be able to learn from them.
How did this business model take hold in Germany? After World War II, the Western Allies administered their zones of occupation. West Germany was on the front line against Soviet Communism and it had to succeed and had to be seen to succeed. The business model was implemented by the western powers (mainly the Americans) and it has evolved into the powerhouse economy it is now. German oil and gas companies are minuscule compared with it’s US counterparts the vast majority of their oil/gas is imported and yet they have a high salary, highly educated, thriving economy that produces quality goods and services. It is surviving the worldwide recession better than most.
Americans are told they are the hardest working most productive workforce in the industrialized world. They are, for sure, the most over-worked. Please read this excellent article in Salon.