High salary German economy beats US business model with big stick

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.

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Posted by on August 26, 2010. Filed under Commentary,NEWS I FIND INTERESTING. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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9 Responses to High salary German economy beats US business model with big stick

  1. fourdinners Reply

    August 26, 2010 at 9:18 am

    I can quite believe that.

    I have an American driving student and she gets well stressed out over her work and critisizes her English workmates for not giving a damn – not horribly you understand…she just can’t get her head around people saying “5pm” (or whatever time) “I’m off home”.

    To Lisa, if the work isn’t finished you stay and finish and then go home. Apparently her English colleagues think she’s nuts.

    I would suggest Americans have a better work ethic perhaps – although given the crap management style in Britain there are few employees who would give 1 second over what they are required to give.

    Over here it’s ‘let’s try and do the work in the alloted time but we aren’t killing ourselves so don’t try too hard and when the clock strikes we’re gone’

    Been that way myself all my life until I became self employed recently. 10 hour days 7 days a week sometimes and I’m happy as a pig in dirt!!!

    • Holte Ender Reply

      August 26, 2010 at 11:24 am

      Self employed is different than being a wage-slave. It’s good you love what you do.

      • The Lawyer Reply

        August 26, 2010 at 7:26 pm

        Except for one full time job I had right out of college I don’t really know what it’s like to be employed. I have employees and treat them well, but I’m glad I’m not them. I can kind of screw off here and there throughout the day and call it early when I want. But at harvest time, whenever that may be, I have to make hay for as long as it takes. But, you know what? I haven’t been on a proper vacation since 2005. That kind of sucks.

  2. Krell Reply

    August 26, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Germans have many things about their economy and country to be admired. I especially am jealous of the social stature that they place on engineering.

    Good for 4D! He doing something he loves.

    • Holte Ender Reply

      August 26, 2010 at 11:23 am

      Not just engineering, but training and more training that goes with it. They nurture their engineers of all flavors, mechanical, architectural, civil etc etc.,

  3. Will "take no prisoners" Hart Reply

    August 26, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Germany has a much better health care system than a lot of the other European nations. At least from what I can gather, it’s a hybrid of private and public funding that seemingly avoids a lot of the abuses of strictly one or the other.

  4. Stella by Starlight Reply

    August 30, 2010 at 10:06 am

    WILL!!! How are ya? Germany, like most countries, provide six weeks’ of vacation in addition to paid national holidays. Sweden taxes her citizens at 40-60%… but the money doesn’t go to a military industrial complex. Taxes are used to provide health care, affordable housing, and providing a free college education to her citizens. This practice is the same throughout Europe. Taxes also go to R&D for health care. Sweden has one of the most preeminent oncological centers in the world. I know full well the ill effects of being a wage slave ~ I worked one day for 26.5 hours and well remember working 7 days per week to earn college tuition, averaging 75 hours per week. I had two jobs where I was expected to work 12 hours per day: On salary. I am genuinely glad o know fourdinners enjoys his/ her work… that’s heartening. Americas work hareder than any industrialized nation in the world. As a result, we are emotionally and physically ill from being wage slaves. Lawyer, can I work for you? I promise I

    • Stella by Starlight Reply

      August 30, 2010 at 10:22 am

      … will not slack off. (Only so much room when one blogs via cel). I have a dim view of the American work ethic. Workers here have increaed their productivit by $1.35 billion. In the same year (2009 ) corporations made $572 billion in profits. The term “wage slave” is sadly apt. When 2% of Americans hold 90% of the wealth, as is the case in this era, perhaps we could learn much from the Europeans.

  5. Anonymous Reply

    January 2, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    As a german Historian I can assure you, that the idea
    that germany was economically rebuild from scratch after ww2 is nothing but a myth. The Marshall fund helped, but his importance is overrated.
    Since the 19th century Germany was the biggest economy on the continent and very advanced in science. Inspite of the bombings in ww2 the production-base was nearly intact. The biggest problem were the destroyed living quarters (in a time were millions of Germans fled the east), the famine, the cold and the destroyed production- and trade relation (the country was divorced in zones, no cross-trade allowed).
    Nevertheless were are thankful for the support the US granted us in the Cold War.
    Cheers

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