Why The Germans Do It Better: Lessons from a Grown-up Country: Notes from a Grown-Up Country By John Kampfner

Why The Germans Do It Better: Lessons from a Grown-up Country: Notes from a Grown-Up Country : Kampfner, John: : Boeken Why The Germans Do It Better: Lessons from a Grown-up Country: Notes from a Grown-Up Country

John Kampfner ↠ 0 Free read

This book looks so good, and was a very cute gift idea my boyfriend bought my German mother! She was so thankful and it honestly looks informative than I thought it would be! Why The Germans Do It Better: Lessons from a Grown-up Country: Notes from a Grown-Up Country I must declare an interest. I was born in Germany in late 1924 and, together with my Jewish family, emigrated, at the age of 12, from Nazi Germany in 1936. As a young adult, I often thought that, if I were not Jewish, I would have remained in Germany throughout my school years, undergoing the Nazi indoctrination which my age group would have undergone from 1933 (when I was eight) until 1945 (when I would have been twenty). I was of course glad to see a pre Nazi generation come to power in Germany immediately after the war, and saw that generation preside over the democratization of Germany; but I feared what would happen after the mid 1960s when my own indoctrinated generation would succeed them in positions of influence. But I was wrong: the great majority of West Germans of my age had shed whatever indoctrination they might have undergone, and West Germany remained true to the democratic way of life, enshrined in the Basic Law of 1949; and in due course Germany became the admirable state that Kampfner so vividly describes.The title of the book is somewhat misleading. True, there is much that the Germans do better than the UK does; but the book has a much wider scope than that, and is a general account of post war Germany. Kampfner is not blind to the negatives in Germany – like the arrogance of the West Germans after unification and the devastation that re unification caused the uncompetitive industries in the East. That alienation is still there today: “a sense of grievance is embedded across the East”. Kampfner shows that there is some justification for this; but €2 trillion from the West has gone into the East, parts of which are now better off, in terms of GDP and employment, than the poorer parts of the West.Kampfner gives a thorough account of how Germany started to come to terms with the past, though this did not really start until the Eichmann Trial in 1961; and even then, it took some time before schools would properly teach the Nazi period. In 1986 the great Historikerstreit began: was the Holocaust really unique? Were not Soviet crimes or the Allied carpet bombing of German cities comparable crimes? Such questions could lead – and were intended to lead to some amelioration of the guilt that Germans were taught to feel about the past.Kampfner is a great admirer of Angela Merkel. Kohl had been her patron, but when he was defeated in 1998 elections by the SDP’s leader Gerhard Schröder, she – unsuccessfully – challenged Edmund Stoiber, Kohl’s candidate for the succession of the CDU leadership; but when Stoiber lost the next election to Schröder, she became leader of the CDU and, in 2005, head of a coalition CDU SPD government.Coalitions are much normal in Germany than in England, and the search for consensus (which is also so strong in Germany’s industrial scene) is of course a necessity. But in any case, debates in the Bundestag are much less confrontational style of debate, in a modern and circular chamber than is the case in the antiquated Palace of Westminster, where politicians jeer at each other across the aisle that separates the government from the opposition benches.Even before 2015, Germany had the third largest migrant population the world. It is not well known that shortly before the influx of 2015, in July that year, Merkel has said that Germany could not cope with floods of refugees. More famously, seven weeks later, Merkel said just the opposite – “wir schaffen das” – and she and millions of Germans did than any other countries to welcome over one million refugees from other countries. Equally famously, however, she was forced to backtrack amid rising hostility to her policy. The forerunner of the AfD had been founded in 2012. In the 2017 federal elections, the AfD, with 12% of the vote, became the third largest party in the Bundestag and the biggest party in opposition to the coalition between the CDU and the SPD. An even right wing, anti Muslim and occasionally violent movement, Pegida, was able to stage large demonstrations. There are even incidents of antisemitic harassment, up by 20% from 2017 to 2018. But the German authorities and much of German public opinion combat all such extremism, and support for the AfD has fallen back somewhat recently.In Kampfner’s chapter on German foreign policy, there is an interesting discussion of Germany’s attitudes to Russia: how Brandt’s Ostpolitik began an accommodation with the East; how Schröder, Chancellor from 1998 to 2005, admired Putin, described him, three times between 2004 and 2012, as “a crystal clear democrat”, fostered the Nord Stream gas pipeline between Russia and Germany and was closely involved with it after the end of his Chancellorship (after which time he defended Russia’s annexation of the Crimea); how even Merkel, despite her deeply critical attitude towards Russia and despite Putin’s persistent attempts to undermine her with his support for the AfD and his campaign of disinformation, was unable to disentangle Germany from Nord Stream and even extended the project.Merkel’s relationship with America was no better: even under the Obama presidency, she found that her phones had been hacked by the Americans; and Trump, from the beginning, made her a target in his tweets as the main representative of the European Union and of international agreements he so disliked and from which he withdrew.Even does Trump object to the close economic relationship of Germany with China. Merkel’s government has done nothing to check Chinese investments in and take overs of German industry or China making Duisburg the terminus of China’s Belt and Road scheme.In economic matters, Merkel and her finance minister Schäuble kept a tight hold on spending, even when the German economy was roaring ahead. It meant, among other things, an unwillingness in the 2010s to help a number of countries that were spendthrift, when these got into trouble. Notably was the case of Greece, where she (and, for that matter, also the “troika” of the IMF, the Central European Bank and the EU) took such a hard line on the terms of successive bail outs that she was caricatured in the Greek press as Hitler. She had the support of German public opinion on this. Her prudence also meant that she had accumulated so much money that she could, easily than other countries, pump vast sums into the economy during the Covid 19 crisis.Kampfner’ title is most justified when he talks about German business: how much of it consists of small, local, specialized family businesses who are loyal to their localities, often small towns, and to their workforce. This Mittelstand produces some 80% of German GDP. In 1948 Ludwig Erhard’s economic reforms produced the Wirtschaftswunder: within ten years industrial production had increased fourfold. Within another ten years the West German economy was four times larger than that of the UK. Between 2003 and 2010 Germany was the largest exporter of goods in the world. (After that, it was China.) The Germans invented the “social market”, redistributing the wealth made by industry to its workforce. A law of 1976 laid down the Mitbestimmungsrecht, requiring that half the seats on the governing bodies of large industries and a third in the case of medium sized ones be held by elected workers’ representatives. The result was industrial peace. Wages grow in line with workers’ productivity. Bosses often eat with their workers in the canteens. During the 2008 crash, they did their best not to sack workers, but rather put them on short time work. The philosophy is also planning for the long term instead of for instant profit or high dividends for shareholders. But Kampfner also shows negative characteristics: for one thing, a big gap between the rich and the poor, with 15% of the population classified as poor.The German Health Service is much better funded than the British NHS, and when the pandemic struck, the Germans were better prepared in terms of testing facilities (five times than in the UK), ventilators (20,000 compared with the UK’s 8,000), protective equipment, hospital beds per patient (8.2 per 1,000, compared with 2.7 in the UK; 28,000 intensive care unit beds, compared with the UK’s 4,100; 4.1 doctors and 13.1 nurses for every thousand people, compared with 2.8 and 8.2 in the UK). And Merkel, whose popularity at the polls had started to sink after the refugee crisis, saw them recover at public approved of the way she handled the Covid 19 crisis.Germans are not as obsessed with home ownership as Britain is. Only Switzerland has a lower percentage of home owners. Only 15% of properties are owner occupied, compared with about 2/3 in the UK. Individuals buying a house for an investment rather than for a home are practically unknown, and companies that do own properties to let are hugely unpopular, and there is a strong movement for expropriating them. Rents in Berlin are capped.In no way does Berlin dominate the country as London does in the UK. Other big German cities are prosperous and work efficiently than Berlin. Historically, there have been many centres of art in Germany as ancient courts competed with each other. The unification of Germany in 1870 did not change this, and the Länder all lavishly subsize the arts, as do many companies and family trusts. There is therefore much experimental art, especially in the theatre, which does not shy away from taking political stands. “Kultur” figures extensively in social settings and in the newspapers. The knowledge of other countries and, of course, other languages is broader in Germany than in the UK.The Green movement is particularly strong in Germany. Rail journeys increasingly replaced car journeys, growing 25% in four years, while domestic air travel dropped by 12%. There are rallies every Friday. The Green Party was part of the Federal government from 1998 to 2005; in 2009 it had 68 members in the Bundestag, and in 2011 it was the biggest part in Baden Württemberg and provided its state prime minister. The Greens now regularly outperform the SPD in regional elections and in national polls. In 2002 Germany began the shut down of its nuclear facilities, to be completed by 2021. But as Putin turned hostile and the dependence on Russian gas became problematical, the life time of the remaining nuclear power stations was extended in 2010. There were huge protests, and after the Fukushima disaster in 2011, the 2021 date was restored. 40% of electricity production now comes from renewable energy, with the aim to reach 80% by 2050. But the Greens have not been able to force the closure of state subsidized lignite (brown coal) mining: four of the EUs five most polluting plants are in Germany and employ many thousands of workers. Germany is still the world’s sixth largest emitter of CO2. But in 2020 it was enacted, among other green measures, that all coal fired plants must be closed by 2038. Why The Germans Do It Better: Lessons from a Grown-up Country: Notes from a Grown-Up Country Having worked with German brands such as Mont Blanc and a German organisation in Villeroy & Boch AG, I was fortunate to travel to Germany often. The Germany I saw was an eye opener for me. The importance it attached to an optimum work life balance, the core values of day to day living and its obsession with exhibiting empathy than any other society. John Kampfner has very meticulously detailed the evolution of a new Germany after the War and its further development post the fall of the Berlin wall. He has touched upon all aspects be it cultural, economic, social, political and the conflicts the nation and its people faced as the world started to look at Germany as one of the super powers. A must read for all those who want to know why the Germans are better and do it better. Why The Germans Do It Better: Lessons from a Grown-up Country: Notes from a Grown-Up Country This author has many negative views on post war German history and politics. Few positive opinions or facts were mentioned in this book.It's interesting how there is a picture of a mug of beer and a sausage on the cover as if that's a main part of German culture plus the author barely mentions cuisine. It's like writing a book on UK politics and history and promoting chips and warm beer on the cover as one of the most important parts of UK culture.Note that the author suffers from Trump derangement syndrome which adds to his general negative views. I'm not sure who this book is targeted at perhaps a senior British audience??? The book could have been better if it were balanced with both positive and negative facts. Why The Germans Do It Better: Lessons from a Grown-up Country: Notes from a Grown-Up Country Dieses Buch ist ein Eine ausgezeichnete Darstellung Deutschlands, die überraschend genau und präzise ist und von einem Nicht Deutschen geschrieben wurde. Außerdem sehr gut geschrieben und fesselnd! Eine Pflichtlektüre für alle Europäer. Ich bin einen Niederländer, der seit 2000 in Deutschland wohne, erkenne vieles und denke viele Leute außerhalb Deutschlands die mit Deutschland zu tun haben, geschäftlich oder privat, würden Vorteil haben dies Mal zu lesen.Ich habe dieses Buch von den ersten Seiten an geliebt.Dieses Buch bietet einen großartigen Überblick über Deutschland, insbesondere seit dem Fall des Eisernen Vorhangs, Erklärt die deutsche Position, Natur und Lebenseinstellung. Das Buch macht Viele Vergleiche mit Großbritannien. Manche Britten (oder andere nicht Deutsche) mögen dieses Buch als leicht kontrovers empfinden und es nicht mögen, da es manchmal England gegenüber kritisch ist.Ein wunderbar geschriebenes, eingängiges Buch, das viele Informationen bietet und den Weg erklärt, den Deutschland seit der Wiedervereinigung gegangen ist.Wie so vieles, was die Briten über Deutschland schreiben, ist auch dies ein Buch über Großbritannien. Wir müssen das Großbritannien nach dem Brexit in der Tat in einem deutschen Spiegel sehen, nicht in einem globalen Fantasie Spiegel. Dieser Spiegel ist nicht schmeichelhaft: Kampfner sieht ein Großbritannien in einsprachige Mittelmäßigkeit versunken, dessen Bezugspunkte sich bis in die USA und nicht viel weiter erstrecken. Es borgt und kauft ein, und es lebt in einer nostalgischen Traumwelt. Why The Germans Do It Better: Lessons from a Grown-up Country: Notes from a Grown-Up Country