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Thread: Is Germany Really Becoming a Bully ?

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    Senior Member Carl's Avatar
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    Is Germany Really Becoming a Bully ?



    Not too sure what to make of this post - but it belongs here I think -- and comes from a respected source ! Times are getting hard for some it seems .............


    Bullying Germany gets a free ride with its beggar-thy-neighbour policy


    For the first time in my life, I am starting to feel twinges of anti-German sentiment, writes Ambrose Evans-Pritchard.

    By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
    Telegraph 15 Dec 2008



    This does not come naturally. My father insisted on German au pair girls during my childhood as his gesture towards post-War comity. I later did a stint at Mainz University dabbling in Kant (great) and Hegel (a fraud ).


    But even Teutophiles who think that Germany has played an enlightened role for 60 years are losing patience with the antics of the finance ministry and Bundesbank, and with the dictatorial turn in Berlin's EU strategy.

    Put bluntly, Germany is pursuing a beggar-thy-neighbour policy. It is not fulfilling its responsibilities as the world's top exporter and pivotal power of Europe's monetary union. It is leaching off global demand, even as it patronizes Anglo-Saxons, Latins, and Slavs.


    No doubt binge debtors in the Anglosphere are much to blame for this crisis . But Germany rode the boom too. It made those Porsches and BMWs driven by the new rich. Its banks are among the most leveraged in the world.

    (( but they seem to work better surely ....))

    Nor should we not forget that the European Central Bank set interest rates at recklessly low levels early this decade to help Germany out of a slump. Can this be separated from the property bubbles in Club Med, Holland, Ireland, Scandinavia, and Eastern Europe now causing such grief?

    (( But Germany IS at the heart of Europe.....))

    Within the EMU, Germany has gained a competitive edge against France, Italy, and Spain for year after year by screwing down wages. In pre-euro days the North-South rift did not matter. The D-Mark revalued. Balance was restored. In monetary union it is toxic.

    Germany now has a current account surplus of 7pc of GDP. It is hollowing the industrial core of Latin Europe. Yes, Club Med needs to pull its socks up, but the flip side of the coin is that Germany is in breach of EMU's implicit contract.

    The rules of the game are that surplus countries should boost demand. The Gold Standard collapsed in the early 1930s because they – then the US and France – refused to do so. The burden of adjustment fell on deficit states, who had to tighten yet harder. The downward spiral dragged everybody into depression.

    Germany and China are today's violators . Their trade surpluses over the last 12 months have been $283bn and $279bn, respectively. They are exporting excess capacity.

    Peer Steinbrück, Germany's finance minister, seems in no mood to yield, preferring to mock the "crass Keynesianism" of the British. (())

    Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman was so disgusted that he broke away from his Stockholm banquet to pen The Economic Consequences of Herr Steinbrück.

    "The world economy is in a terrifying nosedive, visible everywhere. The high degree of European economic integration gives Germany a special strategic role right now, and Mr Steinbrück is doing a remarkable amount of damage. There's a huge multiplier effect at work; it is multiplying the impact of German boneheadedness," he said.

    Meanwhile, the Bundesbank has been doing its bit for depression. Germany's two ECB members – caught in a 1970s time-warp – orchestrated the mad rate rise in July. They are now trying to head off cuts in January, saying the ECB cannot risk using up its ammo. Even Switzerland's uber-hawks have ditched that doctrine.

    Worst of all is Germany's nefast role in dredging up the EU Constitution (Lisbon Treaty) after it had been rejected by French and Dutch voters. Having made one blunder, they are now making another by refusing to accept the Irish verdict as well.

    Why are they so maniacal about this? Because the treaty establishes German primacy in the EU's voting structure. This is raw national interest – camouflaged, of course.

    So Brian Cowen – already the most reviled Taoiseach since the creation of the Irish state – is bludgeoned into a second vote. This is what now passes for EU statecraft. A tactical case can be made, that fear will induce Irish voters to change their minds as GDP contracts by 4pc next year. Even if that proves correct, will it convince anybody that the European Project is advancing with democratic assent?

    What if the Irish vote 'No' again? Will Germany carry out its threat to "suspend" them from the EU, and thereby risk a final revulsion against Europe and the unravelling of the post-War order?

    One notes that Germany has acquired the taste for bullying small nations. Mr Steinbrück threatened to "take a whip" to Switzerland . The sooner Germans take a whip to Mr Steinbrück and all he stands for, the better. Otherwise the rest of us will have to start examining our options.

    -------


    oo er .... what can be said here?

    Is the EU really such a good thing as it is ?

    I am not sure that Germany should be turned into a social security system for the rest of Europe .... but their tougher financial system seems to be working better that a good many others right now ......

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    Senior Member Frozen Ash's Avatar
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    I saw an article on the BBC News at Ten a week or two ago where Brown and Sarkozy criticised Germany for not offering a bail-out package similar to those the UK and France has for our economies. The article went on to explain that while Germany is at risk from the current economic problems, their economies are not at such high risk as UK, France, USA etc., because it is built on different market foundations, foundations which aren't as exposed to the financial tremors.

    The way I see it, if Germany reacts in a way that is appropriate for it's economy, it shouldn't be pressured into making bold and painful economic gestures like the UK has. In fact, the argument from Brown and Sarkozy that Germany should suffer as much as the rest of Europe, despite it not being in as much danger as us, sounds like the bullying.

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    Senior Member Carl's Avatar
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    Yes - I tend to agree and thats what its all about I suspect. Its complicated because of the centralized EU and the European Bank - but they tend to be fairly strict. Brown et al have lots to money to give away however since its only future taxpayers who will face the bill --- and hopefully , Labour wont be there by then !! : even so , there's something wrong there surely ............

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    This is raw national interest – camouflaged, of course.
    Horror! how dear they look after their OWN interests first! (end sarcasm)

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    Senior Member SwordOfTheVistula's Avatar
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    Paul Krugman is an idiot, so if he is throwing a fit about Germany's monetary policy, that's a good sign.

    These other countries seem to be doing what the US is doing, which is to ramp up the policies which caused the problem in the first place. Then they are whining for the Germans to bail them out.
    Contact Congress on immigration
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    "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." --Ben Franklin

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    Senior Member Carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SwordOfTheVistula View Post
    Paul Krugman is an idiot, so if he is throwing a fit about Germany's monetary policy, that's a good sign.

    These other countries seem to be doing what the US is doing, which is to ramp up the policies which caused the problem in the first place. Then they are whining for the Germans to bail them out.
    One can only hope that Germany policy will in no way shift because of the economic failure of others! Germany is anyway not without its own internal problems ..........

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