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Thread: Order and Cleanliness, the Two Pillars of German Economic Policy

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    Lightbulb Order and Cleanliness, the Two Pillars of German Economic Policy

    Xenopho of Athens, the founder of economic studies, defined this new disciplin as "the household" (Oiko) "management rules" (nomos). The taste of Germanic peoples for cleanness and Order (Sauberkeit und Ordnung) is probably the most agreed common economic character attributed to these peoples, at least to continental Germanic peoples, namely Germans proper, Austrians, Swiss, Dutch, Flemish and Scandinavians.

    Most people in the world, whether Asians, Africans or closer neighbors such as Frenchmen and Slavs wonder at the irresistible passion of Germans for dustless streets and neat homes without a square inch of staphylococcus, their hate for undisciplined pedestrians crossing outside the zebra as well as the total ignorance of German car drivers about the use of a warning horn. Any workingclass home in Germany and Switzerland has its curtains washed weekly and replaced every year, whereas Dutchwomen make up for their absence by polishing every day their triple glazing windows with a mixture of Kirsch and beer. From Scandinavia, low quality furniture made out of cardboard and pinewood have penetrated every home of our globalized world on the sole assumption that their Mittlestand appearance would make affordable to the dirtiest family the neat and tidy ideal of their national socialist original model. WWII winners have watched with envy these Heidis and Trudis doggedly scrubbing the stairs of roofless mansions and I remember myself brushing my German Grand Mother's carpet strands with an iron comb. This unique quality of continental Germanic people is shared from south to north of Germanic territories, whether catholic or protestant, whether alpinized borrebies or fully fledged nordics, and transcends all political habits from conservative Austria to liberal Holland. Few people remember that Hitler's electoral basis was constituted by housewives preferring their husbands patrolling in local militia rather than getting drunk in some Bierstubbe. But, while everybody dreams having German neighbors, very few people, except the Germans themselves, are ready to sacrifice time, money and lust caring after the cleanliness of its street of residence. Nevertheless, this reputation of Germans is striking enough and still gains the heart of many people, even among those who have suffered from German rule 65 years ago.

    Where does this seldom character of cleanliness comes from ? Has it always occurred in the most ancient Germanic past ? Why aren't the germanicised Brittons not as much affected by these values ? Why, on the contrary, do the Finns from Finland share the same taste for cleanliness, albeit non Germanic ? Can we deduce from this Germanic taste for cleanliness a particular economic rule applicable only to Germanic people ?

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    Senior Member Galloglaich's Avatar
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    Sauberkeit:
    I am reminded of my Grandmother. She may be American, but she is still thoroughly German in regards to cleanliness. She is in her 80's, but still manages to scrub (and I mean scrub) the streets and sidewalks on her block because it will prevent more dirt from making it's way into her home. I would literally eat off of her floor with no reservations.
    Ordunung:
    My (German) wife is the most organized person I know. I sometimes drive her insane with my slightly "relaxed" approach to organization. At these times, she often refers to the "godd*mn Scots" in my ancestry. My daughter competes in Scottish Highland dancing; my wife is always complaining that the competitions are too disorganized and they need a German to organize them. Sometimes this is disadvantageous. One time I saw my wife getting ready to put mayonnaise in a raisin & carrot salad she was preparing. I asked her why, because no one in my family actually likes mayonnaise (I particularly despise it). Her response was that the recipe called for it, therefore it belongs in it, therefore she was putting it in. She finished making it, and then wouldn't touch it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by catchmeifyoukhan View Post
    Why aren't the germanicised Britons not as much affected by these values ?
    God knows, the Germanics who live in Britain are though! :

    At least they were. Our Grans used to scrub their doorsteps with 'donkeystones', and wash the pavement outside even (or perhaps especially) outside the lowliest dwellings. Post-Industrial and Post-Imperial collapse have knocked it out of many of us though. We might get over it, but the fracturing of community is not helping.
    Why, on the contrary, do the Finns from Finland share the same taste for cleanliness, although non Germanic ? Can we deduce from this Germanic taste for cleanliness a particular economic rule applicable only to Germanic people ?
    Forgive a Russophile an aberration, but I must acknowledge that Ordnung is not a particularly Slavonic instinct. Of course, the Revolution and the more recent traumas haven't done much good, and the old Folk Art shows more signs of an orderly mind, see the 'pryalki' or spinning things (what are they in English?!?) that they used to carve in the Old Days, or the towels they used to embroider, but the point still remains. This is not about cleanliness! Russian friends' flats, and especially kitchens are not unhygienic places, far from it! They're just not as organised as I'd prefer! Sometimes in exasperation, I tell them off, and say "No wonder you had to invite Ryurik over to sort you out!" :p

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    Senior Member sophia's Avatar
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    I have noticed how vastly different in attitudes to cleanliness my mother and my father are reflecting their different backgrounds. I find these sorts of differences fascinating.

    But if the Angliscised Britons are different in this regard to the Anglo-Saxons then, if you could show that using genetic testing and basic statistics it would be a very strong bit of evidence for nature over nurture I would think.:p
    A* I’m a dreadful reactionary, Mrs. Helena. I don’t like this progress one bit.
    H* Like Nana.
    A* Yes, like Nana. Does Nana have a prayer book?
    H* A big fat one.
    A* And are there prayers in it for various occurrences in life? Against storms? Against illness?
    H* Against temptation, against floods -
    A* But not against progress, I suppose?
    H* > I think not.
    A* That’s a shame.

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    Yeah my dad (German) was super neat and orderly, and my mom (Anglo-Celtic) not so much. I definitely come down on the (Anglo-?)Celtic side of that one :p
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    My dad (pred. german and welsh) keeps white carpets, constantly cleans and I mean every square foot of his property and hes had multiple strokes. No shoes indoors! My mom (pred. English and Danish will not let the kitchen get messy, she will stay up all night if thats what it takes.

    I have similar tendencies, it just feels good when its all cleaned up!

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    I am not certain but it could be inherited (in a psychological way). During the Middle Ages, all of Europe was a mess and rubbish brings disease. Every European generation learned the hard way from the 1300's untill (some places) the 1860's.

    I wouldn't be too surprised if that "memory (the Black Death, tuberculosis, small pox) still plays a part in our (West-) European subconciousness.

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    Senior Member Elysium's Avatar
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    Cleanliness and orderliness are disappearing traits due to the fact that the only people who carry these traits are the elderly and probably less than half of the parents with teenage children. Also, I would estimate that less than 5% of Germanic Children have these traits.

    So... the fantasticness of cleanliness and orderliness is, sadly, going to die out.
    Perfection.

    War is God's way of teaching Americans geography. - Ambrose Bierce

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elysium View Post
    Cleanliness and orderliness are disappearing traits due to the fact that the only people who carry these traits are the elderly and probably less than half of the parents with teenage children. Also, I would estimate that less than 5% of Germanic Children have these traits.

    So... the fantasticness of cleanliness and orderliness is, sadly, going to die out.
    I find a lot of people both get very stressed when things aren't orderly but also don't have the ...I don't know, training? to be consistently orderly. If they were brought up right they'd be orderly people but with modern "leave them to themselves and they'll figure out everything on their own" parenting, they... don't figure it out.

    Whereas some people just don't care, if they had all the self discipline in the world they'd not be orderly because its not a concern of theirs.

    Even so I think 5% is a low estimate. Some border crossings both within Britain and on the Continent are profound illustrations of different attitudes to order. Also in the old days you couldn't just close your door to the mess outside and organize the folders on your computer instead - the outside was there and you had to deal with it.
    I am very ambivalent about these computer things. Wonderful tools, terrible distractions.
    A* I’m a dreadful reactionary, Mrs. Helena. I don’t like this progress one bit.
    H* Like Nana.
    A* Yes, like Nana. Does Nana have a prayer book?
    H* A big fat one.
    A* And are there prayers in it for various occurrences in life? Against storms? Against illness?
    H* Against temptation, against floods -
    A* But not against progress, I suppose?
    H* > I think not.
    A* That’s a shame.

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    Senior Member Elysium's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sophia View Post
    I find a lot of people both get very stressed when things aren't orderly but also don't have the ...I don't know, training? to be consistently orderly. If they were brought up right they'd be orderly people but with modern "leave them to themselves and they'll figure out everything on their own" parenting, they... don't figure it out.

    Whereas some people just don't care, if they had all the self discipline in the world they'd not be orderly because its not a concern of theirs.

    Even so I think 5% is a low estimate. Some border crossings both within Britain and on the Continent are profound illustrations of different attitudes to order. Also in the old days you couldn't just close your door to the mess outside and organize the folders on your computer instead - the outside was there and you had to deal with it.
    I am very ambivalent about these computer things. Wonderful tools, terrible distractions.
    Yes... the "instinct" is currently still there but I would think that if the lessons that were listed are left out of more than 5 generations the "instinct" will be diluted and normal compared to other peoples.
    Perfection.

    War is God's way of teaching Americans geography. - Ambrose Bierce

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