Stuck In A Weimar World? Rich and Poor

November 21st, 2011

Published on The Psi-Fi Blog (A Sideways Look at Psychology and Finance), Nov. 17, 2011.

… Of course, if you delve deep enough, the problem is psychological, and is magnified because the Eurozone is made up of independent countries following their own paths. But at the heart of the problem is Germany, the country that has benefited more than any other from the euro and which is now unwilling to accept the consequences of its Faustian pact. For the Germans it’s heads they win, tails we all lose, because they’re stuck in a Weimar world.

Germany vs Greece: 

Let’s just compare and contrast Germany and Greece; although Greece stands as a proxy for almost any of the indebted Southern European states. German industry offers high quality products of superb design at fiercely competitive prices. The country is modern, efficient, possessed of wonderful communication links and a superb technical education system. Its government bureaucracy is staffed by intelligent and incorruptible officials who believe that serving their country is the highest duty. Its trade unions have voluntarily agreed pay deals that have seen workers’ salaries drop in real terms over the last decade, in order to maintain the country’s productivity. In short, Germany is a model of a modern democratic state.

In contrast, Greece is a political nightmare, whose main export is olives and which has an infrastructure which was less than modern when Socrates was a boy. Its geography is so challenging that it’s rumoured the mountain goats have evolved suckers for feet while, allegedly, many officials regard their salary as an adjunct to the wealth they can extract through corruption. Government salaries have soared in the last decade, while productivity hasn’t noticeably risen from a low base. Trying to run Greece is akin to herding cats, and big ones with suspiciously pointy teeth at that.

Yoking Germany and Greece together in an economic union with a common currency ensured that the interest rates Greece paid dropped to the same level as that of Germany. This was because of something called “convergence”, the concept that all of the Eurozone countries were financially equivalent. This is the kind of idea that bond markets have when isolated from the real-world and fed too much coffee.

Too Many Pygmy Goats: … //

… The Psychology of the Euro:

The Eurozone has benefited no country more than Germany and for it to continue then the massive trade surpluses run by Germany as a result of this need to be redistributed across the other countries in the union. Otherwise the whole scheme is just a way of impoverishing the rest of Europe – which, ultimately, will be felt in the falling earnings of German companies.

Of course, the psychology of the situation makes this virtually impossible. The haunting fear of inflation means that the only possible solution, to German minds, is that Greece and the rest of the spendthrift nations must obey the rules and become German clones. That this is both physically and mentally impossible is the festering canker at the heart of European union. The only question now is: can German psychology change when pushed to the brink, or will the euro experiment fail? Well, put it this way: it’s probably not a bet any of us want to be risking our life savings on. (full long text).

Links:

Living without money, a film;

Life Without Money: Is it possible to live comfortably in today’s American culture without money or a job?

Moneyless man reveals how to live a cashless life without starving, on The Guardian;

… I Know It Is Possible;

Links in german with Jochen Hörisch:

Jochen Hörisch on de.wikipedia;

Jochen Hörisch on YouTube:
- Was hat ausgerechnet Religion mit Geld zu tun? Jochen Hörisch: Der Schein trügt, 0.59 min;
- Geld von Gott – money from god, 1.41 min;
- Jochen Hoerisch – Eucharistie, Geld, YouTube, 64.07 min;
- Auf einen Kaffee : 6. Sendung komplett, 201.47 min (yes, 3.21 … hours), Uploaded on July 14, 2009;
- Geld: Die neue Religion – Jochen Hörisch im Gespräch mit Norbert Bischofberger, on SF1, Nov. 20, 2011.

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