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Woo Hoo!!! Way to go Old Europe!

German jobless rate at new record:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4307303.stm
Permalink Godless Visigoth 
March 1st, 2005
Well, do you (or anyone) know why they have this level of unemployment?

Saying Germans are lazier because of unemployment, is like saying Americans are inherently criminal because of our world-beating prison rate. There are resaons for both. I just don't know the reasons for Germany's problems.
Permalink Tayssir John Gabbour 
March 1st, 2005
Germany is hugely dependant on exports, especially to the United States.
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 1st, 2005
A considerable amount of the unemployment is in the old East Germany which still hasn't caught up in lots of ways with the Bundes Republik.

The German economy is also significantly dependant upon its own consumers and they've not been spending (though many have the money) because of the uncertainty in the economy. They don't seem willing to spend their way out of a recession the way others do.

Even so, the German economy is one of the strongest in Europe, which means its one of the strongest in the world.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
March 1st, 2005
Germany also has strict labor laws that, among other things, makes it difficult to fire/lay people off.

If it is hard to get rid of someone in a downtrun, you are cautious about hiring in an upturn.
Permalink  
March 1st, 2005
Lowest since the 1930's - hmmm - where have I heard that before?
Permalink Actively Disengaged 
March 1st, 2005
Yay, more Germans are unemployed! Goody for me! How, you ask? Er, uh...I don't know.
Permalink Captain Schadenfreude 
March 1st, 2005
German workers work some of the shortest hours in the world but tney also are among the most efficient with one of the highest productivity rates. The two aren't coincdental.

The reason the figures are so high this month is that they have changed the way being unemployed is calculated and about 500,000 have been added to the figures as a result.

Nevertheless, economic growth is still glacial (maybe 1% this year). The strength of the Euro affecting sales outside the EU may have something to do with it.
Permalink Stephen Jones 
March 1st, 2005
The reasons cited most often are:

- inflexible labor laws (laying of is rather difficult, so employers think twice before hiring)
- high tax and social security burden on labor (add about 50% to whatever you pay someone for tax, social security, health insurance etc.)
- reunification (just think what it would mean to the us to adopt mexico)

Add to that the fact that germans have a tendency to be pessimistic and unwilling to take risks and you have a nice little economic problem.

Not that the us is much better: if you put unemployed, homeless, incarcarated into one bucket, the percentages would probably be the same on both sides of the atlantic.
Permalink pessimistic german 
March 1st, 2005
oh, and one more thing: there is no reason to cheer bad news. Remember that Old Europe is one of the best customers for high tech, music, movies etc.

Cheering someone else's misery is very european actually. Americans have usually understood the there-is-no-pie-theory: wealth is not an absolute sum which is redistributed: if they get less, i get more. Instead, it is generated and everybody profits from somebody else's success.
Permalink pessimistic german 
March 1st, 2005
Interesting point: How is the unemployment rate calculated outside the U.S.--Does it include *every* legal adult who'e capable of working? Are stay-at-home parents considered "unemployed"? Seriously, you've piqued my curiosity on this.
Permalink cubiclegrrl 
March 1st, 2005
It definitely includes women who refuse prostitution:
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/jan/05013106.html

Philo
Permalink Philo 
March 1st, 2005
I heard somewhere that it's only people who are on unemployment. The rest are assumed to not be seeking work, or to be unemployable or something. They probably get their figure a different way (which someone here will no doubt point out), but it's certainly not every eligible adult.
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 1st, 2005
(by the way - I'm not being judgemental; just commenting on a weird little quirk in the law of unintended consequences)

Philo
Permalink Philo 
March 1st, 2005
Thats the million dollar question. Depends on what side of the isle is making up the numbers. One employement number is limited to a certain set of businesses. The other also polls smaller/younger businesses.
Thus the "I added jobs" & "No you didn't" dialog during the US presidential race.
Permalink apw 
March 1st, 2005
Thanks for the link Philo that's... fascinating.
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 1st, 2005
Wow...government pimps...
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
March 1st, 2005
> saying Americans are inherently criminal

Well, it could certainly be so.
Permalink son of parnas 
March 1st, 2005
There has been work on alternative measures.
http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t12.htm
http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/1995/10/art3exc.htm

Prison is one large way to cut down unemployment numbers. It also provides a cheap work force which can't organize, the public pays for health benefits, etc.
Permalink Tayssir John Gabbour 
March 1st, 2005
I thought population growth was another key factor. Germany has such a low birth rate that they will need to increasingly rely on immigration to sustain economic growth. I'm not up to date on the issue, but I thought that between the birth rate and the immigratiuon rate, they were still not growing enough to spur economic growth.

>>Americans are inherently criminal because of our world-beating prison rate.

29% of our federal prisoners are illegal aliens, so there's a few other nations that can share some of that notoriety. :-)
Permalink Cowboy coder 
March 1st, 2005
> It definitely includes women who refuse prostitution

Not really:
http://www.snopes.com/media/notnews/brothel.asp
Permalink smurf 
March 1st, 2005
Pheh, the truth is boring.
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 1st, 2005
>> Wow...government pimps... <<

I can't find the reference now, but among the seized assets of the 1980's Keating S&L scandal were a couple of Nevada brothels.

So, yes, you were getting screwed by the goverment.
Permalink example 
March 1st, 2005
The mention of brothels reminds me that at one time the US Government actually operated Mustang Ranch for a while before it was closed down.

Naturally, a lot of "screw the government" jokes came out of the woodwork...
Permalink Anonymous coward 
March 1st, 2005
Wow. I heard that story on WTOP (really good news radio). I'm amazed. Thanks!

Philo
Permalink Philo 
March 1st, 2005
The mustang ranch closed down? damnit, now we have to choose a new location for our annual moderator party.
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 1st, 2005
If I'm correct, I think it was up for sale on eBay a whlie back.
Permalink Anonymous coward 
March 1st, 2005
Yes, it was the Mustang Ranch -- couldn't remember the name.

Thanks for the memory jog, AC.
Permalink example 
March 1st, 2005
I don't know where the the idea of inflexibility in the German firing process came up. It's dead simple and straigt forward. Every company with more than 12 employees has a board (if I recall the name correctly it's "Arbeitsbirat") which is a group of employees and employers.

If you want somebody fired then yuo go to these guysand say
"I want to fire X for Y reason". Done that's it. It's over, finsihed, no one can do anything about it.

Now if you don't do that you can't fire the guy. If you give a false reason, all hell will break loose, but other than that there is absolutely nothing to it. X will get his notice and leave the company

So I guess that the inability to fire somebody at will with no notice and no reason is called inflexible.
Permalink Peter Monsson 
March 1st, 2005
This is a bullshit statistical artifact. One of the key reasons the US unemployment rate has fallen is that Bush refused to extend UI benefits from six to nine months in November 2003. Voila! Instant statistical improvement as long-term unemployed are thrown off the rolls.

Also look at massive uptick in workers drawing long-term disability benefits, which is quickly becoming an alternative unemployment benefits system.

Lastly, look at labor force participation (percentage of non-disabled adults in the workforce). This has also declined by more than two full percentage points since 2000 as people drop out of the labor market completely.

Anyway, have fun laughing at "Old Europe" until your job is shipped to India. Good luck with those interest-only mortgage payments on a Wal-Mart paycheck.
Permalink dave 
March 1st, 2005
The eco-nazis (Green Party) are working day and night to further impoverish both the employed and unemployed workers.
*******
Trouble for German Wind Projects

A report claiming that a boost to wind generation in Germany will cause a massive blowout in energy costs has been sent back to its authors to be "re-edited", The Daily Telegraph reports.

The 490-page study was commissioned by the German Parliament to look at the likely effects of doubling the country's energy output from wind farms by 2015. Germany now has 15,000 wind generators, the most in Europe, and the expansion will push the share of wind energy in total generation well beyond 12 per cent.

German magazine Der Spiegel published leaked details of the unpublished report, which says overall energy costs for consumers will climb from EUR1.4 billion to EUR5.4 billion, a rise of 3.8 times, if the country doubles its wind generation output by 2015. German Environment Minister Juergen Trittin, a Green party member, is reported as saying he did not want the findings to be misinterpreted.

In the meantime, the German newspaper Die Welt reports (Feb 4) that German banks are increasingly unwilling to finance offshore wind farms because of unknown and presumably large technical risks. The German govt is considering federal guarantees. So the citizens will have to pay twice -as consumers and as taxpayers.
*****************
From: http://www.sepp.org/weekwas/2005/Feb.%2012.htm
Permalink Mike 
March 1st, 2005
When Germany stops burning so much brown coal and oil is being used for more intelligent purposes than heat and transportation, those wind farms might still be running.
Permalink trollop 
March 2nd, 2005
If as I believe not unlikely, over the next 20 or so years the US dollar goes to 3 to 4 per euro and the Asia dollar rate goes to 2 to 3 per euro, won't that that make things interesting.

The greens won't have to worry about any nasty factories. Those that aren't is Asia will be in the US. The nasty farms could probably all be converted to parkland. Europe could be the Green vision of Heaven on earth.
Permalink SSG Sam Eaton AUS ret 
March 2nd, 2005
---"If as I believe not unlikely, over the next 20 or so years the US dollar goes to 3 to 4 per euro and the Asia dollar rate goes to 2 to 3 per euro, won't that that make things interesting."----

Your economics seems even more divorced from reality than your politics.

Apart from the fact that I don't know what on earth the "Asia dollar" is, the exchange rate between the euro and the dollar is within the normal fluctuation. The dollar ahs fluctuated between $1.05 to $2.10 to the pound sterling in the last twenty years. http://www.miketodd.net/encyc/dollhist-graph.htm
Permalink Stephen Jones 
March 2nd, 2005
Stephen Jones

I believe that the current $ exchange rate is unsustainable. Almost every economist in the world agrees. I was stationed in Japan shortly after the $ dropped from 360 yen to 300 yen. the current rate is in the 100 yen to the $ range. I also remember the British Pound being worth $5.00. God has not ordered that the Euro and $ will always be roughly equal in value like you seem to think.

The Asian dollar; China, Viet Nam and a number of other countries have their currency linked to the $. As these currencies are linked to the $. THEY RAISE AND FALL WITH THE $. They basically act very much like the $. These countries may or may not make adjustments in the rate of exchange from time to time

Now in case of Viet Nam, from personal observation, I can state that the $ has gone up roughly 10% in the last decade relative to the Vietnamese Piaster. Viet Nam tends to let its currency float more than say China. In 1995 the exchange rate was slightly over 14,000 piaster to the $. Three weeks ago it was in the low to mid 15,000s.

For the totally Economic illiterate such as you, The Asian dollar has been the subject of extensive discussion in such publications as "The Economist." Then I doubt that you read serious British publications.
Permalink SSG Sam Eaton AUS ret 
March 3rd, 2005
Mike, that website is hardly the most unbiased source of information I've ever seen.
Permalink  
March 3rd, 2005
-----"For the totally Economic illiterate such as you, The Asian dollar has been the subject of extensive discussion in such publications as "The Economist." Then I doubt that you read serious British publications"----

It's been discussed so often that a google search on the economist.com site for the string "Asian dollar" brings up zero hits. I'd lay off the Mekong whisky.

Presumably what you are trying to say in your clumsy way is that you forsee a future where the Euro rises from $1.32 which is the rate today and almost the highest the euro or the ecu has ever been (the lowest was $0.86) to $3 or $4. I have not come across any economic commentator suggesting that the dollar is going to lose its value at such a phenomenal rate, particularly as US inflation is not significantly higher than Eurozone inflation. Indeed with present inflation parity it is pretty well inconceivable, and would cause massive economic turmoil both in the States and round the world.


----" also remember the British Pound being worth $5.00."---- The last time that was true was in 1877. I presume you lied about your age so they let you fight in Vietnam at the age of 90?


---"and the Asia dollar rate goes to 2 to 3 per euro,"---
I presume what you are referring to here is what is sometimes called Breton Woods II or the East Asian dollar standard. That is the tendency of Asian Central banks to intervene to keep their currency within a certain narrow band with respect to the dollar. You are correct in saying that many economists predict this system is likely to suffer rough weather in the next couple of years and may even colllapse. However that is in relation to the dollar, and nobody but yourself is suggesting that the basket of Asain currencies will halve in value compared to the Euro as you are. In fact the general opinion is that the undevalued currencies (mainly the Chinese Yuan Remembibi) will be forced to gain, not only against the dollar but agains the Euro as well. Why economies that are increasing their GNP at a rate of 4-11% should see their currency collapse against a eurozone with 1-3% averaga growth is beyond everybody.

If you are going to talk about exchange rates and economics at least bother to look up the figures.
Permalink Stephen Jones 
March 3rd, 2005
I have to side with Stephen on this one, "Asian Dollar" turns up 10,100 hits in Google out of 8,058,044,651 pages they claim to index.

Not having knowledge that exists on only 0.001% of the web is hardly illiterate. Even "Sam Eaton" turns up 3,550 hits (0.0004%). So what you're saying is roughly the equivelant of "You're an idiot beause you never heard of Sam Eaton."
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 3rd, 2005
Restrict the search to the English pages and it gets you 3480 hits out of 2,100,000 when you don't specify the exact phrase.

But it's not that it's not fairly obscure, like Sam Eaton. Sam Eaton exists, whilst the Asian dollar doesn't, except as a project proposed by some economists and politicians in the same way the Euro was thirty years ago. Of those 3,480 hits you will find they are referring to Asian dollar bonds, or Asian dollar reserves or the East Asian dollare standard or whatever, but there is no such thing as the Asian dollar, not even in internal banking practice as for example the ecu existed until 1999 or the Saudi Riyal is pegged against something called Standard Drawing Rights which is SSR3.751 to a dollar.

Reading Sam's original post about the "Asain dollar being 2 or 3 to the euro" would give you the impression that you wre talking about some kind of actual fiduciary bond with a present exchange value against the euro, and it just doesn't exist.
Permalink Stephen Jones 
March 3rd, 2005
Results 11 - 20 of about 307,000 for Sam Eaton


I'd never tried that
Permalink SSG Sam Eaton AUS ret 
March 4th, 2005
Results 1 - 10 of about 980 for "sam eaton".

It doesn't really count without the quotes.
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 4th, 2005

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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