Groko Germany can be summed up in one word: complacency. Sitting there and saying why change anything, it's all good? To itself and to the rest of the EU by the way also. This year alone, Germany is blocking EU-level action: climate strategy, tax transparency, an anti-discrimination directive, a law against the export of surveillance technology to dictatorships, the protection of whistleblowers, emissions limits and the European solution against tax fraud amounting to 50 billion euros annually.

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Issue 20/2019

The golden years are over

Why the German economic miracle threatens a sudden end ...

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The "Tagesspiegel" writes: "It has cost the Germans many sympathies that they act as permanent blockers and preventers." For decades, simultaneous hesitancy and arrogance have been attributes attributed to Germany from outside.

Now threatens a downturn, it is said, about on the title of the current SPIEGEL. Maybe, but in any case, the next recession will be a homemade digital recession, not least because of Germany's defective self-perception. You eat of the reserves and imagine that it just keeps on going as the rest of the world prepares for digitization. Best or worse, worst of all, is the lack of investment. In relation to the remaining economic strength, catastrophically little is invested.

German federal governments have for nearly twenty years agreed on the sexist and false leitmotif of the "Swabian housewife". The Groko has pressed the debt brake into the constitution in 2009, Finance Minister Scholz has taken over from his predecessors the obsession of the black zero. Under Merkel can only be Minister of Finance, who ecstatically consolidates.

Investments of minus 70 billion euros

This attitude - save on everything - seeps through the administrations. Since 2003, there has been a gap in municipalities' infrastructure investment in the meantime. "Net investment of the state" is the technical term: what one spends on infrastructure minus the consumption of value through wear and tear.

In Germany there is a yardstick for periods of investment need: reunification. After German reunification, municipalities invested nearly fifty billion euros in infrastructure in five years' time. Since 2003, however, the value minus (!) Is seventy billion. The decay is faster than the investment. According to the KfW survey, the shortage reached a record level of 160 billion euros in 2018. The lack of state infrastructure in the broadest sense: buildings such as schools, transport routes, all sorts of networks. In particular, digitization is also a question of education, and education needs state money, but: black zero, so school offline, lack of teachers, digital educational desert. Incidentally, last year public funds registered a surplus of nearly € 54 billion, of which over € 20 billion was spent on education.

From this mismatch feed many other problems. Since 2000, around one and a half million social housing units have disappeared. This is due to the miscalculation of needs, lower investment and the fact that many countries have sold their housing associations to work for, hurray, the black zero. Under Wowereit and Sarrazin, Berlin has been able to achieve a fabulous price for its largest housing association, which - please stick to the ready-made bitewood - was at one-fifteenth of today's value.

Absurd religion of saving

The "black zero" as a result of the debt brake is now being questioned by scientists from all camps, from progressive to liberal to conservative. From trade union economist Sebastian Dullien so: "The debt brake is a huge flop." By Michael Hüther, director of the employer-related Institute of German Business, so: The debt brake "is an urgently needed modernization and growth policy in the way". He has to express this cautiously, because the economic side has long found the debt brake completely dead. But Hüther could also admonish his own clientele, which was also captured by the absurd religion of saving. KfW quote from the end of 2018: "Companies more savers than investors". The companies of the country are distinguished on average by their brute satiety, although for them the success of digitization is necessarily connected with massive investments. Would.

No sow invests adequately, so one can summarize the area-wide effect of the short-sighted, bad, wrong, unwise and asocial Groko debt brake along with vorigitaler economic policy. And now comes the digitization. Which can easily become a complete disaster for Germany.

Deliberation and arrogance lead to the assumption that the formulas of success of yesterday and today still work tomorrow. Then, the car industry has to be completely rebuilt, which somehow still hopes that digitization for them consists only of the switch from diesel to electric motor. Then because of "miserable infrastructure" (Nato-General Nielson) medium-sized world market leaders outside of major cities have to send their data by hand, I suggest as the successor of the pigeons for hard disk hawks.

Then Germany is confronted worldwide with the fact of its digital backwardness. Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, has some time ago introduced an intelligent street lighting system, which sensory-wise provides light where there is a lot of traffic and otherwise saves a lot of energy. By contrast, BER could not switch off the lights at BER airport in Berlin over the years because one did not know how. One day you will be able to tell your grandchildren around the campfire: Yes, Germany has saved itself up to the developing country. But for a wonderful, short time, our zero was jet black!

Podcast question:
What do you do against German complacency?