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 Germany Eats Young in Attempt to Globalize

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Jul 30, 2001
In Thursday's NY Times, there was a smug little article that read like this: (NYT) GERMANY: WOE, THE ETERNAL STUDENT

The right to study on and on at taxpayers' expense took a blow when a court upheld a state's right to charge tuition from students who overstay their welcome. When Baden- Württemberg created a fee of $448 per semester for a student who studies beyond seven years, four students went to court claiming violation of their right to choose an occupation freely. The German Federal Administrative Court said the state was justified. On average, a German student spends 13.5 semesters at college and finally leaves school at age 32, after breaks for travel, work or military service.

"Serves the suckers right," you USians must be thinking.

But what would you say if I said that this was the latest salvo in a battle against the robust European welfare states?

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First off, you have to remember that Germany's unemployment rate is far higher than ours... it's commensurately harder for Germans graduating from school to get work. Hence, they stay there longer.

In a larger, European context, the right to stay in school for eight years is enshrined with many other hard-won rights, such as the right to doctor prescribed cocaine and marijuana, the right to a government-subsizided sex change, and the right to unlimited, multigenerational welfare.

Americans alternatingly glance longingly at this social-democratic model and deride it for inefficiency; in either case, it's going out of style fast. The endless benificence of the government, which still remains in places like Japan, which still employs (and pensions!) push-button elevator operators, is fading fast.

This, like many other aspects of labor policy in Germany and the EU, is meant to strip the "social democratic" EU, Germany. can no longer be afforded in the age of united Europe. Let's look at a few of the reasons why.

1)To compete with the US and Pacific Rim products, Europe must cut costs. Its governments do this by cutting domestic social spending and raising revenues in new areas. Its businesses must counter strong unions' wage pressures by forcing each country's employees to compete with employees, and products, from a larger pool. Forcing out the permanent students fulfills both cost-cutting functions.

2) What is Germany's role in the EU, and its forbear, the European Economic Community? I believe that it maintains its historic aim - domination of Europe.

Germany's economic behavior is crucial to its current attempt. Where brute force, as exemplified in world wars I and II, failed to accomplish the aim, the apparent innocence of German economic activity, and the active collaboration of elites in its political and economic control of the EU, makes this attempt far more likely to succeed.

With Germany as the preemninent political entity and economy in Europe, and with a process of inevitable centralization of European political and economic policy, it has the best chance it's ever had to prevail.

So, in the final analysis, Germany's actions like slamming the door on its permanent students must be viewed not as a minor inconvenience for pampered middle class kids. In fact, we should be afraid because Germany is breaching one of the final frontiers of social-welfare degradation by attacking this privilege of the middle class. It means, if you're in Europe, that the next reevaluation of your country's education policy may kick YOU off the gravy train.


What about postgraduate education? (5.00 / 1) (#2)
by Anonymous Reader on Mon Jul 30th, 2001 at 12:58:28 PM PST
If you want a Ph.D or to become a medical doctor, you stay in school for quite a bit longer than 7 years. I've known several people here in the US who have attempted that lofty goal. Considering how little money they have during their schooling, how are they going to afford an extra $448? Looks like their loans just got a bit bigger.

Taxing those who want to continue their education will accomplish nothing except anger the middle class, who make up the majority of the population in industrialized nations.

Comments (none / 0) (#4)
by Logical Analysis on Mon Jul 30th, 2001 at 09:58:39 PM PST
You speak of Germany dominating Europe. Ho ho ho! If only things were that simple!

Nationalism is a relic of centuries past. It has no more place in today's society than the sundial does.

Today our master is not our nation, but corporations. The autocratic multiheaded beast of Disney, America Online, Nike, Red Hat, The Gap, and others have chosen themselves as the rulers of man.

Our politicians, who are supposed to serve the people, now only serve mammon. The former might of our nations has been crushed and now only works as a police force for the new corporate rulers.

Corporation bosses have forgetten that money is only a tool, not an end in itself. Greed and the lust for power run rampant in the cubicals of the corporate world.

So how does this relate to the topic at hand?

Simple. Germany is just as much a slave to the transnational corporation as any other country. Via payoffs to the right politicians, corporations subvert nations, and leave empty shells which keep workers enslaved and rights few and far between.

Corporations fear the welfare state (and the church) because they both have higher goals than the pursuit of money. In the case of the welfare state, the purpose is to serve the needs of the citizens. In the case of the the church, it is to serve God (or for Wiccans, Gaea). Both of these goals oppose the goal of corporations. The goal of the corporate is to gain wealth and power by any means necessary.

In the name of becoming competitive, the worker is reduced to a mere automaton, and things such as culture and family become distant dreams.

Hey Logical Analysis, that was a logical analysis! (none / 0) (#5)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Jul 31st, 2001 at 10:26:56 PM PST
You hit the nail on the head there.

I wonder how long it will be before these corporations try and become governments and religions as well ?

Some historical corporations were like governments (east india company eg). And some current ones are like religions!

apples and oranges (none / 0) (#6)
by Anonymous Reader on Mon Aug 6th, 2001 at 06:34:43 PM PST
First off, you have to remember that Germany's unemployment rate is far higher than ours...

That's highly questionable. The US prison population alone reduces the US unemployment rate by possibly as much as 2%. And many unemployed persons in the US simply don't count towards the official unemployment rate. US economic statistics are more make-belief than reality.

To compete with the US and Pacific Rim products, Europe must cut costs.

Why should Europe want to join the US on the race to the (social) bottom?

2) What is Germany's role in the EU, and its forbear, the European Economic Community? I believe that it maintains its historic aim - domination of Europe.

Of course it is. Is this supposed to be some deep, dark secret? Has attempting to peform better economically than other countries suddenly become unacceptable in the international community? Have the US, Britain, Japan, or France given up on their policy goal to grow economically while I wasn't looking? Germany does accept and live by the international treaties and the rules of the international organizations it joins, and has devolved a significant amount of autonomy to the EU.

I suggest people give up on this fixation on Germany. Germans these days are concerned primarily with maintaining their standard of living, not world domination or being a superpower. Those dubious goals are pursued largely by the US alone these days.


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