Locusts, or Incongruency Revisited.

It seems we’re not the only ones who are beginning to see governance model incongruencies behind some of the German economic ills (see two of my last posts (1, 2), and, especially the comments to the last one).

Over at Crooked Timber, Henry Farrell (who knows Germany well, having beeen a research fellow at the The Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods) gets a bit angry at the Economist for their usually biased coverage of Continental European social and economic models, before declaring his support for Franz M?ntefering.
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Hysteria In The Kindergarten.

Someone must have put something really bad in their lemonade. I am at loss for words about the hysteria that the ongoing German class struggle has become (for more information see the comments to my last entry). It’s like a gang fight in kindergarten.

While Nobel Price laureate G?nther Grass (literature, not economics) made headlines with his important realization that even German MEPs are not living in a dimension of their own, and thus – in spite of the constitution’s stipulation that their decision’s are only subject to their conscience – are often subject to pressure from “a ring of lobbyists”, Guido Westerwelle, chairman of the German Liberals, thought he was missing out on all the fun and – in a truly surprising move – lashed out against trade unions, apaprently calling them ‘a plague upon the country’ and ‘traitors of the interests of employees’.

The latest, and most bizarre, development: In what is apparently an attempt to amend Godwin’s Law [“As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.”] , the Jewish German historian Michael Wolffsohn compared the SPD’s chairman Franz M?ntefering’s statement about ‘Financial investors that descended upon companies like locusts’ to the anti-jewish agitation of the Nazi era and demanded that Mr. M?ntefering apologize to all affected by the Nazi dicatatorship.

According to a report from the Frankfurter Neue Presse he wrote among other things (translation mine) –

“…a boycot of companies is called for. And that should nor remind me, as a historian and a Jew, of January 1, 1933? ‘Don’t buy from Jews’ they said back then and just as now it was allegedly all for the good of the people and the simple man against the “greedy capital”, which was called “Jewish capital” then.”

Paul Spiegel, Chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, hurried to tell the press that he finds it absurd to allege antisemitic motives for M?ntefering’s statements, but added that comparisons of humans to animals were generally hapless.

Hapless. Quite right. Like the entire debate. At least now I know that Germany really needs more kindergarten teachers…