Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Rise of the Fourth Reich?

It may have been a bad idea to send a German. And his name certainly didn’t help matters.
When Horst Reichenbach arrived in Athens recently to head a new European Union task force to help the country deal with its debt, the Greek media instantly dubbed him “Third Reichenbach.”
Cartoons appeared of him in Nazi uniform. A Greek tabloid showed a photo of his office with the headline: “The new Gestapo headquarters.”
The Greeks are not alone in harboring suspicions toward Germany, which occupied the country during World War II. The British conservative press is up in arms. The Daily Mail went so far as to accuse the Germans [3] of attempting to use the euro crisis to “conquer Europe” and establish a “Fourth Reich.” Meanwhile in Poland, Germany’s supposed imperial ambitions became an issue in the recent elections.
And as the euro crisis has deepened, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has pushed for the EU to have a greater say in the domestic governance of the euro zone’s seventeen members. Among other measures, she has called for real European power over countries’ budgets.
Read the rest at Business Insider
There's No Getting Around It, Germany Is Taking Over Europe
by Siobhan Dowling, GlobalPost
(h/t Kevin Fathi via email)

This is developing in a dangerous direction socially, politically and economically. Too many memories still lively. Greeks are not alone in this perception.

The rest of the article provides a good analysis of the European situation in terms of where it is now and where it came from.

Here's the nub of it:
“The counterpart to Germany living within its means is that others are living beyond their means;” said Philip Whyte, senior research fellow at the London-based Centre for European Reform. “So if Germany is worried about the fact that other countries are sinking further into debt, it should be worried about the size of its trade surpluses, but it isn’t.”
Germany is running a mercantilist empire in Europe. And German workers are not sharing in the bounty either.
Another key fact is that while other countries regard Germany as an economic colossus with the means (if not the will) to help, the reality for its workers is at odds with this image. While wages increased significantly in many other countries over the past decade, in Germany they have remained stagnant for years. A report released by the Berlin-based German Institute for Economic Research last week showed that when adjusted for inflation, wages actually declined by 4.2 percent over the past decade.
In part, this is due to the mushrooming of low-paid, precarious jobs, a result of the labor law liberalization that helped boost growth. Yet even in highly unionized jobs, wages have not risen significantly.
“There has been a large shift of income from labor to capital,” said Whyte, at the Centre for European Reform. “In other words, German firms are now sitting on large piles of cash, but German workers have not been getting pay rises.”


beowulf said...

The Greeks are not alone in harboring suspicions toward Germany, which occupied the country during World War II. The British conservative press is up in arms.

It is fun watching the Brits tee off on the Germans. You know, I've always thought Corporal Newkirk was Col. Hogan's best man.

googleheim said...

The Germans still owe Greeks $12 billion in gold from WW II plundering of Greece by Germany.

We have covered Greece thing from this blog for over 1 year anticipating many things that have become reality.

Ryan Harris said...

German industry is booming right now as a direct result of the Euro-crisis keeping the euro in the 130 range. Suppress the value of the Euro, and the the large mechanical and civil engineering products produced in Germany boost domestic employment. Merkel's #1 promise on election was to reduce unemployment in the country and she succeeded brilliantly. It isn't an accident that Merkel won't allow the the crisis to end. It seems like traders get a new present from a European politician making some goofy announcement daily. Allow one of the countries to issue Mosler Bonds or another comprehensive solution and what happens, the Euro goes right back to 160 and German unemployment sky rockets. Merkel has to keep the traders, investors and markets betting against the Euro. Kind of perverse to listen to her talk about austerity and other nonsense for her neighbors when you realize her career would be over if the turmoil ended.

badger said...

I think the "fourth Reich" is correct and the modern analogies to the third Reich are stunning.

I remember discussing the "euro" with a German merchant banker when on holiday in Indonesia in 1996. (was it a coincidence that the Indonesian symbol of good luck is the swastika and that it was emblazoned on the house opposite our cafe?)

What stuck me was his candour. It was this merchant banker that explained the concept of the fourth reich of taking over europe by financial strength rather than tanks.

He even predicted that we would have chamberlain (euro - "peace in our time" merchants) and sceptics - Churchillian's who would capture the true mood of Britain and keep the UK out.

He even predicted how it would end, and its coming true.

Heil Merkel!