Can You Feel My Pain?  Germany: “No!”

 Shlomo  Maital  



One of the tools I teach aspiring entrepreneurs is that of empathy – becoming the person whose needs you seek to meet, feeling their pain, their discomfort, their needs.  Only through empathy can we design truly unique, world-changing goods and services that meet unmet needs, which people often are not able to articulate. We need to become like them, to serve them well.

  According to the latest issue of the Economist, Germany is sinking the world’s boats. The cover design, showing the “ship of the world” sinking, captures it well. 

   Why is Germany unable to take decisive action, to resolve the EU (and world) crisis?

   Because Germany is like the rich kid, who cannot fathom what it’s like to be poor.

   Here are the numbers.  Germany has a current account surplus (gap between money flowing in and money flowing out) of $202 b. (!), for the 12 months ending in March.  This is the largest in the world, bigger than even China ($197 b.) or Saudi Arabia ($174 b.).

   Why? Because Germany is benefiting from the falling euro, which makes German exports (to China, among others) very cheap.  German is profiting from the pain of Greece, Spain, and Italy, whose troubles (generating 25% unemployment in Greece and in Spain) are driving the euro down, making Germany rich. 

    The rate of unemployment in Germany?  6.7 per cent, in May.  No, friends, young Germans are not leaving Germany, bailing out to find jobs abroad.  But young Greeks and young Spaniards are. 

    So why is Germany unwilling to help nations in trouble?  Why is Angela Merkel talking about a two-tier Europe (have’s and have-not’s)?  Perhaps because, if I’m all right, and you’re not, it’s your fault and your problem.  Just because you’re having a crisis, Germany is saying to Greece and Spain, does not mean I have a problem.

    The point is, Germany DOES have a problem.  If the EU and euro group collapse, Germany will pay a huge price.   It will realize it too late.