Tag Archives: germany

The Germans are worried about high-tech corporate cowboys

12 Oct
Anna Sauerbrey, an editor of the daily, Der Tagesspiegel, in today’s NY Times:
How can Germany be both afraid of and in love with technology, and the companies that make it? The key is to look beyond those things, to the corporate model they represent.
The true origin of the conflict lies in the economic culture innate to those former Silicon Valley start-ups — now giants — that are taking the European markets by storm. To create and grow an enterprise like Amazon or Uber takes a certain libertarian cowboy mind-set that ignores obstacles and rules.
Silicon Valley fears neither fines nor political reprimand. It invests millions in lobbying in Brussels and Berlin, but since it finds the democratic political process too slow, it keeps following its own rules in the meantime. Uber simply declared that it would keep operating in Germany, no matter what the courts ruled. Amazon is pushing German publishers to offer their books on its platform at a lower price — ignoring that, in Germany, publishers are legally required to offer their books at the same price everywhere.
It is this anarchical spirit that makes Germans so neurotic. On one hand, we’d love to be more like that: more daring, more aggressive. On the other hand, the force of anarchy makes Germans (and many other Europeans) shudder, and rightfully so. It’s a challenge to our deeply ingrained faith in the state.
Very interesting. She’s right to be skeptical about these high-tech corporate swashbucklers. And it’s clear that the nation state is increasingly in trouble (see this post on virtual feudalism). If national governments can’t regulate these behemoths, who can?
It’s time to convene the Jivometric Advisory Committee of the New World Order.
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Henry Ford, When Capitalists Cared – NYTimes.com

3 Sep

In Germany, still a manufacturing and export powerhouse, average hourly pay has risen five times faster since 1985 than in the United States. The secret of Germany’s success, says Klaus Kleinfeld, who ran the German electrical giant Siemens before taking over the American aluminum company Alcoa in 2008, is “the social contract: the willingness of business, labor and political leaders to put aside some of their differences and make agreements in the national interests.”

In short, German leaders have practiced stakeholder capitalism and followed the century-old wisdom of Henry Ford, while American business and political leaders have dismantled the dynamics of the “virtuous circle” in pursuit of downsizing, offshoring and short-term profit and big dividends for their investors.

via Henry Ford, When Capitalists Cared – NYTimes.com.

10,000 March at Frankfurt Occupy Protest Rally – NYTimes.com

19 May

Occupy is alive and well in Frankfurt, Germany:

German police say some 10,000 activists are participating in a major rally of the local Occupy movement in Frankfurt.

Police spokesman Ruediger Regis said Saturday more protesters are still flowing into the city center of continental Europe’s biggest financial hub.

Organizers have said they expect some 20,000 protesters.

The protest group calling itself Blockupy denounces the power of the banks and what they perceive to be untamed capitalism. It has called for barring access to the European Central Bank, which is located in Frankfurt’s downtown business district.

via 10,000 March at Frankfurt Occupy Protest Rally – NYTimes.com.

Fukushima residents tour German renewable village ‹ Japan Today: Japan News and Discussion

1 Dec

A group of Japanese from the Fukushima area visited Germany to learn about sustainable energy.

The group, organized and led by representatives of Greenpeace Japan, arrived Wednesday in the northeastern German village of Feldheim to learn how its 145 residents have taken advantage of the energy generated by a nearby windfarm and a biofuel plant that burns the waste from a local pig farm to become an entirely self-sustaining, energy-positive village.

via Fukushima residents tour German renewable village ‹ Japan Today: Japan News and Discussion.

Green Energy Use in Germany Passes 20 Percent of Total Power Mix

2 Sep

During the first half of 2011, Germany for the first time generated more than 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, a new report says.

via : Green Energy Use in Germany Passes 20 Percent of Total Power Mix.