Germany Marching to a Different Drummer

U.S. officials could learn a lot from their counterparts in Germany. According to an article in the United Kingdom’s The Guardian, Germany has achieved “real, lasting economic success” in the midst of a recession that has crippled most other countries.

The key to the country’s success, writes author John Kampfner, is innovation, apprenticeships, vocational training and partnerships with labor unions.

“The president of the European Central Bank put it more diplomatically in a speech at Berlin’s Humboldt University when he praised Germany for not basing its economic strategy on ‘cyclical, unsustainable factors.’ Instead, the German – and broader northern European – approach emphasizes vocational training and apprenticeships,” says Kampfner, “particularly in engineering, manufacturing and the sciences. It invests in research and development, and in strong education.”

Kampfner praised the country for its strong partnership with unions. “‘Works councils’ have been the staple of German industry, with unions represented by statute,” he writes. “Both sides actively work towards consensus, and strikes and other disputes take place on the rare occasion where agreement is not reached.”

As a result, Germany has managed to keep its unemployment rate at 6.9 percent for two years.