Criticism over Germany’s good economy

Stephen Beard Aug 13, 2010
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Criticism over Germany’s good economy

Stephen Beard Aug 13, 2010
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Kai Ryssdal: It’s been more than 20 years since the Germans reported economic numbers like they did today. They doubled predictions of growth in gross domestic product. And they did it in a way that a lot of countries, including this one by the way, can only dream of: exporting its way out of trouble. Still, that wasn’t enough to satisfy everybody.

From the European Desk in London, Marketplace’s Stephen Beard explains.


Stephen Beard: Not since the fall of the Berlin Wall has the German economy done better. Between April and June, output grew by 2.2 percent. That’s three times faster than France, 10 times faster than Spain. And don’t even think of comparing it with Greece.

The reason, says Andrew Hilton of the CSFI think tank, is Germany’s exporting overdrive.

Andrew Hilton: It really looks as though the German export machine has been cranked up to its top volume, and it is pumping out Mercedes and Volkswagens for the rest of the world.

And particularly to Asia and Latin America. Germany’s been helped recently by a weaker euro, but says analyst Charles Dumas, it’s also helped itself by keeping its prices competitive.

Charles Dumas: The German growth has been achieved by repression of wages, which has made them more competitive, but of course, it’s also meant that consumer spending has hardly increased in the whole of the last decade.

And that’s why Germany’s been taking some flak today, because it’s selling and not buying. Its relative reluctance to import doesn’t help other countries export their way out of trouble.

Phillip Whyte is with the Centre for European Reform.

Phillip Whyte: What we need now is for Germany to take over the mantle from countries like Britain and the United States, and for German consumers to start spending more than they’ve been doing in the recent past.

He’s urging the Germans to throw open their wallets and become a bit more like free-spending Americans.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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