Welcome to the new version of European Tribune. It's just a new layout, so everything should work as before - please report bugs here.
Display:
While I'd disagree with Jerôme that the last has that strong a role in the present downturn of public opinion, you have to realise that it is a very potent influence on Germany.

When scanning Der Spiegel's headline articles, they sometimes do seem to have some strikingly neoliberal tendencies.

In Germany, if something new is introduced, its proponents will of course praise it in similar terms, but the media will focus in on what sceptics say or on initial problems.

I wonder if this is not also a European trait in general, at least relative to the U.S.

This "Anglo-Saxon" propaganda is all-pervasive and nauseating. Even currently, the rhetoric is that although the economy is running and the budget deficit is the smallest in 15 years, it's all temporary and 'reforms' must continue.

It's also ridiculous, and sometimes pitiful.

Nevertheless, as the maps of European job gains below indicate, there do seem to exist certain "objective" conditions in Germany which could be substantial reasons for the current malaise described in this diary; it would be somewhat of a stretch to blame the English language press for these.




Rien ne réussit comme le succès.

by marco on Sun Nov 5th, 2006 at 05:28:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you look closely, only a small part of West Germany is orange, while London is orange -- and London is not spoken of in similar negative mood. That East Germany is in continuing bad shape is really bad, but local (and encompassing some sixth to seventh of the total population), while the depression is all of Germany.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Nov 5th, 2006 at 06:02:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
only a small part

Sorry, I meant "the smaller part", and I was already contemplating population which  you may not know where concentrates.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Nov 5th, 2006 at 06:05:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Looking at it again, scratch it: on the blow-up I see London itself is not orange, only its surroundings.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Nov 5th, 2006 at 06:07:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A different approach:

First, this map is not relevant to the current (second half of 2006) downturn in public opinion, because this is the 2000-2005 change, and just in the last few months, an opposite trend (e.g. increase of jobs) started. On the other hand, the decrease of jobs is arguably a consequence of certain neoliberal reforms (and business policies shifting from Rhineland Capitalist to neoliberal), not the consequence of lack of such "reforms" as the Anglo-Saxon press argues. I.e., I see a loopback effect between the rhetoric and real socio-economic problems (one of which I named as first of three reasons).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Nov 5th, 2006 at 06:19:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
First, this map is not relevant to the current (second half of 2006) downturn in public opinion, because this is the 2000-2005 change, and just in the last few months, an opposite trend (e.g. increase of jobs) started.

Very possibly.  Have jobs increased enough to turn those orange areas into peach?  If so, perhaps  Stimmung has yet to catch up with reality.

On the other hand, the decrease of jobs is arguably a consequence of certain neoliberal reforms (and business policies shifting from Rhineland Capitalist to neoliberal), not the consequence of lack of such "reforms" as the Anglo-Saxon press argues. I.e., I see a loopback effect between the rhetoric and real socio-economic problems (one of which I named as first of three reasons).

I wrote it would be a "stretch" to attribute unpleasant  conditions in Germany to the English language press (and its "neoliberal" rhetoric).  What you are describing is the one way I could think of where such blaming might happen.  But this is giving the English press even more credit than Jerome does: basically it is saying that if things are bad in Germany, it's because Germans (Schroeder?) were too weak and/or gullible in the face of the neoliberal rhetoric, caved in, and implemented "reforms" that caused the job situation they had through 2005.  That's a totally plausible scenario and very well may be true.  But it seems a bit too pat and convenient: if something is going well, it's because we are doing things the German/European/Social Democratic way, but if something is going bad, it's because the Anglo-Saxons bullied/seduced/tricked us into doing it.  (My own no doubt too simplistic guess as to why much of Germany was orange was that this was due to still lingering effects of the reunification.)

Again, it may very well be true, that the 2000 to 2005 drop in employment in many parts of Germany were due to Anglo-American-driven neoliberal "reforms" (in the late 90s/early 2000s?), while the 2006 improvement in the job situation was due to a return to German/Social democratic form of capitalism (in the last 2-3 years?).  But I guess I would like to see that case argued in more detail.

Rien ne réussit comme le succès.

by marco on Sun Nov 5th, 2006 at 07:22:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay, reading dvx's comment below (in particular, his phrase the "reforms" to date), I see that the scenario you describe is more plausible than I had thought.

Rien ne réussit comme le succès.
by marco on Sun Nov 5th, 2006 at 07:31:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If so, perhaps  Stimmung has yet to catch up with reality.

It's more like they go in opposite directions. At the time of the World Cup, when positive macroeconomic trends were also already showing,  public sentiment as measured by various indexes was rather positive (by German standards).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Nov 5th, 2006 at 08:29:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
still lingering effects of the reunification

A question is, why do those effects have to linger on? The explanation might have something to do with policy.

while the 2006 improvement in the job situation was due to a return to German/Social democratic form of capitalism

For the record, I haven't said that (in fact I see no return to another form of capitalism at all). For the purposes of this thread, the uncoupling of public sentiment and macroeconomic trends is more interesting than the actual reasons behind the current upswing. (My own guess would be that we are seeing the late effects of the World Cup, the effect of stopped oil price increase on the world economy, and the fruits of projects companies they held back during the elections but restarted after.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Nov 5th, 2006 at 08:38:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For the record, I haven't said that (in fact I see no return to another form of capitalism at all).

Yes, sorry, I misinterpreted your previous comment.

For the purposes of this thread, the uncoupling of public sentiment and macroeconomic trends is more interesting than the actual reasons behind the current upswing.

In your other comment you wrote,

If so, perhaps  Stimmung has yet to catch up with reality.

It's more like they go in opposite directions. At the time of the World Cup, when positive macroeconomic trends were also already showing,  public sentiment as measured by various indexes was rather positive (by German standards).

And I found that so striking, I wanted to make sure I understood it correctly:  You're saying that up to the World Cup, real economic conditions were actually not that great, but public sentiment was pretty good, but since then, as macroeconomic trends started getting positive, public sentiment has gone down?

If so, this is indeed pretty fascinating indeed.  I am sure someone has diaried something along these lines already, but it would be interesting to compare and contrast such trends across various countries.  For example, Colman and Andre the Giant have written about the falseness of the American Dream.  It would be interesting to examine just how far education, myths and propaganda can convince people -- negatively or positively -- that things are different than they are.  (I guess on the extreme side you have North Korea -- but even there I think far fewer people are buying the party line than merely pretend to.)

I see Jerome has just launched another counteroffensive against neoliberal criticisms of France...

Rien ne réussit comme le succès.

by marco on Sun Nov 5th, 2006 at 04:58:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Display:

Occasional Series