Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
But the Hart IV reforms did not substantially degrade anything.

You were the one who appended the "IV." The Hartz wage suppression programme, taken as a whole, certainly did degrade the income security of the unemployed.

Before Hatz IV there were 2 completely parallel systems of welfare (unemployment benefits and classical welfare ("Sozialhilfe")). The Hartz reforms unified the systems in an attempt to make them more efficient.

The Hartz degradation packages also introduced bullshit measures like excluding the unemployed from benefits when they refused to take shit jobs at shit wages, and reducing their stipend when they failed to find jobs.

OTOH, maybe you stop whining about the efficient Germans and start getting a little more efficient yourselves.

Germany hourly productivity is flat over the last ten years. Every single bit of "competitiveness," so-called, has come from falling wages.

As noted elsewhere, that is a fundamentally unsound policy.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 05:13:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
[...falling wages...] As noted elsewhere, that is a fundamentally unsound policy.
.
Agreed. It's unsustainable in the long run, and harmful to society.

As for the "bullshit" measures, it's not that simple. Yes, able bodied unemployed welfare recipients are expected to work. If they can't find work to their liking, after some time (Months or years, actually) they will be forced to accept any work they can do, otherwise their benefits will be reduced.

I consider this perfectly appropriate. As does, fort that matter, the majority of taxpayers across all parties.

by cris0 on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 05:35:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This presumes (a) that the hoop-jumping is only aimed at able-bodied workers of sound mind and (b) that the state is prepared to ensure that such work is available at a wage that does not compare unfavourably to the wage they held at their previous employment.

Both are facts not in evidence.

Further, such measures do contribute to a deterioration of labour's overall bargaining position, and must therefore be compensated with some combination of higher baseline unemployment benefits and greater bargaining power for unions. Otherwise, they contribute to unsustainable erosion of wages.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 05:42:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is my understanding that unions in Germany live quite comfortably, and in a position of strength, compared to, say, the US, or Mexico, or China, or Japan, or the UK, or Australia, or any number of other states.

Greece probably excluded.

In fact, the reason we have no minimum wage in Germany is that unions fought hard to prevent it to be enacted.

by cris0 on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 06:42:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is my understanding that unions in Germany live quite comfortably, and in a position of strength, compared to, say, the US, or Mexico, or China

Yeah, you're not really making a great case by comparing Germany to third-world countries like that.

Oh, and your prejudice is showing. The Greek unions have less power than the German ones, and stand to have even less if current German demands are met.

In point of fact, there is a very clear relationship between union power and prosperity: More powerful labour unions makes your country prosperous by enforcing prosperity-creating economic policies like high wages and full employment.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 07:21:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is self serving for unions to fight minimum wage laws when they are in an effective partnership with employers, as it reinforces their position as the ONLY source of protection for labor.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Feb 15th, 2012 at 12:51:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Display:

Occasional Series