Attacks on Germany have gotten more venomous and personal this week. Its leaders stand accused of being “in denial”, “timid”, “obstinate”, “relentlessly negative”, “ignoring the lessons of the 1930s” and the reasons for “the breakdown of democracy”, undermining “trust” within Europe, giving swimming lessons to drowning people, and leading us toward "the end of the world as we know it".
Since the beginning of the Euro crisis hostile academics and journalists and desperate politicians wanting German savers to set the world to rights ridiculed Germany with infantile jibes about its obsessive “housewifely” economics and puritanical zeal for pain, punishment, discipline, and sacrifice. It is a welcome relief, then, that two very smart journalists -- Simon Nixon (WSJ) and Gideon Rachman (FT) -- this week wrote knowledgeable analyses of the German position for the benefit of English readers.
Germany has perhaps not been good at public relations during the Euro crisis. It does not help that none of the major German dailies has a foreign language edition. Germans will learn the hard way that great powers must win the hearts and minds of the world. I think Germany is nevertheless doing gratifyingly well as an international leader. I want to explain this in terms of the vital "law sequence" of political economy, which has been universal in European economic history, and which Germany has quietly, politely, and determinedly pursued.
What are the immediate problems in Europe today?