Some of page content & features are available only to members - Sign up only takes 8 seconds!

Why doesn't Berlin work?

+3 votes
Jan 5 in Politics & Government ✌ by TheOtherTink (19,337 points)

According to this article, it is "bureaucratic dysfunction", and  "...Berlin’s historic anti-capitalist and anti-technocratic streak makes people deeply suspicious of anything that looks too much like efficiency and competence."

Whaaat?  The capital of the former Prussia is deeply suspicious of efficiency and competence...? :ermm: Bismarck must be turning over in his grave.

Meanwhile, "A new airport may not open until 2021, ten years after it was supposed to. Schools are dismal. Child poverty is rife. Courts and police have not only given up on collecting fines worth tens of millions of euros..."

Hmmm... sounds a lot like New York City. :D

4 Answers

Virginia Jan 6

Well O'Tink I  had never heard of this, but undaunted I will give you a fine rambling answer even though I have no real idea what I am talking about! Because, shouldn't we be able to assume that the whole national heritage of German people is rigorous Prussian style efficiency and competence?? :sleeping: All this efficiency image apparently beginning in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71), where Germany, supposedly filled with wine-drinking philosophers, musicians, artists and other genius-types roaming around the Black Forest, they unexpectedly pulled together and fought off Napoleon III !!

So the (i.e. my) answer is NOT so much the anti-capitalism nor the "anti-technocratic streak," it is more that a fondness for stringent rules, hard work and law-abiding but unending bureaucracy is not the same thing as efficiency! (Which actually DOES sound a bit like your bureaucratic dysfunction...)

Thus here in the Pacific Northwest, the White Man called the Indians 'lazy,' but from the Native American point of view they just worked very efficiently until the job was done then relaxed and had fun! Thought the White Man was a bit daft to keep working on and on...

Couldn't open your link but found this one:

Lol, Virginia, your article says more or less the same things about the behind-schedule airport, but mine adds the following point: after WW2, the (gasp) big companies that had been headquartered in Berlin fled to West Germany, and after reunification, saw no good reason to go back, so unlike NYC, Berlin does not have as large a (gasp) capitalist base to tax, not that having Wall Street as a cash cow has helped NYC very much; their airports are a disgrace by international standards. :O :)

And your article says, " To the British in the early 19th Century, “Germany [was] this kind of backward country… Then suddenly, seemingly overnight, they crushed the French… the premier military power in Europe. It seemed like a kind of weird, black miracle at the time.” "

Um... had the British forgotten that it was their alliance with Prussia that helped defeat Napoleon at Waterloo?  Or that Frederick the Great wasn't called great for nothing?  :D

Virginia Virginia Jan 6

O'Tink it is an interesting and surprising observation to me, that Berlin/Germany is so inefficient...that airport ten years overrun and billions of dollars/ there lots of corruption with all these overruns?

...and what do you really think? DID the British forget about Prussia's role in Waterloo, and did they forget about the Greatness of Frederick? 

And, was there something special or unique about Germany that gave rise to all the scientific literary and musical geniuses? 

I WAS surprised that apparently Germany did not really come together out of a loose organization of states until that 1870 war...and i sounds like those states were VERY different from each other...

Well, Virginia, they were more or less united under the Holy Roman Empire, but yes, there were regional differences, especially during the Religious Wars between the Protestant North and the Catholic South. (Gustav Adolf of Sweden was involved with those)

And they probably weren't too unified even during the Crusades, except for beer, of course. :)


Virginia Virginia Jan 6

Well it seems the BBC did a documentary on Frederick the Great, and someone has posted it on YouTube! So I think I will watch that tonight...:'(  <3 ...did the little Tink fairy introduce you to this sweet but rather overdrawn and bloodshot beer fellow? :P

Yes, Virginia, Tink found this guy in a tavern trying to recuperate from a hard day of fighting the Saracens.   I think his name was Walther von der Vogelweide. :D :D :D

Virginia Virginia Jan 6

Well I enjoyed Walther's medieval song...had to look up the definition for strophe = the first section of an ancient Greek choral ode or of one division of it. Compare with antistrophe and epode.

Also checked his surname in Google translate, gives "bird-grazing"...would we render that as birdseed?

Lol, no, Virginia, I think it translates better as "bird-meadow", which if I remember correctly, was commonly used as a place for falconry.

Virginia Virginia Jan 6

Ha ha, meadow makes more sense, Tink! "Good morning to the field..." I gave the YouTubers a 'like,' they only had 51 views in 2 years...

Virginia, I think it's "give warning to the field".

Yes, very few views for such a marvelous song.  :'(

And two of them were ours!  :'( :'(

Virginia Virginia Jan 6

Oh, of course! For falconers, it would be "give warning to the field..." and it truly is a marvelous song.

Marianne Virginia Jan 7
I enjoyed it, T(h)ink. :) 

:) <3

Kninjanin Jan 6

I don't what is situation in Berlin. Manypeople think that everything is perfect in Germany but I am not sure.

Marianne Jan 6
Virginia Marianne Jan 6

Marianne, this article from THE LOCAL was very informative, although it mostly gave various sides of the question without any definite will be interesting to see what O'Tink Thinks of it!

Marianne Marianne Jan 7

@ Marianne: from your last Reuters reference: "In 2005, Schroeder’s last year as chancellor, he boasted at the World Economic Forum in Davos: “We have built up one of the best low wage sectors in Europe.”"

Remarkable statement, coming from a Social Democrat.  :ermm:  Reminds me of the kinds of hamburger-flipping jobs Obama created in the post-crash recovery.

@ Virginia and Marianne: From the LOCAL article: "If polling in the build up to Sunday's election is to believed, the Berlin public is starting to fall out of love with the Social Democrats - although as this follows a nationwide pattern, national issues like the refugee crisis likely also play a role."

Yes, there are many reasons for Berlin's problems, not the least of which is the influx of low-skill immigrants. And Merkel is paying a heavy political price, still trying to form a coalition government, months after the election. The big gainers from her foolish immigration policy?  The nationalists.  :O

Virginia Marianne Jan 7

@ Tink (Marianne too), re Schroeder's comment about the low-wage sector; well, if I were to try to defend his idea of "best low-wage sector," it would be a comparison with the US, where with bad Welfare-type rules it did not take long to build an underclass of hopelessness, totally dependent on minimal government handouts, almost impossible to find their way back into a creative working lifestyle of self-respect.

So, was Schroeder thinking of that program as a stepping-stone, preventing such a culture of hopelessness from setting in? But then (sigh) further down in Marianne's Reuters link, there is a topic ROAD TO NOWHERE, with this: "(New categories of low-income, government-subsidized jobs) were created to help those with bad job prospects eventually become reintegrated into the regular labor market, but surveys show that for most people, they lead nowhere."

And still further down in the article, I laughed sorrowfully at this sentence: "Low wage workers earn less relative to the median in Germany than in all other OECD states except South Korea and the United States." (My emphasis)

Also, got a Q for Tink about the Social Democrats, but I think I will post it as a separate question for all to consider!

Marianne Marianne Jan 8

Yes, T(h)ink, sadly enough, these so-called "socialist initiatives" and their defenders favour(ed) big interests, not the people and not the countries.

Many economists praised the "trickle-down" economics, but they forget about human weaknesses, namely about greed and addiction to power and wealth:

Rooster Jan 7

I haven't been following much on German news with all the crap going on here but like Tink said:The prosperous part of Germany is in the Western part. I have a feeling that the figures would be much better in Bonn! 

The Fuhrer would be appalled at this! LOL.


@ Rooster:  But things are going well in Munich; he would have approved of that; that's where he got his start. :ermm:

I don't think Hitler ever cared much for the social climate in Berlin, since it was a center of leftish movements, at least before he came to power.

Related questions

Apr 23, 2017 in Websites by Dan (4,994 points) 2 answers
Mar 12, 2016 in Fun & Humor ☻ by Suyanto Tirta (1,859 points) 2 answers
Mar 12, 2016 in Fun & Humor ☻ by Suyanto Tirta (1,859 points) 2 answers

Question followers

0 users followed this question.

45 Online
0 Member And 45 Guest
Today Visits : 6476
Yesterday Visits : 18259
All Visits : 7269409