SIR – The prolonged success of the German economy is always an inconvenient reality for those who support a broadly Anglo-American approach to economic management, such as The Economist (“A machine running smoothly”, February 5th). If liberal labour markets, low taxes and worship at the altar of shareholder value were the key determinants of success, you would be writing about the glittering future awaiting Britain and the United States, not Germany.
The truth is that the Germans are successful because their companies are well managed by competent, educated employees who care more about whether the company will exist in a quarter-century rather than just the next quarterly earnings.
London via Underbelly (The Berlin Consensus, ha!)
Instead of stability through competence (if a company would not exist without government bailouts and does not fire the management that got the company into crisis, it cannot be competent), our bankers just made themselves political invaluable. Check that 25 year box. Long-term prosperity here we come!
I haven’t done any research, but my hypothesis for some upcoming research is our companies in the 50s-early 80s thought more about long-term planning than the next quarter’s profits. Color me unimpressed with the Wall St. obsession with earnings that took hold in the 80s and holds sway today.