This is the sort of thing I always used to associate with the French, not the Germans:

Germans do not yet want to see where, in the bit of the recent past they are proudest of, their troubles originated: with the 1940s compact between unions and employers. At first it created the incentives that made the Wirtschaftswunder generation rich, but it ended by draining the vitality out of Germany.

The lavish social benefits, secure jobs and cushy retirement incomes that went with “Rhineland capitalism” made for complacency and—whisper who dares—pervasive inefficiency. Germans came to view sick leave as an additional holiday entitlement; free massages, health spas and even daughters’ first communion dresses were standard perks. The public sector, too, became so cosseted that a staggering 42 per cent of all budget spending this year will go on civil service pensions.

Read more. Via Glenn Reynolds.

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