Germany and the UK – the BBC’s economic comparison

 

             I missed the BBC propaganda movie arguing it’s better in Germany. Apparently the German emphasis on more rented housing and industry makes for a richer and more successful economy and society. Let us examine that proposition.

                If we look at the income per head figures the comparisons are interesting. In Europe the two richest countries are non EU members, Norway and Switzerland.  They are more than $5000 a head richer than Germany. Norway manages it thanks to great natural resources, fish and oil, that stay outside the clutches of the EU. Switzerland manages it thanks to excellence in selected industries like watches and chocolate, complemented by banking and financial services.

                  All the surveys also show that the USA is richer per head than Germany or the UK, by around one quarter or $10,000 a head. If the BBC is keen to see how we can live more prosperously, it might make the odd film that was complimentary about the USA.

                     The Penn (Pennslyvania University) World survey shows the UK just ahead of Germany in income per head by $300. The IMF shows the UK a little below, by around $2000. All the main surveys agree that the UK and Germany are usefully ahead of Italy and Spain, and most put the UK ahead of France and Japan. There is nothing in the figures to suggest Germany is way ahead, or that Germany is anywhere near catching the USA, Singapore, Norway, Switzerland  and the other world leaders. Germany is also usually ranked below Sweden and Denmark ,  non  Euro members of the EU. On the numbers there is not a great deal to explain about alleged superior German performance.

            I cannot see how having more rented housing is a magic ingredient that helps Germany. The UK has experienced a rising private rented sector in recent years, but these have been poor years for overall growth of the economy. Most people still have a strong preference for ownership, and there is nothing wrong with an economy that seeks to satisfy that natural wish for as many as possible.

          It is true that Germany has a strong and successful engineering sector, larger than the UK’s in many segments. Where the UK is strong in aerospace engineering and defence related, Germany is larger and stronger in cars, heavy plant and machinery. Where Germany is strong in basic chemcials, the UK is strong in pharmaceuticals. The UK relies on a bigger and more successful service sector, especially in business, legal and financial services.

           As someone who has in the past  run companies with engineering plants in the UK, the US, Germany and elsewhere I would urge people to beware of facile generalisations. I have seen poorly led German factories where Anglo Saxon managers can teach them things, and I have seen brilliant German factories with state of the art equipment. There is a bigger spread in quality and achievement within both Germany and within  the UK when it comes to factories, than between the German average and the UK average. USA  productivity is on average higher. The BBC should go and find out why, by talking to some US workers.

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134 Comments

  1. Mike Stallard
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    You do not have to tell me – an OAP who goes round the world chasing after my rapidly dispersing family! In Norway, we could not even afford a cup of coffee! (That is actually the truth). In Switzerland, thanks to my son who lives in Singapore, we survived very well and their health service came up trumps when it was needed. Even bankrupt Iceland (outside the EU) seemed fairly expensive to us.
    Just back from Australia, we were appalled by the prices! A bag of nuts for $15! (One and a half dollars to the pound). I looked round the stores – there was nothing at all – even vegetables – that I would have called cheap.
    We have a very nice little Kia car which we are thinking about changing. Do you know what? I don’t think we will be buying German somehow!
    Good old BBC: as usual toeing the party line.

    • Richard1
      Posted August 10, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      I agree the Swiss healthcare system with its mandatory insurance scheme, with participants able to choose different levels, is greatly superior to our bureaucratic and statist NHS. The Swiss get much more bang for their buck (state spending at c. 30% of GDP, low taxes and a balanced budget) than we do. Conservative policy makers should take a months holiday there this autumn and spend it writing the manifesto based on their observations.

      • David
        Posted August 19, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        I agree 100% but one of the conclusions might be, leave the EU!

  2. Nina Andreeva
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    No JR if you had bothered to watch it you would have seen that life is not better in Germany and it was certainly not a “propaganda movie”.The couple involved thought lots of being German was to onerous in comparison. Look at the bit about the Turks for example its not such a pleasant life for them. Faber Castell is renowned as being a paternalistic employer (and featured in the show) however anybody who has lived there will also tell you that there are many businesses that employ the Anglo Saxon “up yours” school of management too.

    Have a read of Adam Posen’s recent FT article on the malign effects of the UK addiction to home ownership. As a minister in a government that was very keen in making the UKs labour market more “flexible” you know fine well that the UKs level of home ownership does the very opposite, let alone hamper it with the misallocation of capital.

    How about comparing your government’s record on youth employment to that of Germany? A load of debt for a near worthless degree certificate that will lead to employment where you do not need it or an apprenticeship that gets you a proper job?

    Reply Ownign your own home is no impediment to moving. Social renting is a major impediment to mobility.

    • alan jutson
      Posted August 11, 2013 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      Reply-Reply

      Owning your own home is now causeing a problem for mobility of work John.

      The cost of uprooting the family from one house to another his now punative with all of the removal costs, estate agents fees, solicitors fees and stamp duty, as well as possibluy new carpets curtains etc.

      The rise of stamp duty has in effect put a large ball and chain on homeowners mobility.

      • sm
        Posted August 13, 2013 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        Agreed. Plus i find many companies do not offer relocation expenses or indeed interview travel expenses. Now that’s real competition and raw capitalism.

  3. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    Situations are often very different from than numbers and reports where ever one is. An example of this is the employment figures and zero contract hours which gives the appearance unemployment is better than it is when many are bringing very little or nothing in. To live in an area is to gain a better assessment of standards of living.
    Switzerland it has to be said, has always had connections with banking (although it might be heresay )(allegation left out ed). With the loss of the ICI proper the UK lost much strength. The UK sold itself out instead of riding the peaks and troughs.

    Reply Switzerland co-operates with other countries that want to tax people who deposit in Switzerland, and has fully regulated banks living under the rule of law. It is not right to condemn any country which happens to be good at banking. Try living without banks.

    • sm
      Posted August 13, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      Apparently that’s happening in Greece & Cyprus. Where are the trustworthy new banks where we can place deposits , retirement funds without serious capital risk either in the short or long term?

      Barter and other alternatives without counterparties are a logical outcome.

  4. Mike Wilson
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    If ‘rented housing’ is any sort of factor, the distinction between long term renting at affordable rents with secure tenancies (Germany) and 6 month assured shorthold tenancies with high rents to cover massive BTL mortgages taken out by the army of new BTL landlords – must be made.

    The explosion in renting and BTL in this country simply sucks demand out of the economy as so many people, particularly young people, are paying 50% of their salary in rent. Just the other day a Channel 4 program examined this. Nice young couple in London, moving to a cheaper flat (£60 a month cheaper!) to try to save the money needed for the big deposit to enable them to buy a small hovel. Paying 60% of their joint salary in rent. Thinking about moving to Dubai because they can’t see a way forward here.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 10, 2013 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      You need more properties or fewer people (less demand) for cheaper rents. If no one had BTL mortgages the supply of properties to rent would be less and thus rents even higher not lower.

      Increase the supply with relaxed planning etc. or control the population growth.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted August 12, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

        No, no, NO! If we hadn’t had the BTL explosion, there would be lots more properties for sale … house prices would be lower. Depends if you are happy with one person in 50 owning 50 properties and the rest of the serfs renting from them.

        • Edward2
          Posted August 12, 2013 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

          Mike
          How would those who cannot not meet the criteria for a mortgage find a home to live in if there were no properties available for rent.?
          Many who rent have little in the way of savings to provide a deposit and less than the needed credit history to get a loan.
          The properties may well be cheaper if you had no BTL landlords but still not cheap enough for most purchasers who currently rent.
          Lifelogic is right.
          The answer is simply build more properties not a hate campaign on landlords.

          • sm
            Posted August 13, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

            Do you realise that a BTL can claim against tax , interest and other expenses because it is defined as a business.

            This places purchasers who cannot claim interest as a tax deduction at a relative disadvantage.

            I suggest BTL leverage should not be tax preferred except for a limited time on a maximum proportion of new builds.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 14, 2013 at 10:24 am | Permalink

            It is a good point but if you have a mortgage on business premises you can still offset the costs of the interest
            A long time ago there was mortgage tax interest relief on your income tax coding which sadly was abolished.
            I would like to see it reintroduced if only for first time buyers.

  5. Mike Wilson
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Edit last post please .. Sorry, typo in there … The young couple said they were paying 50% of their joint salary in rent.

  6. zorro
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    John, it may be a BBC ‘propaganda movie’ (well, not quite Eisentein…. 😉 ), but your review might be considered a tad partisan…….

    The provision of more affordable and varied living accommodation does assist in living costs and allows Germans to save and invest in productive capacity……it is pointless living in a castle if you can only eat spam!

    Switzerland and Norway do have nominally higher GDP per head but they, particularly Norway, are very expensive places to live and eat…….they are lucky to have bountiful natural resources and Switzerland was smart enough to stay out of wars……

    So the USA is richer per head……? What proportion is on food stamps? There are massive extremes of wealth distribution as you well know…….They also have an extremely large debt. The UK might be close Germany on the GDP per capita figures, but what about unemployment, economic performance, exports…? Germany has also paid massive amounts to inset in East Germany but is still competitive. We certainly haven’t had to do that.

    It also wasn’t just about economic performance, but family life…..actually having a life and not being a debt slave…..Good for them!

    John, Denmark and Sweden are very expensive countries when compared to Germany, and you should take that into account.

    You also totally misrepresent the picture on rented housing. It is far cheaper to rent in Germany…….and to compare it to the UK is ridiculous. Rents are exorbitant and unaffordable. The state subsidises landlords by paying housing benefit….how daft is that? The reason that we can’t progress economically s because people are spending 50%+ on rent so they can’t spend or save to stimulate the economy. Home ownership is also good, but Gideon is creating another credit boom that will end in tears.

    Yes, we did heavily rely on financial products/services and paid for it because of our lack of diversity……Look at the historic growth rates when comparing economic performance.

    I agree that we should beware of facile generalisations….all of us.

    I wouldn’t advise the BBC to go to USA…….you know that they wil end up in Detroit.

    zorro

  7. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    I see you agree that the BBC is regularly spewing out propaganda. Why is a public service broadcaster, to whom we are forced to pay a licence fee whether we use its service or not, allowed to do this ? One thing that must be clear is that the BBC is not objective but has its own agenda.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 10, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. The BBC certainly have a silly Guardian “think” agenda, with huge bias and scientific and economic illiteracy all over the place. Mainly biased in favour of the EU & the suppression of residual democracy, the ever bigger state, the green energy AGW scam, the NHS, the need for endless payments to augment the feckless, enforced equality regardless of merit or effort, uncontrolled immigration, employments laws and regulation in general. In short every more tax and ever more suffocating state sector in all directions. Oh and huge pensions and pay offs for BBC staff paid by tax/licence fee payers.

  8. Leslie Singleton
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    The talking down of the UK is the main reason we are in the wretched EU. If things are so bad here why do we have to pay countries (aka give them foreign aid) to seek to bribe them to prevent immigration (so says Cameron)? In America the ethos is “User pays” unlike here with our free bus passes and God only knows what else. Do they have even the concept of Child Allowance or Care in America (If so I never heard talk of it)? Irrespective of the answer to that, to me we should be paying the mothers who behave as mothers rather than the other way round. It wasn’t so long ago that women held that a man whose wife had to go out to work was a complete failure and the lowest of the low. Nothing’s changed except birth control which doesn’t sound particularly principular to me.

    • Jerry
      Posted August 10, 2013 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      @Leslie Singleton: “The talking down of the UK is the main reason we are in the wretched EU.

      Indeed and who was it who was talking down the UK and our industry in the 1980-90s rather than finding a way of getting us out of the EEC/EU, not (old, red) Labour…

  9. lifelogic
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    The lack of cheaper rented (or owner occupied) housing is a handicap to the UK largely caused by too restrictive planning, excessive and daft building regulations and excessive stamp duty rates. Our factories are expensive too for similar reasons and excessive rates.

    We also have far too many lawyers doing little other than inconveniencing the productive, absurd employment laws and very expensive energy (by deliberate government religion). Also UK public services are very poor the NHS, the court systems, roads and transport this despite the huge circa 50% of GDP wasted on them.

    20% of GDP is more than enough when well run. The good news is that outside the EU and with sensible leadership the government could correct all this and get real growth going. The bad news is Cameron is clearly giving a mess to the dreadful Miliband/Balls in two years.

    • Bazman.
      Posted August 10, 2013 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

      Or fantasits?

  10. alan jutson
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    John I too viewed a recording of the programme last night.

    I think you are taking things a little too much to heart.

    This was a single programme about a single factory and a young married couple, who it turns out seem to have different views on most things, especially about work and childcare.

    The things I picked up from the programme were rather different from you.

    Personal discipline on behaviour, do not let your behaviour disturb others.
    Discipline at work, you are there to work not to socialise in working hours.
    When you do work ,work efficiently.
    Work staff treated reasonably with subsidiesd refreshment facilities.
    The Company Doctor on hand to help with any health problems.
    Pay seemed reasonable and wage rises kept in line with inflation.
    A bonus was paid on collective performance.
    Pay only increased above inflation if you gained promotion.
    Many pupils (I think more than 50%) went into some sort of on the job training scheme to prepare them for work.
    Childcare/Nurseries were inexpensive.
    Mothers were ecouraged to look after and bring up their own children if they wanted to, by the use of tax breaks.
    Foriegn workers were bought in originally only when needed, and did not have automatic rights to benefits.

    Do you know what, other than wages automatically keeping up with inflation and workers being satisfied with only that for retaining job security, this was a sort of mirror image of how things were for me in the 1960’s when I served an engineering apprenticeship in the UK.

    But it was only one example.
    I am sure there are many variations to the theme of what was shown !

  11. Edward 2
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Having been involved in manufacturing and having travelled in Germany on business a lot over the years, I agree with all you say in your article Mr Redwood.
    There is a lot we could emulate but not as much as this partial love letter by the BBC would have us believe.
    One of their biggest advantages is a very favourable exchange rate which was hardly mentioned.

  12. Richard1
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    I didn’t see the programme either. I imagine it didn’t draw attention to why a gap did open in living standards between the UK and (west) Germany? The fact that for 35 years after the war UK govts presided over large scale nationalization, militant unions and inflation destroying competitiveness, culminating in the economic, industrial and financial catastrophe of the 1974-79 Labour govt. Only the reforms of the Thatcher and Major govts began the slow turn of the tide to the point where today, as you point out, living standards are in fact comparable.

    No doubt the sub-text of the program me was: ‘the UK would be better off at the core of the EU, in the eurozone, with coalition govts, preferably left-leaning’. Its important to jump on this sort of insidious political propaganda from the supposedly neutral statist broadcaster as you have done. As ever the facts speak for themselves.

    Off topic but could the BBC also do a programme pointing out that Antarctic sea ice is at a 30 year high and we’ve had the lowest incidents of hurricanes in the last 8 years in modern times, contrasting these facts with the alarmism on which our green energy policy is based – one of the reasons its becoming harder to sustain living standards and competitiveness in the UK?

    • zorro
      Posted August 10, 2013 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      Edward 2, that wasn’t actually the sub text. There was no mention of it.

      zorro

      • zorro
        Posted August 10, 2013 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

        sorry Richard1!

        zorro

    • Bazman
      Posted August 11, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Why bother watch programmes when you can just make it up richard1? LOL! The ice question is also a little more complicated than you would think to, but not for you it seems?

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted August 11, 2013 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

        Bazman–Luckily we have you to clarify these matters for us

  13. Richard Mischook
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Hello. While useful to look at per-capita income I would suggest this should be supplemented by looking at measures of income distribution and income inequality. Also when looking at productivity – do those numbers measure productivity per hour worked – or rather simply per-worker?

    Regards,

    Richard

  14. James Reade
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Ah yes, should we believe the propaganda of the BBC, or of John Redwood?

    Both are selective in their use of facts, with a clear intent.

    John’s is to present the idea we’d be better off outside the EU – as if we can just switch and become like resource rich Norway, or tiny Switzerland (population less than a tenth of ours).

    John is remarkably selective with his facts – private renting has increased recently and, oh look, there’s not been much growth recently. Because obviously private renting caused the financial crisis and subsequent recession(s), didn’t it?

    What I find remarkable (disingenuous) about that last argument is it ignores something often said over the years about why the (non-EU) US (one of your favourites, eh John?) has historically grown faster than we do – labour mobility, something that generally goes hand in hand with more renting, less buying.

    Just fascinating to see someone tie themselves in knots this way to try and present their propaganda messages.

    • Richard1
      Posted August 10, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      What is the message of this post? Certainly the labour mobility of the US is a huge advantage and one we should learn from (eg when people argue for the maintenance of enormous housing benefit subsidies so people can stay in their local areas, eg Belgravia, rather than moving to find work as they would have to do in the US).

      Why does the fact that Switzerland has a population of 9m make it inappropriate for lessons for the UK? I think we should look at the policies of all economically successful nations and ask what it is they do that we don’t, eg Switzerland, Norway, Singapore, the USA, etc.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted August 11, 2013 at 6:06 am | Permalink

      The difference is one you probably don’t appreciate. Mr Redwood is a politician who has his axes to grind. The BBC is not supposed to have any such axes.

  15. English Pensioner
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Rented housing in Germany isn’t quite what it seems. A friend went to Germany for work and rented a 2 bedroom home. The owner was now living in a rented house in the next street because his family needed a bigger house. He was intending to return to his original house when the children left home. Apparently this is quite common in Germany, people do not buy and sell houses like us, and so although many are renting, they are also house owners who are just not living in the one that they own.

    • Bob
      Posted August 10, 2013 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      @EP
      ” although many are renting, they are also house owners who are just not living in the one that they own.”

      In the UK the rental income would be taxed, so the owner wouldn’t have enough money left after tax to rent an similar alternative property.

      • StevenL
        Posted August 11, 2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink

        Err, they’d spend some on their income on rent? Like when a UK couple move to a bigger house and take on a bigger mortgage with higher repayments?

        • Bob
          Posted August 11, 2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink

          @Err
          Assuming that you let you own home for £1000 per month and rented an alternative for £1000 per month why should the taxman be taking a cut of the income side and ignoring the rent paid out?

          If mortgage payments are deductible then why not alternative accommodation, because in order to make your property available for rent you need alternative accommodation.

  16. Acorn
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Income per head doesn’t tell you much about the internal state of a country. If you are in an oil producing state, GDP / GNI per capita will be high, with three quarters of the population in poverty.

    If you really want to know when to bail-out just before the next financial crisis, you have to watch the share of total national income going to the top 1% of earners. If you understand the GINI index; the Lorenz Curve and the Pareto Principle, you will be laughing.

    Think of the latter as the top 10% of the whole US population got roughly half of the total income pie. The top 1% got again (almost) half of that pie. The top .1% again half that pie, and so on, it’s called “right-sided self-similarity”. (Read: On the Mathematics of Income Inequality: Splitting the Gini Index in Two. Robert T. Jantzen and Klaus Volpert).

    (This is not a qualified recommendation, it is an opinion for debate). Six to seven years before a crash the income share going to the top 1% will start rising, totalling about 6 – 7 percent on the eve of the crash. The GINI index will have risen to circa 0.75. That is 25% of total national income is going to the top 1%. This phenomenon has occurred before every financial crisis in the last hundred years, including the 2007 edition.

    Income inequality is quite a bit higher in the UK than most of the older advanced nations within the EU. For instance we have over 85% of the million plus earners in the total of EU financial services for instance. The UK GINI at 33% is just below Portugal, Spain and Greece (which tells you something), but considerably above the mean of the rest. Norway and Sweden are in the low twenties. Even Switzerland, also full of bankers, gets below thirty.

    But, if you are rich and want to get richer, the UK is the best all-round place to be. 😉 .

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 10, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      UK is very good if you are rich and a non dom, then it is a very good tax haven. Not so good if you are British when the government will, through tax, make it very difficult for you to get any richer after tax and inflation. Or pass much on to your children and grandchildren.

      Rather hypocritical of Cameron/Osborne to knock tax havens, while running one of the best ones going?

  17. ian wragg
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    In BBC parlance the UK is finished. We are incapable of ruling ourselves and must cling on tenaciously to the EU coat tails. Did they mention Germany ditching the energy rules and building a dozen coal and lignite power stations. No.
    Did they mention the debt they are responsible for if Greece, Italy Spain etc default on the loans they gave them to buy their cars etc. No.
    Did they mention the(large numbers of migrants ed) in their major cities caused by freedom of movement. No.
    I think I’ll stay where I am thank you even if we are governed by a bunch of tossers.

  18. David Hope
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    You sound a bit defensive about the show. I don’t think the suggestion is necessarily that renting is better for the economy. But the interesting point is that you can get somewhere nice to bring up a family for not much money in Germany. Renting in the UK is impossible in london now for most people (1.5k a month for a one bedroom) and expensive still elsewhere.

    Obviously one reason Germans aren’t as wealthy as they might be in the reunification and the associated costs.

    Finally I think there is something in the point made in the show that having many smaller banks backed by a savings culture is a good thing in terms of providing capital for small business and industry. It is all a lot more sustainable than our services and money printing!
    I can’t help but feel that a lot of our legal and accounting services are based around government regulation and its avoidance rather than genuine wealth creation!

  19. Neil Craig
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    The BBC continuously and deliberately censor reporting how well the rest of the world doing. They cannot censor China it is so big, but you will never see them mention that the non-EU world is growing at an AVERAGE of 6% a year. To do so would make it obvious our traditional parties could achieve at least moderate growth any time they wanted.

    Of course to say that Germany is “doing well” on a growth rate marginally above zero, requires the BBC to pretend there are no places beyond the EU. A lie which the BBC’s standard of honesty in no way prevents them telling.

    If they wished to learn lessons from successful countries Hong Kong and Singapore are obvious lessons. Both are richer than us and, more importantly started far lower and owe it to fast growth, and both are English speaking. One can only assume that the BBC intent is, under no circumstances, to allow the British people to learn success.

    The correlation between state owned broadcasting and authoritarianism, state corruption, incompetence and failure, even to the extent of public health failure, has been proven internationally. Think how the BBC played down South Staffs. I am coming to believe that the (bias in choice of story ed) practiced by our state owned media on almost every issue is the greatest existing threat to the country.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 11, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      They don’t need to censor China as China will censor itself.

      You also ignored that non-EU countries such as the USA, Canada, and Australia aren’t growing at 6%. I suspect this is because you didn’t want to admit that only developing economies can grow this fast.

      Hong Kong and Singapore are doing well because they have a low population and engage in high value activities that require few resources. It would be impossible for the UK to copy them without a massive reduction in population.

      You also failed to provide any evidence that linked a state owned broadcaster to any of your claims.

      • Neil Craig
        Posted August 12, 2013 at 11:17 am | Permalink

        In fact Singapore and Hong Kong have both incomes considerably higher than ours, hence, by your theory incapable of growing fast, and extremely high population/land ratios hence, also incapable of growing fast. They don’t seem to have noticed.

        And for the umpteenth time you are choosing a series of below average countries to suggest the average doesn’t count. I have previously suggested you learn that AVERAGE, by definition, means there are those below and those above.

        All those you choose as below average have governments promoting the catastrophic warming fraud. Statistically this cannot be coincidence.

  20. lifelogic
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Just non religious electricity and gas at nearly half UK prices as in the USA, fire the 50% of the state sector that does little but inconvenience the productive, easy hire and fire, abolition of IHT and stamp duty, relax planning and we could see some real UK growth for a change.

    But we have fake green Cameron and the anti business secretary, the suffocating EU and the Ed Davy/Chris Huhne types. The latest Libdem lunacy seems to be to make car drivers financially responsible for accidents caused by cyclists. Perhaps driving through red lights, failing to have lights, cutting corners or going the wrong way down one way streets as is so common. One assumes some would be deliberately cycling into cars then off to the no pay no fee legal scam, like all the whiplash scams that have pushed up insurance cost in the UK hugely.

  21. Tom William
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    An obviously scripted programme, pretending to be otherwise.

    Britain’s car industry is booming, its exports soaring. Germany’s car exports are declining. The suggestion that German cars are all better than British is ludicrous – Land Rover, Jaguar, Rolls Royce, Mini. It doesn’t matter who owns the companies, they are made and designed in Britain. Did the BBC mention this? Of course not.

    • Jerry
      Posted August 10, 2013 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

      Tom William: “Britain’s car industry is booming, its exports soaring.[..//..] Did the BBC mention this? Of course not.

      What ‘British’ car industry, oh you must mean those factories were British workers assemble (often) foreign designed cars, in foreign owned factories, were the profits go off-shore to the foreign parent company…

      Land Rover & Jaguar, owned by Ford (of Europe/Germany; Rolls Royce & Mini, owned by BMW; Bentley, owned by VW Group; Vauxhall, owned by GM/Opel; Lotus, owned by Proton (Malaysian); Rover Group, now owned by the Chinese, just assembled an otherwise Chinese made car in what remains of the centre the UK car industry at Longbridge; and of course there are the “never owned by the British” car companies such as Honda and Nissan assembling their cars in the UK, mostly for export back to the far east or for shipment to other EU member states. The UK couldn’t keep ownership of the company that builds the iconic London taxi-cab, now also owned by the Chinese. Even TVR, whilst now owned once again by a British national is not actually producing any cars are the moment.

      …and you want the BBC to mention how the UK has become a total and utter failure with regards to its own motor industry?!

      Reply Why knock the UK? World manufacturers come to the UK for design and engineering as well as for assembly. Maybe there are not enough rich people and families in the UK to set up and own such factories any more.

      • Jerry
        Posted August 11, 2013 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        @JR reply: If the UK is so hot in design and manufacture why is it that we can’t hold our own, and actually have a UK owned car industry?

        I’m not knocking the UK, far from it, just stating the facts, and until we as a nation face up to the mistakes made in the last four decades things will not get better. It is those who keep pretending we have arrived at some kind of Nirvana, when all we have is someone else’s outsourcing, are the ones who are actually knocking the UK and talking her down.

        Maybe there are not enough rich people and families in the UK to set up and own such factories any more.

        Oh the irony, from a MP who was in the government who either closed down or sold off much of the UK’s industry to our competitors, rather than backing it like our competitors governments did with their own industries.

        Reply I seem to remember taxpayers had to stump a lot of cash to try to save BL under governemnts of all 3 political parties, but it failed as a method of creating a good car industry.

        • Jerry
          Posted August 11, 2013 at 10:36 am | Permalink

          @JR reply: I also seem to remember a lot of (party) political interference in BL – it is not so much that an industry is owned by the state that is the problem but that the state can’t then allow the industry to manage its self from within the industry, the same problems affected BSC, BR, BL, GPO/BT (and now RM), the NCB, the BBC. The one common factor between them all, government micro-meddling… 🙁

          Reply Conclusion – better not to have state subsidy and ownership!

          • Jerry
            Posted August 11, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

            @JR reply: Only if the governments are a micro-meddling control freaks!

      • Edward2
        Posted August 11, 2013 at 9:34 am | Permalink

        This comment is typical of the negativity which those of us who are actually involved in UK manufacturing have to put up with every time we say what we do for a living and its time theses uninformed bar room bores shut up or got properly informed.
        For a quick bit of info watch the last 15 minutes of the last episode of Top Gear.
        Read up on global manufacturing and consider the huge numbers of jobs and wealth created by not just making cars but UK manufacturing all over the world.
        PS The excellent Jaguar Land Rover Group is not owned by Ford

        • Jerry
          Posted August 11, 2013 at 10:58 am | Permalink

          @Edward2: “For a quick bit of info watch the last 15 minutes of the last episode of Top Gear.

          Well at least we now know were your “expert” information comes from, apologies to Google for suggesting that you use their services, but then again the quality of research on that programme is bad that they probably use Google!

          Read up on global manufacturing and consider the huge numbers of jobs and wealth created by not just making cars but UK manufacturing all over the world.

          Whilst your comment is typical of someone living on Mars, it’s a fantasy like those old style USSR style tractor building targets (that never got built except on paper). The UK needs an industrial “truth and reconciliation” hearing, not a submission to the Man Booker Prize.

          PS The excellent Jaguar Land Rover Group is not owned by Ford

          Oh sorry, yes indeed, it’s owned by Tata Motors of India -(words left out ed)

          • Edward2
            Posted August 11, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

            Re Top Gear: I was trying to dumb it down for you Jerry, as a simple introduction into showing just how totally wrong you are.

            The rest of your article is beneath response and just makes you look very foolish and lacking in knowledge.

            I presume you would prefer the UK not to have any investment from non UK companies and then you would be the first one on here moaning about poor living standards and high unemployment and the negative balance of trade.

            Those of us who actually work in this sector and see what is actually going on, all the massive investments being made and all the new jobs, all the new fine products and the resulting prosperity and extra tax revenues for this nation find views people like you continue to voice, repulsive.

          • Jerry
            Posted August 11, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2: What ever, keep watching Top Gear…l

          • Jerry
            Posted August 12, 2013 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

            @Ed2: Sorry, you are the “repulsive” voice here, you don’t seen to care that the UK now scrapes a living at the behest of foreign owned companies, the resulting prosperity you talk of is not staying in the UK but going to China or where ever…

            I’m backing Britain, speaking the truth is not talking it down either, sorry to say but I suspect that you are backing some other country via their control of a UK manufacturing base.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 13, 2013 at 8:45 am | Permalink

            I see you have sneaked back to lay down your usual nonsense now making a claim that I am in the pay of some foreign company or Government
            What is wrong with “foreign” investment Jerry?
            Does the very fact its foreign cause you a problem?
            Careful.

          • Jerry
            Posted August 13, 2013 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

            @Ed2: LEARN TO READ, I said no such thing.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 14, 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink

            Jerry
            No matter how carefully you try to write your phrase:-
            “Sorry but I suspect you are backing some other country via their control of UK manufacturing base”
            It still insinuates that my views are not my own but influenced by money which firstly is not true and secondly I find insulting.
            I don’t challenge your honesty and integrity so please stop challenging mine.

    • ian wragg
      Posted August 11, 2013 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      All mini engines are made at Ham Hall!!

      • StevenL
        Posted August 11, 2013 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        Even the diesels? Are you sure?

  22. John Moloney
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Delenda est BBCo

  23. oldtimer
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    I did not see it either but I am ready to believe that it sought to push an agenda the BBC wants to promote. Where Germany is stronger than the UK is in its ability to pay its way in the world. This is evident in its substantial trade surpluses. This is helped, I believe, because Germany has pursued policies which do not undermine its Mittelstand businesses – unlike the UK where hostile tax policies and high inflation helped decimate the UK equivalents. It will take a decade or two to repair such damage.

  24. lifelogic
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Petrol, at about 50p a litre in the USA too, this might well help us get to US gdp per capita. It is largely the fake green Huhne/Davey/Cameron religion that is the problem. Yet patently wind, bikes, PV, HS trains and all the the rest of the guff are not even green in reality. Even if you have fallen for the BBC’s discredited “proven science” catastrophic AGW theory.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 11, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic despite all your claims that AGW has been discredited I’ve noticed that you’ve never been able to provide any evidence to back up this claim. I take it that you don’t have any scientific evidence to back up this claim and are instead relying on the opinions of certain journalists for all your scientific information.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 11, 2013 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

        The fact that the dire predictions made in Al Gore’s film and the original IPCC report have already not come true, are examples you continually fail to answer Uni.
        Islands Al said would be under water by now still stubbornly visible.
        Or is it heresy just to mention these facts?

        • sm
          Posted August 13, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

          Note:
          Fukishima is still an ongoing issue with large costs in terms of externalities.
          Fossil fuels we know produce CO2 and also other pollution harmful to help, causing breathing problems. (Remember smoking, then passive smoking health concerns pretty much accepted)

          I am happy for renewable alternatives to be explored, i object to how they are funded, by interest bearing debt and paid for by users.

          They should be funded and owned by the state directly via a new national bank. The funds should be spent/contracted only with companies to build and operate and who do not utilize offshore tax havens and are based in the UK, with production facilities in the UK. (Rather like how a freeholder can manage or exploit a leaseholder/tennant)

          We mights then see , more local jobs, less pollution, more taxable profits, less imports and export of the technologies.

          Where does all that debt interest we pay banks for creating money out of nothing go to?

  25. forthurst
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    The thesis of ‘Make me a German’ was that German workers were more efficient and consequently earned more than their British counterparts whilst consequently enjoying more leasure time. JR has reinterpreted this to mean that German GDP (PPP) is much higher than in the UK and has used some anomalous statistics from Penn State U to demolish his straw man.

    In Germany, fewer women have paid employment and are assisted through the tax system to care for their offspring whilst spending an average 4 hours 23 minutes (?) on housework; in the UK, mothers are to be offered taxpayers’ money to pay for childcare, far more expensive in the UK than Germany, in order to pay off the huge mortgages that they have taken on in order to avoid living with a shorthold tenancy or living in the parental home. Do German children suffer less from asthma? What is the incidence of feral children and adults compared to the UK?

    The programme raised far more questions than it answered and much of JR’s criticism is fair; however, finding a BBC reporter to do three jobs in emulation of a typical American worker may be expecting too much.

    Would Germany be doing much better than the UK if it were also locked in the Eurozone? Would Germany outside the EU be able to match Norway and Switzerland?

    How much of GDP (PPP) is based upon borrowed money and increasing public indebtedness? How much is based upon personal indebtedness and raiding others’ savings? In the USA, medical care is frequently paid out of lifetime wealth leaving nothing, when with a functioning system it would be paid out of current earnings. In the UK, the financial services industry relies for its perfomance partly by syphoning off the wealth of savers.

    The GDP (PPP) tables demonstrate the advisability of having a resource that can be dug out of the ground or otherwise harvested; how much more beneficial, well worth subsidising the introduction of ‘democracy’ with free missiles and drones, to own and maintain a valuable resource that can be created a the printing press? Then it even possible to buy friends at no cost.

  26. Atlas
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    … fair comment, John …

    Following on from your post, a couple of related questions that you might have an opinion on:

    1) I wonder what the prosperity of Germany would be if it had its own currency again?

    2) I wonder what its prosperity would be if it were not able to use its size to so order the EU’s actions/decisions in a way that suits its own industries?

  27. Bert Young
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    There were various references in the BBC programme highlighting the credibility of life in Germany one was the use of cash instead of credit cards . It was an attempt to show that the Germans were “cautious” in their attitude to spending ; definitely living “within their means” instead of not caring about tomorrow . Another very credible difference was the role of the German hausfrau and mother ; her priorities were the children and the home . These differences , in my book , are worthy and have considerable bearing on the way German society behaves and works . Whether the average pay package is more or less than ours is inconsequential ; what really matters is the happiness and general well being of the people .

  28. JimF
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Please walk through a random selection of German, Swiss and British engineering SME s. I have walked through hundreds. On average, and I stress this isn’t always the case, there is a different attitude in the UK (and USA). For a start I’d eat off most Swiss & German floors whereas I’d have difficulty walking on some UK ones. Above floor level there is a mentality of meticulous preparation and making sure mistakes don’t happen before production in Switzerland and Germany rather than putting them right afterwards. Germans and Swiss have a history of re-investing in machinery, which is in any case is made in Germany/Switzerland.

    This preparation and re-investment can be costly, and there is no denying that in the UK/US, where assets, both human and mechanical, are sweated, we have a better eye for the bottom line. So it’s down to what you want – a great-looking P/L, where profits stay in the bank or go to shareholders, or a great-looking factory, products made on the latest kit, and happier workforce?

    • Jerry
      Posted August 10, 2013 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

      JimF: “So it’s down to what you want – a great-looking P/L, where profits stay in the bank or go to shareholders, or a great-looking factory, products made on the latest kit, and happier workforce?

      …and of course the last three all effect the quality of the end product, and that of course makes for happy and repeat buyers.

    • Edward2
      Posted August 11, 2013 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      Its vital Jim, to have all these elements in a properly run company.
      You need a good share price with attractive dividends.
      You need a strong balance sheet, good profits and cash flow
      They are not mutually exclusive.
      All these things are a foundation which allows the business to do the rest of the things you say only Germans and Swiss companies do
      You have had a different experience to me when going round successful UK and USA companies.

  29. uanime5
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    John GDP per capita isn’t a measure of personal income, so just because the USA has a higher GDP per capita doesn’t mean that the average person in the USA has a higher salary or better standard of living than someone in Germany. In fact a country where companies pay their employees as little as possible to increase their profits will have a higher GDP than a country where companies pay their employees better but has lower profits as a result. Though it would be interesting to know the Income distribution of the USA, UK, and Germany (specifically the 10, 25, 50, and 75 wealth percentiles).

    Renting helps Germany mainly because people can rent far more cheaply and for far longer periods than in the UK. Most renters in Germany also don’t charge a high amount because they’re not using renters to pay the mortgage on this property.

    Regarding US productivity I believe this is high because there’s large amounts of land, so you can very cheaply build a large, automated factory. The USA also has access to cheap Mexican labour (though due to NAFTA the Mexicans are now working in Maquila in Mexico and exporting their products to the USA).

    Reply Still in a parallel universe I see

    • zorro
      Posted August 10, 2013 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      Curious, I can’t see this as one of your more radical offerings. I wonder why my offering is still in moderation? Nothing controversial I hope…..

      zorro

    • uanime5
      Posted August 11, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately for you John some new figures have been collated by the House of Commons Library which show a 5.5% drop in UK wages after inflation since 2010. So unless GDP has also decreased by 5.5% during this period it’s clear that there’s little relationship between GDP and personal income.

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/fall-in-wages-puts-britain-in-europes-bottom-four-8755957.html

      For comparison here’s how some other EU countries performed during this period:

      Bulgaria: +13.2%
      Germany: +2.7%
      France: +0.4%
      Eurozone average: -0.1%
      EU average: -0.7%
      Cyprus: -3.0%
      Spain: -3.3%
      Greece: -11.3%

      The figures also show that only Greece, Portugal, and the Netherlands have had a greater drop in wages than the UK.

  30. ferdinand
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Having worked for a very large international company with a large German associate, I found the differences telling although we manufactured very similar products. The Germans would only make something one way and it had to work properly. Even though it wasn’t quite what was required. The Brits would have great ideas and much more engineering skill but mucked it up in the manufacturing process. We both won in the end but the slightest hiccup and the Germans packed up tools and went home. We stayed on till we got a semblance of success. You decide who you would rather work for.

    • Jerry
      Posted August 11, 2013 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      @ferdinand: “the slightest hiccup and the Germans packed up tools and went home. We stayed on till we got a semblance of success.

      Assuming you don’t mean the Germans threw in the towel, and that might be their ultimate success, sometimes walking away and coming back afresh not only allows the problem to be solved but solved in a better way and not just a “that will do, oh look at the time” way?

  31. Max Dunbar
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    The German attitude to renting has changed.
    Many Germans buy their house now and the fact that interest rates are poor has also stimulated investment in property, particularly rich west Germans investing in property in the east to both rent out and retire to ( to the annoyance of poorer east Germans). The per capita income in Germany has been lower than that of the UK historically but the quality of life is probably higher. Germans are generally better educated than the British, including those Germans raised during the communist era in east Germany. The public sector in Germany appears to give better value for money than here. Doctors are paid far less in Germany than here.
    It sounds as if the BBC have cherry-picked the so-called facts which are already out of date.

    • Jerry
      Posted August 10, 2013 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

      @Max Dunbar: Care to cite that statement of fact?…

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted August 11, 2013 at 11:31 am | Permalink

        Spending time in Germany asking questions, observation, doing business there and reading the history of the place.

        • Jerry
          Posted August 11, 2013 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

          @Max Dunbar: So that was a personal opinion, not a citation of official figures, thanks for the clarification…

  32. stannard
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    The BBC has lost its position as an impartial and objective news source over the last few years, So much so, I get my news and reviews from other agencies.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 10, 2013 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      Very wise, one knows the line the BBC will take on any topical issue before they even speak. It will be the same as the rarely read Guardian and views that most of the dimmer, juvenile arts undergrads hold at the ex-polly/now universities. Try the radio four “comedy” and woman’s hour for good examples.

    • Jerry
      Posted August 10, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

      @stannard: What you mean is that the BBC doesn’t tell you want you want to hear! As I’ve said before, if both the political left and right complain of bias from the BBC, referencing the same content, by definition it means the BBC is being impartial and objective (the are not being biased)….

      Reply It means nothing of the sort. It could mean the BBC has a different bias from either of the 2 main parties, and probably one which is less popular than the positions of the main parties.

      • Jerry
        Posted August 11, 2013 at 9:15 am | Permalink

        @JR reply: Indeed, if the BBC is being criticised for having a left-wing bias AND is being criticised for having a right wing bias, at the same time, it means that it is bowling at the centre stump… Oh and I have to agree, centrist liberalism is somewhat less popular than the two main political dogmas 😛

        • Edward2
          Posted August 11, 2013 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

          When is it being criticised for left wing biad Jerry?
          Please provide examples

          • Edward2
            Posted August 11, 2013 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

            Typo sorry
            1. Bias
            2. Right wing
            Predictive text is a pain.

          • Jerry
            Posted August 12, 2013 at 7:33 am | Permalink

            @Ed2: The SLP, if you were to widen your education (I don’t mean change your opinions), and look at their website or Twitter feed you would soon discover that they regularly complain of “right wing” bias from the BBC, the most recent was to do with the recent by-election for a Welsh AM.

            Non so blind as those who choose not to see…

            Oh and I would of course supply URL’s but I doubt they would survive moderation, perhaps John could indicate?

          • Jerry
            Posted August 12, 2013 at 7:37 am | Permalink

            @Ed2: “Predictive text is a pain.

            I would have though, as a highly skilled and knowledgeable engineer, you would have RTM and thus turned such annoyances off in the software preferences, of course you probably just watched the “Gadget Show” and thus bought into the hype around tablets… 😛

          • Edward2
            Posted August 12, 2013 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

            So two versus two hundred
            You also fail to accept even the BBC Trust and the DG has accepted there is a left wing liberal culture inside the BBC.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 12, 2013 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

            I have never said on this site that I am “highly skilled” nor have I ever said I am a “knowledgeable engineer”
            This is just another of your imagined fantasies.
            But carry on Jerry if it keeps you busy.

          • Jerry
            Posted August 12, 2013 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

            @Ed2: What you actually mean is; the ex Tory MP, who is now head of the BBC Trust, accepts that the BBC has a left wing liberal culture. Hmm….

            But once again you miss the real point, no doubt right-wingers like you Ed2 would be defending the BBC had they a right-wing bias (when have you ever complained about the bias seen on Sky News, bias being in the eyes of the beholder and all that. People like you are not interested in the bias, just what the flavour of the bias is.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 13, 2013 at 8:36 am | Permalink

            So you believe the BBC output is politically balanced and you are entitled to your opinion

            You refuse to accept that the BBC top management and Trust have actually said there is a left wing liberal culture in the organisation which affects programmes

            Look it up and have a read, before you make yourself look even more foolish on here.

          • Jerry
            Posted August 13, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink

            @Edward2: I have never said on this site that I am “highly skilled” nor have I ever said I am a “knowledgeable engineer”

            Yet you criticise, flying off the handle and riling against those who are, but never mind, you don’t seem to have a very good sarcasm radar either! 😛

          • Jerry
            Posted August 13, 2013 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

            @Ed2: No print or broadcast media outlet is well balanced in the UK, but you don’t seem to worry about that, just the BBC’s existence – wanting to the back of it, not the whole industry regulated to be unbiased and balanced…

  33. Bazman
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    However you spin this when you step off the plane in Germany you can see it is a more advances country from the buses, the roads, buildings and other infrastructure. The reverse being true when you step off the plane from Germany to the The Czech Republic. Germany is a middle class society with middle class ideal. Britain is not and will not be as long as it is run by millionaire public schoolboys including Labour in this who have also done their bit to run down the middle classes and especially the working classes who have been massively sold out to help the rich become richer and ironically the middle classes who have been hit the hardest believing in the fantasy that the economic problems faced are down to the welfare bill which is true as the corporate welfare bill climbs ever higher and has to also subside the personal welfare bill. The answers being to cut the personal welfare bill by such measures as the extra bedroom charge which as the government must have know that there is a shortage of smaller properties is in fact a tax on being poor.
    In Germany it should be noted that the worst jobs are done by imported labour (words left out ed) and simple jobs like secretarial work is done for often higher rates than a shipyard tradesman who in my experience are either the (migrant workers ed) or if they are German the foreman or if doing the work of a (foreign ed) person down on their luck. You never see a car leaking oil onto the road by the way in Germany and if it does your neighbour will report you for it and you will be fined. I once went to a village meeting/music/beer in Northern Germany and strangely everyone was wearing glasses. The German man who i was with also produced a pair of glasses even though I had seen him reading broadsheets without them. Many by the light reflected were just clear glass. I laughed and he was outraged.
    Are your rectory wall thick enough for that sort of stuff?
    Ram it.

  34. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    What I miss in the blog is that Germany is still carrying the burden of reunification (a rich West Germany with a poor East Germany), which influences income per head comparisons. Furthermore these can be calculated in ways to suit particular arguments. Is Luxembourg (EZ) worse of than Switzerland (non-EU)? A better approach than to compare countries this way is to see where you can learn from good practices in the other country. There are some good practices in the UK Germany could learn from and vice versa.
    My experience with the BBC is that it always shows the different sides of an issue, more than any blog would or could. “Perceived bias is often in the eyes of the beholder”.

    Reply The two Germanies have been united for more than 20 years now. All large countries have some poorer areas within them, so I do nto see why I need to make special allowances for Germany but not for the poorer areas in the US and UK.

    • Richard1
      Posted August 11, 2013 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      In Luxembourg, EU bureaucracy is an industry in its own right such is the size of it relative to the rest of the economy and population.

      • Bazman
        Posted August 13, 2013 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        Luxembourg is one of the biggest beneficiaries from the EU richard3. Is this what you are saying?

  35. Mark B
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    John Redwood MP said;

    “I missed the BBC propaganda movie……….”

    Keep saying things like that, and you will be getting a ‘Bad boy’ image.

    “All the surveys also show that the USA is richer per head than Germany or the UK,…….”

    Not in Detroit.

    These are all numbers. They go up, they go down. And people pick those that best suit their arguments. The numbers that concern me most are, the deficit and the National Debt. Both way too high and not under control. And please, do not say the The Coalition Government blah blah blah. I am not interested, you have had long enough. They interest payments are slowly strangling us.

    • zorro
      Posted August 11, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      ‘Bad boy’ reputation indeed…..if JR lived in the USA, it would have to be Dallas!

      zorro

  36. peter davies
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    Funny you talk about home ownership – a certain Mr Blanchflower did a recent study implying high levels of home ownership having an adverse effect on the labour market – given his obvious political persuasion and the way the BBC cherry pick data from their own types of people I wonder if there’s a link.

  37. Johnny Norfolk
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    The BBC would like to remove our independence having us all live in rental properties waiting for government handouts and keeping us quiet. No chance as we are British not German. We do not follow like Germans we lead when we are allowed to.We just need to get rid of what we have now. and replace with UKIP.

    • zorro
      Posted August 11, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      Don’t be ridiculous!…I am sure that BBC employees own their homes too….. 🙂

      zorro

      • Robert Taggart
        Posted August 14, 2013 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        Indeed, paid for by the ‘taxpayers’ though !

  38. Rods
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    No surprises where the BBC are consistently part of the problem and rarely the solution. Personally, I’ve stopped watching live TV as I won’t fund this disgraceful organisation.

    One big advantage Germany has is a positive balance of payments, where the UK’s is bad at -3.8% and getting worse. We also used to be a net global investor but are no longer. Germany also has a balanced budget where we are running an unsustainable £120bn a year deficit. This means there is trouble ahead. But, this also applies to Germany with the Euro as most of the Euro countries can’t match the German cost-productivity standard and with no independent currency exchange rate mechanism available to take the strain then Germany is going to have to provide permanent flows on money to the weaker countries much like we do the Wales, Scotland and NI for the currency to have any chance of sustainability. I suspect this will make the Eastern German subsidies look like small change, which is going to be a massive drain on their available resources in the future.

    For the UK to get better, we on the whole need much more able politicians. You and a very few other MPs are the exception with real world business experience and it shows! The UK has had on the whole poor politicians and governments throughout my life with Margaret Thatcher’s being the exception. The best of the UK companies are a match for any in the world and this applies to our top engineering companies like Rolls Royce, ARM and BA to name but a few. There just aren’t enough of them.

    The alarm bells should be ringing where the UK is increasingly having to sell the family silver to fund our balance of payments problem as the repatriation of profits is going to make this worse.

    Humans to survive need four necessities:
    1. Clean, safe water.
    2. Energy for heating and cooking.
    3. Shelter and clothing.
    4. Food.

    Everything else can to a degree be considered a luxury. All UK governments seem to like to make these scarce and expensive.

    1. In the south we only need about 10% less rainfall than average and water is rationed through hosepipe bans etc. As a very wet island we are never short of water, we just lack the infrastructure to get it to the right places. UK water is also not cheap.

    2. Energy: With this and the last Government’s expensive energy policies this is increasingly becoming unaffordable for many families and a bigger and bigger drain on industry. Again Government intervention has made it scarce and expensive with currently 1% electricity generation capacity margin and new expensive local diesel generating needed to stop grid instability when the wrong sort of wind is blowing. Will the lights stay on when we next have a cold winter Siberian high pressure weather system over the UK with no wind blowing. With a 1% generating margin I doubt it.

    3. Shelter: A restrictive and complex planning system with new house stealth taxes through having to pay local authorities infrastructure development fees. Again prices are as a result artificially high with shortages of places for people to live.

    4. Food: CAP, fisheries policies which make food more expensive than it needs to be and we currently have record numbers of people having to use food banks, while we give away £12bn in foreign aid.

    The UK tax burden is much too high for the quality of services they provide. Where too many public services seem to exist for themselves we are in the unfortunate position of first class prices and all to often near to third-world services. One thing I consistently hear about high high tax countries like Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland is how much better their public services work.

    Yes, the UK does need to do many things better, but their are plenty of other countries this applies to, some of whom are very close to us. Most of all we need better governments that do less things, much more effectively and efficiently. Over to you where as an MP you are one of the directors of UK PLC.

    • Bazman
      Posted August 11, 2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      May be you should start watching German TV and see how good it is. Astra 19.2 gives some great German TV for a variety of tastes such as oompah bands, religion, talk shows (etc ed) all mixed in with American TV shows and adverts for products that can be consumed such as yoghurt. Maybe you could watch SKY or some other British TV, but what will you do if it tells you the same as the BBC? Could always watch FOX News for your right wing fantasies?

      • Bazman
        Posted August 13, 2013 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for visiting Rods. Any site I visit I can follow up my views. Oh! And comments. You seemly cannot.

  39. Bazman
    Posted August 10, 2013 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Lifelogic. You will need to tell us and crystallise the facts on one subject at least.Throwaway or Longevity in relation to white goods. We are sick of your ranting and claims of intellectual abilities. It’s is like BBC propaganda. (word left out ed) Outrageous. No reply? Why?

    • Edward2
      Posted August 11, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      “We are sick”..do you mean the Royal “we” Baz?
      Or you and Uni?
      Politics is all about opinions.
      Argument is useful and if done properly can sometimes help change minds.

      • Bazman
        Posted August 11, 2013 at 11:37 am | Permalink

        You need some facts to back up your opinions are they are just ranting opinions. Clarkson is a good example fun, but not real and reinforcing bigotry does not help change minds or opinions.

        • Edward2
          Posted August 11, 2013 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

          A rant to you Baz is an opinion to someone else.
          Bigotry is just a strongly held opinion.
          If we all had the same opinions it would be very boring world.

          • Bazman
            Posted August 12, 2013 at 5:18 am | Permalink

            Bigotry is just a strongly held opinion? LOL!

          • Edward2
            Posted August 12, 2013 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

            In your eyes, yes.
            And that’s my point Baz , which sadly you failed to appreciate.

            LOL if you want but its your bias that makes you feel everyone you disagree with is a “fantasist” or is “deluded” or is a “bigot” or is on a “rant”
            Its just the other side of the political spectrum… which you don’t agree with.

          • Bazman
            Posted August 15, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

            Keep digging. LOL!

          • Edward 2
            Posted August 16, 2013 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

            So there we have the opinions of someone of the left wing of politics.
            Bigotry etc is whatever opinons they disagree with
            The overall aim being to close down debate by personal abuse or applying labels.
            Whereas their opinions are of course perfect in every way and must be heard in reverential and respectful silence

          • Bazman
            Posted August 17, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

            Maybe you have now invented digotry?

  40. Paul
    Posted August 11, 2013 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    “No surprises where the BBC are consistently part of the problem and rarely the solution. Personally, I’ve stopped watching live TV as I won’t fund this disgraceful organisation.”

    I recall one extraordinary interview I saw featuring Mr Redwood and Peter Mandelson, they were talking about economic issues, or trying to anyway. Mandelson had his say, uninterrupted, then Mr Redwood attempted to respond. Mandelson kept talking over him and was actually leaning in front of him so he was between Mr Redwood and the camera so Mr Redwood wasn’t visible. The moderator did nothing about this, it’s the rudest thing I’ve ever seen. It’s a credit to John Redwood that he kept his cool.

    I see this all the time. Ed Balls or someone is allowed to pontificate for ten minutes on boosting the economy – he’s almost never asked “Okay, where’s the money coming from then”, then a Government response can’t get three consecutive words out without being picked apart (badly usually). I do not have a problem with ‘challenge the government’ but it was exactly the same when Labour were in power.

    They allow all sorts of vague nonsense like “let’s go for growth” which yes, it’s a great idea, but how do you actually do it ?

    • Bazman
      Posted August 11, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      where all the money is coming from to fund cuts that cost more than the cut. The BBC often asks this. Should they be stopped from doing so?

    • REPay
      Posted August 12, 2013 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      Yes, the left in Germany tends to take public finances seriously unlike the Labour Party. the BBC could make a fine program comparing the SPD to Brown and Balls, the budget bingers and PFI tricksters…votes today pay tomorrow. The bankers still get the blame.

  41. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 11, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    As an owner-occupier in the UK I have the bloody local council sticking its nose into what I can and cannot do on and with my own property, and I have the bloody UK government sticking its nose into what I can and cannot do on and with my own property, and as the years go by I increasingly find the thrice bloody EU sticking its nose into what I can and cannot do on and with my property.

    The only consolation is that on top of the bloody council and the bloody government and the thrice bloody EU I don’t also have a bloody landlord sticking his nose into what I can and cannot do on and with his property.

    If most Germans care little for the degree of independence which comes from owning your own home rather than having to please a landlord then I feel sorry for them, and I certainly have no desire at all to copy them.

  42. lojolondon
    Posted August 11, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    John, this is the Biased-BBC all over. Free housing is ‘good’. Tories and ‘cuts’ are ‘bad’. The BBC is the propaganda wing of the Labour Party. It is undemocratic to use £6Billion taxpayers money every year to fund the deeply left-wing drivel that we have to sit through. I am sure one day there will be a Conservative Prime Minister who understands this and takes action.

    • John
      Posted August 16, 2013 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      the BBC’s recent prurient programs related to who is and who is not deserving of state help doesn’t entirely bare your argument out.

  43. rose
    Posted August 11, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    The inference I took from the BBC film was that the hausfrau is respected for what she is and does, and the tax system recognizes that. This, rather than the German predilection for renting over buying was what strengthens the nation. Also there are strong forces at work, including responsible neighbourhood police, to ensure stability and social cohesion based on a shared set of rules to make life in cities more pleasant for all.

    • rose
      Posted August 11, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      PS this was all very un-BBC!

    • Robert Taggart
      Posted August 14, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      …make life in cities more pleasant… – unless you be a shopper on Saturday !

  44. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted August 12, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Well you all would try and bring down the BBC just like all other British organisations which have been systematically brought down over the years. What a brilliant organisation !

  45. REPay
    Posted August 12, 2013 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    JR – you missed one important point about the BBC’s coverage of Germany. In recent quarters the UK has outperformed Germany with positive growth in the UK and negative in Germany. Yet any reference to Germany always states that it is doing better. The Social Democracy in Germany is very attractive to the left. I have lived in Germany, and unlike the Labour Party all parties there take immense concern to keep public finances sound!

  46. Robert Taggart
    Posted August 14, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Watched the series and appreciated the content.
    They do say – travel broadens the mind – this did – without ever leaving home. or our sofa !
    The work / life balance would appear to be more family friendly in Germany, but, as a scrounger – this matters not !
    One knew a little about the bizarre laws the Germans have concerning behaviour on Sunday and shopping on Saturday – makes us glad not to be living there !

    Blighty won the war, but, Germany won the peace.

  47. John
    Posted August 16, 2013 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    Is it not true that co-operation and not competition is at the hear of good society and good business?. The average German worker is rewarded for working hard even for the most menial task while enjoying a good standard of living. Does a country have to be the most competitive so long as the population are generally content and happy. This seems to be an ideology lost on the minds of the neocon so lost in the politic of the self.

  48. SJM50
    Posted November 8, 2013 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    Being a home owner I agree is better than renting, you build equity in the property, where as renting you get nothing. Pharmaceuticals, now that could be part of the problem because research and development costs are expensive, takes highly skilled workers so education is expensive.

    I’m feeling like a hound right now because I was going to buy an auto insurance policy that is owned by a British company. I found out that it would cost me more than my current policy after a little deception on their part. I cancelled the policy not to shoot anyone in the foot, but because I personally live on a fixed income and was looking to save money. I had to go back to my old insurance company.

    “Title insurance firms rake in $18 billion a year for a product that is outdated, largely unneeded–and protected by law.” This is insurance you have to buy to protect your mortgage, your deed, the title to your property.

    The Health Insurance industry in the US right now would be a good business to be in because they are changing it, insurance companies are going to have to compete and come up with new products to fit the new Obamacare laws.

    Oil, Gas, Retail, Communications, electronics, electric utility, automotive, financial services, food processing, telecommunications, healthcare, computer science, chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, are 63 of the largest companies in the US.

    For any European business people that want to come and see how Americans work, many of our larger companies offer internship programs, some of them are paid, some are not.

  49. David
    Posted January 15, 2014 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Total Tosh. Whatever statistics you pick and chose to suit your arguments are all nonsense. Experience counts. I have lived and worked in Cologne Germany for 14 years before returning to the UK. ( not in the UK military) I can assure you their quality of life is better in every way I can think of. Health, transport, education, leisure time etc etc
    FACT. Anyone who thinks the UK is in ANY way superior is sadly delusioned
    David, a proud but realistic Englishman

  50. Murray
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    Very good post. I certainly appreciate this website. Stick with it!

  51. Rittik Saha
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Germany is the best country in the world. See the infrastructure and the industries.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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