In this morning's (25/11/10) Globe and Mail, Timothy Garton Ash has an argument that goes something like this:
1. Germany is very successful.
2. Ireland and others are not.
3. But Germany wants Ireland and others to stay in the eurozone.
Conclusion: Germany should make Ireland and others feel better by becoming less German. "The right balance may be: 70 per cent other euro zone countries become more 'German', 30 per cent Germany becomes less so."
This is of a piece with articles that I have been reading recently, which go something like this. Go to Turkey/Portugal/Britain. You'll find a lot of German goods on the shelves/on the roads/in the home. This is not good. Germany should stop it.
Can I say? -- I don't get it. Everybody in the world wants either a Mercedes Benz, or a BMW, or an Audi. (Oh ok: 90%. Some want a Maserati. But who exactly wants a Honda, really wants a Honda?) When they can't have one of those German brands, they'd rather settle for a Volkswagen than a Toyota. So what are the Germans supposed to do? Build in a few problems with the accelerator pedal? This seems to be Garton Ash's solution.
While I am on the topic, Germany illustrates to me why we all want more government. There's piles of government there. But there's prosperity, culture, and lots of public transit. And as far as I can tell, Angela Merkel doesn't keep showing up and telling you what to do. What do Sarah Palin/Glenn Beck think about this? That Germany should become 30% less civilized?