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Köhler, Holm-Detlev

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El País - Spain | 04/01/2013

Holm-Detlev Köhler on the myth of the German reform miracle

It is not the reforms of the Agenda 2010 that Germany has to thank for its economic stability but its resourceful companies, German sociologist Holm-Detlev Köhler contends in the left-liberal daily El País: "The German entrepreneur takes advantage of times of economic growth to invest in new equipment and technologies that enable him to improve his company's competitiveness. In times of crisis he cooperates with the trade unions and negotiates reductions in working hours and training courses that enable him to keep his skilled workers. When the economy booms a Spanish entrepreneur recruits cheap labour on temporary contracts, which neither boosts his productivity nor his competitiveness. . In a crisis he makes mass dismissals and uses the situation to exploit his remaining employees. … The German miracle is therefore down to the country's traditionally strong industry and the relations between employers and employees, and has nothing to do with the supposed reforms launched at the beginning of the new century. … In sum, the rest of Europe can learn a lot from Germany's entrepreneurs and quite a bit from its trade unions, but nothing from its politicians or bankers."

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