Tuesday, 10 March 2009

'With faith in the future, let us together build yesterday today.'

Our family, our extended family, has been out and about consuming, as we must. In the last month there have been three serious purchases: a car, a new kitchen, and a big tumbler drier. As with all large purchases there has been lots of comparing and consulting and choosing. All these things have to match current and future requirements for some years and meet current budgets. And look good, be reliable, embody up-to-date technology, have reliable suppliers for any servicing, and have reasonable delivery dates.

The car is a Mercedes, the tumbler drier is Bosch, the new kitchen oven, hob, fridge, etc are German too. (The skilled men refurbishing the kitchen - plastering, flooring, tiling, electrics, carpentry including redoing of the sash windows, and installing the units are from east of Germany but work like, well, Germans, with all the assurance and capability that comes from proper tradesmen's training. Quotes were taken, and insurances and elf'n'safety statuses checked).

There is a lot of teasing about me thinking I am a one-person focus group: the 'if I'm doing it most other people are as well' thoughts I was unwise enough to expose to family view. Professional-level criticism has been unleashed unkindly within the family circle on this belief. Nevertheless, I persist in thinking (though this time just to myself) that it is significant that Germany has needed none of the almost unthinkable trillion-plus pounds - the equal of the UK's GDP - splurged on supporting its financial system, its economy, its society. While they ended the German Democratic Republic and healed the wounds of market socialism, over the same years New Labour built state capitalism in our country.

And the answer to the question, 'What is the difference between market socialism and state capitalism?' None at all.


Caronte said...

Market Socialism in the GDR? Only insofar as they traded fairly freely with the Federal Republic, to the point that GDR-GFR trade was treated in official national and international statistics as domestic trade. And through its trade with Federal Germany the GDR waw widely regarded as an EU extra member state. Otherwise Market Socialism in the GDR was a distant and not universally desired target. They tended to drink socialism neat.

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see whether Germany can continue to keep its collective nose clean, or whether it gets strongarmed to support (read bail out) the feckless Mediterranean fringe, with results inimical to its own stability.

Of course if nobody bails out the wasters, the eurozone will probably collapse.

There's always a silver lining...