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Guardian Leftie Bails on Schroeder

by Christopher Chantrill
September 07, 2005 at 11:29 am

YOU’D think that the chaps at Britain’s lefty Guardian would love German Chancellor Schröder. He’s as solid a Social Democrat as you could imagine. He’s defending the European “social model” from the evil forces of Anglo-American globalization. He’s earned standing “O”s for his strident (and convenient) anti-Americanism. So why is Martin Kettle bailing out on the Unions-Kanzler?

Well, it’s because of a personal failure of leadership, whatever that means.

The SPD’s central failure has been its inability to provide a coherent social-market-based answer to the problems posed for the nation state by globalisation.

Well that’s a thought! The problem is, of course, that there is no coherent social-market-based answer to the problems posed by globalization. The whole idea of the social market is to ignore the market and promise big fixed benefits and pensions to your supporters when you don’t have a clue whether you will ever be able to pay those benefits without bankrupting the nation.

Actually, the Social Democrats in Germany and elsewhere do have a coherent plan to solve the problems posed by globalization. It is to retreat as slowly as possible, pretending that they are delivering on their promises while slowly withdrawing them, bit by bit.

But the laugh is on Kettle. Recent news indicates that the German economy is finally starting to perk up after 15 years in the doldrums. Wage costs are down and exports are up. It’s all probably due to Germany’s famous “Mittelstand,” the medium-sized business that dominate Germany’s exports. If Angela Merkel wins the election and becomes Chancellor then she will get the credit for the economic upswing that is already in progress.

Does Martin Kettle really want that?


Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.  His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.


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©2007 Christopher Chantrill