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Commentary :: Globalization : International : Labor
European monetary fables tell a story, but for whom?
22 Feb 2012
It's German wage cuts, not "lazy" Greeks
Fables have long been used to tell stories and impart “moral” lessons. Not limited to bedtime stories, fables are a common device to propagate “lessons” that powerful interests wish to suffuse through a society. A favorite fable nowadays is that of the virtuous Germans and the lazy Greeks. Punishment – excuse me, “structural adjustment” — is the natural denouement of this oft-told fable.

In reality, this mythology has about as much to do with reality as the big bad wolf blowing down grandmother’s house.

Greek workers actually work many more hours than do Germans, and earn less. The “secret” to Germany’s economic dominance within the European Union is cuts to German wages. Germany has undercut other countries that use the euro as their currency by suppressing wages, a process that took form under a Social Democratic government.

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