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Thu Dec 29, 2011, 11:49 AM

Why do we work harder than Germans?

I notice everything around me, and, having lived abroad, I noticed a huge difference in the work rules between Europe and the U.S.

For example:
Cashiers at stores and supermarkets in Europe are allowed to sit as they work;
Workers have a month (or longer) of vacation, and many, many holidays;
Cafeterias inside corporate buildings offer wine, and workers have wine during lunch (and return to lunch feeling quite good lol);

This, without even mentioning that they have unions, get paid more, and don't have to depend on jobs to have health care, which is socialized.

I think there's a treadmill attitude toward work here, the worker seen as the hamster, which does not exist in Europe.

I recall hearing someone tell how at her customer service job here in the U.S. (answering phones), the phones were very unbusy that day, and she had stood up to stretch and talk to the person in the next booth (who was also not busy). Suddenly, the manager approached her and said, "You can't just 'stand around' like that. You have to DO something. If you're not busy, sign off and go get a broom or something, sweep, we're not paying you to talk to your friends!"

There's a completely enslaving attitude about work in the U.S., the worker seen as the lazy bum, stealing money. And yet, recently I've been hearing how the American workplace is actually LESS productive than workplaces abroad.

-------------------------
Why Germans Have Longer Vacation Times and More Productivity

It seems many Americans are born hard-wired with the belief that productivity requires time. There are no shortcuts for a good, Puritan work ethic. It's the American Way, after all. We love stories of companies who started with nothing and worked like dogs to become massive successes. The Sam Waltons, the Bill Gates—these are true American heroes.

Self-sacrifice has almost always gone hand-in-hand with entrepreneurship and small businesses. We're capitalists, and he who works the most makes the most money at the end of the day. Or so it would seem.

Yet Europeans have always seemed to have taken a different route when it comes to the work/life balance. Germans on average work around 1,436 hours per year, versus the 1,804 hours Americans work. With those numbers it would be easy to conclude that Americans do more and would be more productive in the workforce. But we don't. Studies show that Germans get roughly the same amount of stuff done in fewer hours each week, and with more vacation time.

More at the link:
http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/why-germans-have-longer-vacation-times-and-more-productivity-glen-stansberry

74 replies, 9402 views

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Arrow 74 replies Author Time Post
Reply Why do we work harder than Germans? (Original post)
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 OP
FreakinDJ Dec 2011 #1
bemildred Dec 2011 #2
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #11
Javaman Dec 2011 #3
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #7
Bragi Dec 2011 #4
Javaman Dec 2011 #6
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #15
Bragi Dec 2011 #27
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #29
Bragi Dec 2011 #32
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #43
Nostalgic Dec 2011 #66
JDPriestly Dec 2011 #52
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #55
TBF Dec 2011 #61
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #64
Nostalgic Dec 2011 #65
izquierdista Dec 2011 #5
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #9
dana_b Dec 2011 #46
Turbineguy Dec 2011 #8
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #10
Javaman Dec 2011 #12
cthulu2016 Dec 2011 #13
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #18
hifiguy Dec 2011 #14
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #17
hifiguy Dec 2011 #23
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #28
SixthSense Dec 2011 #16
gater Dec 2011 #25
SixthSense Dec 2011 #26
LanternWaste Dec 2011 #34
SixthSense Dec 2011 #36
LanternWaste Dec 2011 #38
SixthSense Dec 2011 #41
JDPriestly Dec 2011 #53
prepperdad Dec 2011 #19
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #20
Odin2005 Dec 2011 #21
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #22
hifiguy Dec 2011 #24
Drale Dec 2011 #30
Lint Head Dec 2011 #31
Snake Alchemist Dec 2011 #35
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #40
HughBeaumont Dec 2011 #33
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #39
hifiguy Dec 2011 #59
Snake Alchemist Dec 2011 #37
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #42
Snake Alchemist Dec 2011 #44
Tierra_y_Libertad Dec 2011 #45
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #48
Tierra_y_Libertad Dec 2011 #49
MilesColtrane Dec 2011 #47
obnoxiousdrunk Dec 2011 #50
lapislzi Dec 2011 #51
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #54
hfojvt Dec 2011 #56
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #57
KitSileya Dec 2011 #58
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #63
hfojvt Dec 2011 #68
Rex Dec 2011 #60
RainDog Dec 2011 #62
dems_rightnow Dec 2011 #67
SoCalDem Dec 2011 #69
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #73
Norrin Radd Dec 2011 #70
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #71
Proud Liberal Dem Dec 2011 #72
Politicub Dec 2011 #74

Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 11:53 AM

1. "Shut up and go back to your cubical"

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 11:54 AM

2. Dumber? More indoctrinated? More broke? nt

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Response to bemildred (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 12:02 PM

11. All of the above? OR a nefarious capitalistic system that is a slave driver? I think the latter

rather than any of the former?

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 11:56 AM

3. Last year, I had a horrible cold.

probably on the fringe of a the flu.

anyway, a friend of mine who works in my buidling is from Germany.

She saw me and asked why I was at work? I told her, I didn't have any PTO hours left.

She looked at me in disgust and said, "in Germany, you would have been sent home with pay".

I asked her why she left Germany. She said she didn't, she has duel citizenship. She plans on retiring there. She goes home 3 months out of the year. Her job allows her that. It's German owned.

I put in a resumen for her company. They have a waiting list. Big surprise.

This is worker drone #1138 signing off.

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Response to Javaman (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 11:58 AM

7. Worker drones is what workers are in the U.S. - perfect name.

I can't blame you for putting in a resume for her company. And yes, Europeans are SHOCKED that Americans show up at work sick. AMERICANS HAVE TO! Anyone here in the U.S. can lose their job for being 'too sick.' They may not tell you that's the reason, but they'll sure make up something else to fire you!

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 11:57 AM

4. "American dream" ideology keeps Americans at work longer

Americans believe the nonsense that anyone can be whatever they want to be if they work hard. This keeps employers happy, workers busy, and allows society to blame the poor for the hardship they must rightfully endure because they are lazy, or they would all be millionaires.

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Response to Bragi (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 11:58 AM

6. We are disposable and are disposed of every day.

work is freedom.

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Response to Bragi (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 12:06 PM

15. The American Dream was a nice piece of propaganda. It sounds great on paper and in movies.

The reality is quite different.

You know what's funny? Americans (mostly right wing) will say, "Well, I can point out people that started out at the bottom, and through pure hard work became millionaires."

Well, I point out the following:

(1) You can find that even in India and Mexico. There are examples everywhere of people who went from having almost nothing to becoming millionaires. Those examples are the exception, not the rule, even in the U.S.
(2) People whom are said to have 'made it,' whether in India, Mexico, or here, made it because they had some spectacular circumstances, situations, breaks, etc. Again, it's the exception, never the rule.
(3) Americans are VERY FOND of using the highly unusual as an example of something that everyone CAN do, when that's a fallacy.

That's what the American Dream is about, and that's why it's called a dream. It's not reality.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Reply #15)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 12:26 PM

27. Agreed, the truth lies in statistics, not anecdotes

The statistics show that if you are born poor or rich in America, that you will die poor or rich. A few poor people will move up and a few rich will slide down, but the overwhelming majority of people will remain stuck in the class in which they were born.

That's the American reality, though not the Dream.

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Response to Bragi (Reply #27)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 12:27 PM

29. People need to make that clear to others, so finally the myth of the American Dream will die. Part

of the reason suffering people in the U.S. are so complacent, is the fairy tale of the American Dream.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Reply #29)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 12:48 PM

32. Yep

I think most people do now know there is something wrong with the American Dream, which is why the "We are the 99%" slogan took off as it did. It indirectly refutes the American Dream BS, and for the first time in decades, re-introduced the concepts of economic inequality, social injustice and crony capitalism into public discourse.

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Response to Bragi (Reply #32)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 01:36 PM

43. And that's a huge part of the message of OCCUPY. Thank goodness for OCCUPY and ANONYMOUS nt

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Response to Bragi (Reply #32)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 06:14 PM

66. there are still a lot of people who believe in the "dream"

or peddle it, like Faux Noiz.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Reply #15)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 02:23 PM

52. As has already been pointed out by greater minds than mine:

Steven Paul Jobs (/ˈdʒɒbz/; February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011) (was born to two Berkeley students and then adopted.)

The Jobs family moved from San Francisco to Mountain View, California when Steve was five years old. Paul and Clara later adopted a daughter, Patti. Paul Jobs, a machinist for a company that made lasers, taught his son rudimentary electronics and how to work with his hands. Clara was an accountant, who taught him to read before he went to school. Clara Jobs had been a payroll clerk for Varian Associates, one of the first high-tech firms in what became known as Silicon Valley.

Jobs attended Monta Loma Elementary, Mountain View, Cupertino Junior High and Homestead High School in Cupertino, California. He frequented after-school lectures at the Hewlett-Packard Company in Palo Alto, California, and was later hired there, working with Steve Wozniak as a summer employee. Following high school graduation in 1972, Jobs enrolled at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Although he dropped out after only one semester, he continued auditing classes at Reed, while sleeping on the floor in friends' rooms, returning Coke bottles for food money, and getting weekly free meals at the local Hare Krishna temple. Jobs later said, "If I had never dropped in on that single calligraphy course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Jobs

William Henry "Bill" Gates III (born October 28, 1955)

Gates was born in Seattle, Washington, to William H. Gates, Sr. and Mary Maxwell Gates. His parents are of English, German, and Scotch-Irish descent. His father was a prominent lawyer, and his mother served on the board of directors for First Interstate BancSystem and the United Way. Gates's maternal grandfather was J. W. Maxwell, a national bank president. Gates has one elder sister, Kristi (Kristianne), and one younger sister, Libby. He was the fourth of his name in his family, but was known as William Gates III or "Trey" because his father had the "II" suffix. Early on in his life, Gates' parents had a law career in mind for him. When Gates was young, his family regularly attended a Congregational church.

At 13 he enrolled in the Lakeside School, an exclusive preparatory school. When he was in the eighth grade, the Mothers Club at the school used proceeds from Lakeside School's rummage sale to buy a Teletype Model 33 ASR terminal and a block of computer time on a General Electric (GE) computer for the school's students. Gates took an interest in programming the GE system in BASIC, and was excused from math classes to pursue his interest. He wrote his first computer program on this machine: an implementation of tic-tac-toe that allowed users to play games against the computer. Gates was fascinated by the machine and how it would always execute software code perfectly. When he reflected back on that moment, he said, "There was just something neat about the machine." After the Mothers Club donation was exhausted, he and other students sought time on systems including DEC PDP minicomputers. One of these systems was a PDP-10 belonging to Computer Center Corporation (CCC), which banned four Lakeside students—Gates, Paul Allen, Ric Weiland, and Kent Evans—for the summer after it caught them exploiting bugs in the operating system to obtain free computer time.

At the end of the ban, the four students offered to find bugs in CCC's software in exchange for computer time. Rather than use the system via Teletype, Gates went to CCC's offices and studied source code for various programs that ran on the system, including programs in FORTRAN, LISP, and machine language. The arrangement with CCC continued until 1970, when the company went out of business. The following year, Information Sciences, Inc. hired the four Lakeside students to write a payroll program in COBOL, providing them computer time and royalties. After his administrators became aware of his programming abilities, Gates wrote the school's computer program to schedule students in classes. He modified the code so that he was placed in classes with mostly female students. He later stated that "it was hard to tear myself away from a machine at which I could so unambiguously demonstrate success." At age 17, Gates formed a venture with Allen, called Traf-O-Data, to make traffic counters based on the Intel 8008 processor. In early 1973, Bill Gates served as a congressional page in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Gates graduated from Lakeside School in 1973. He scored 1590 out of 1600 on the SAT and enrolled at Harvard College in the autumn of 1973. While at Harvard, he met Steve Ballmer, who later succeeded Gates as CEO of Microsoft.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Gates

Steven Anthony "Steve" Ballmer (born March 24, 1956)

Ballmer was born in Detroit, Michigan to a Swiss American father and a Jewish American mother. He grew up in the affluent community of Farmington Hills, Michigan. In 1973, he attended college prep and engineering classes at Lawrence Technological University and graduated from Detroit Country Day School, a private college preparatory school in Beverly Hills, Michigan and now sits on its board of directors. In 1977, he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a A.B. in mathematics and economics.

At college, Ballmer managed the football team, worked on The Harvard Crimson newspaper as well as the Harvard Advocate, and lived down the hall from fellow sophomore Bill Gates. He then worked for two years as an assistant product manager at Procter & Gamble, where he shared an office with Jeffrey R. Immelt, who later became CEO of General Electric. In 1980, he dropped out of the Stanford Graduate School of Business to join Microsoft.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Ballmer

Sometimes the year of your birth can make a big difference, as can what your parents do for a living, where you live -- and what part of the world your soul happens to land in.

Would Bill Gates have done as well had he been born in Little Rock, Arkansas? (No insult intended to Arkansas, but would his family have been able to send him to an elite school).

Who you happen to meet during your life makes an enormous difference. If you are born in 1981, daughter of a 14-year-old gang member and grow up in the 'hood in LA, the odds that if you work really hard, you can drop out of Harvard and start a company like Microsoft are not very high.

Fate and fortune play a role in who gets what and how they get it.

Helps to be born brilliant, but again how much work goes into being born brilliant?

Still, you can have fate, fortune, talent and brilliance and still make a terrible mess of your life. So good sense and hard work do play a role. But luck plays an even bigger one.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #52)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 02:40 PM

55. The American Dream continues to be a dream and not a reality. nt

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Reply #15)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 05:26 PM

61. I tend to refer to it as the American Nightmare -

or as George Carlin said (paraphrasing) they call it the American Dream because you'd have to be asleep to believe it.

K&R the OP.

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Response to TBF (Reply #61)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 05:41 PM

64. LOL! I loved and love George Carlin nt

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Response to Bragi (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 06:09 PM

65. omg I never thought of it that way.

You're right!

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 11:57 AM

5. Americans waste their time AT work

 

Sure, you can't stand up and stretch and LOOK like you aren't busy, but as long as you LOOK busy and industrious and multi-tasking, you can be on the phone arranging the weekend skeet shoot with your buddies while surfing the web for suppliers who deliver both beer AND clay pigeons.

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Response to izquierdista (Reply #5)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 12:00 PM

9. I'm sure that can happen. After all, they expect you to not waste 1 second. nt

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Response to izquierdista (Reply #5)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 01:42 PM

46. I guess that depends on the type of job

I have seen what you are describing in an office setting however there are numerous jobs that require full attention nearly 100% of the time. I've worked in those type of jobs more often and have had no time to waste.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 11:59 AM

8. We are conditioned.

If things get tough we say "I'll just have to work harder". And the harder we work, the tougher things get. Because it means that if you are poor or just sick or unfortunate, it's because you are not working hard enough. And since I work so fucking hard, why should I be forced to share with you? Arbeit macht frei.

Most of us are on the wrong side of the curve. It's better to live on your feet than die on your knees.

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Response to Turbineguy (Reply #8)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 12:01 PM

10. Yup, the American workplace is an experiment with hamster-people. nt

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Response to Turbineguy (Reply #8)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 12:04 PM

12. see my post at #6. nt

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 12:05 PM

13. Because our safety net is weak

Even when unemployment is relatively low it is usually still a "buyer's market" for labor here because the insecurity of unemployment is higher.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #13)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 12:10 PM

18. Exactly. And the fact that American corporations took jobs out of here and took them elsewhere

makes things that much worse for workers in a market that was already treadmill-style.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 12:06 PM

14. Good old American-style Calvinism

is at the root of it. Add the ludicrous and inhumane presumption in this country that an employer is entitled to absolute and total control over everyone who works for them and there you have it.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #14)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 12:09 PM

17. EXACTLY! The employer here is a king. The workers are the serfs. You know what's funny?

That CALVIN was French, and in France, the worker enjoys his life far more than American workers do. I guess France evolved. The U.S. did not, and conservatives want to conserve all the bullshit of the past, including the concept of the employer being the king and dictator.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Reply #17)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 12:22 PM

23. Calvin was so obnoxious that

he was chased out of France to notoriously tolerant Switzerland and even the Swiss found him hard to take.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #23)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 12:26 PM

28. LOL! Serves him right. I didn't know that, by the way. Now I think I want to read his bio.

It should be titled, Ousted for Obnoxia.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 12:06 PM

16. one reason

 

we're still protecting the rest of Europe from them and the Soviet Union

that's quite a load to lift, so we got to work harder than they do to be even up

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Response to SixthSense (Reply #16)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 12:23 PM

25. Que?

Ummm, can one even find the Soviet Union on a recent map of the world? Do you mean we are protecting Europe from the past?
Your response hurts my head!

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Response to gater (Reply #25)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 12:26 PM

26. sadly

 

that is the doctrine we are following, and have been since the end of WW2 - "keep the Germans down and the Russians out"

(it hurts my head too, if that's any consolation)

but yes we are there to prevent Germany from going Nazi again and to stop Soviet tanks from crossing the Fulda Gap

now you see how outdated and inertia-driven our foreign policy really is

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Response to SixthSense (Reply #16)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 01:04 PM

34. What the relevant and precise amount of work-hours going into our NATO commitments

What the relevant and precise amount of work-hours per person going into our NATO commitments as opposed to the amount of work hours per person the Germans put into their NATO commitments?

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Response to LanternWaste (Reply #34)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 01:07 PM

36. not sure where I'd get the numbers to calculate that

 

but the % of GDP spent on military is easy to find.... Germany, 1.4%, USA 4.7% - so we're spending 330% more per capita on military than Germany is. So however long a German works to fund his country's military, his US counterpart works over three times as long for the same end.

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Response to SixthSense (Reply #36)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 01:10 PM

38. You made the assertion that Americans work harder to fulfill our commitment to NATO

You made the assertion that Americans work harder to fulfill our commitment to NATO (not the American military as a whole, you see-- merely the numbers relevant to Germany)... I was simply wondering if that was a guess or an observation based off of objective and relevant evidence.

I imagine then, it was a guess...

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Response to LanternWaste (Reply #38)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 01:26 PM

41. A lot of spending is fungible

 

and money being spent in one place may be for another place... e.g. the US patrols the Med, but non-Med countries benefit from the trade routes being safe, even ones that aren't seafaring

Given the number of US bases in Europe and the expense of operating there, it would not terribly surprise me if US citizens paid more per capita to defend Germany specifically than Germans do. But yes these are guesses since coming up with hard numbers on these things is not likely to even be possible.

E.g. think of a single plane that spends X months in Germany, Y months in Bahrain, Z months in Japan over the course of a year. How do you calculate which of the expenses relating to the craft belong to which theatre? Once you figure in amortization you end up with a formula so complex that you're just as likely to get a number you can work with by guessing as by calculating.

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Response to SixthSense (Reply #41)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 02:27 PM

53. Are the theaters really that separate?

Germany has no oil. The oil from the Gulf keeps prices low enough all over the world to enable Germany to buy oil from wherever it chooses to buy it.

So why would you want to attribute the military costs to particular theaters in the world?

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)


Response to prepperdad (Reply #19)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 12:15 PM

20. That's partly it.

One big difference between Europe and the U.S. is that when vacation rolls around, many Americans stay home and 'work on' things around the house, while Europeans actually GO elsewhere on vacation. Things shut down. They leave and vacation for real. Cities look pretty empty in summer.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 12:17 PM

21. Also, when we are working there is a whole "LOOK BUSY" mentality.

The reasoning is that if customers see employees just sitting around, even though business is slow and there is little to do, it will supposedly put off customers. Of course I think it is Calvinist-derived BS.

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Response to Odin2005 (Reply #21)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 12:22 PM

22. YES! That 'look busy' mentality is sick, and typically only found in third world nations. nt

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Response to Odin2005 (Reply #21)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 12:23 PM

24. Jesus is coming.

Look busy.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 12:29 PM

30. Well they went through terrible events in the 20th century

and that may have created a more relaxed attitute towards life, plus all the crazy German's either came to America and started companies and build the "work society" or they where Nazi's and they where arrested after the war or the disapeared.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 12:30 PM

31. Because Germans were witness to a dictatorial regime that took them into an unnecessary

war, suppressed free speech, tortured people, murdered innocent people by the thousands and enslaved them with propaganda. So they wanted a different form of government, finance and commerce.

Hmmmm... sound familiar? Obvious subliminal comparison is transparent with an oxymoron thrown in relating to reasoning for the seasoning.

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Response to Lint Head (Reply #31)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 01:06 PM

35. Kaiser Wilhelm? nt

 

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Response to Lint Head (Reply #31)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 01:14 PM

40. Maybe so. However, the French workers have it even better. nt

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 12:51 PM

33. Some observations . . .

Our workplace is an earth-toned or prison-grey fabric-covered box.

We spend half to 2/3rds of our day doing something related to work.

Most American families are one major illness or one unforseen accident/quadruple-digit home repair from losing everything they worked so hard for.

Unless you’re a doctor or a lawyer or a multi-millionaire, most of us go to work with a 600 pound anvil on our backs that says "You could be NEXT, Peon!"

The American savings rate is now negative thanks to wages not being able to keep up with the rising cost of living.

You're told to perpetually retrain and go to college while people WITH Bachelors degrees and MBAs are getting fired from corporations and small businesses monthly.

You're told to perpetually retrain and go to college when your pocket can't even afford a yoga class.

Sex happens once a week (or once a month . . . . Or once every two months, for some of us) thanks to overwork.

Most of the food we eat is processed.

Most of us are more likely to see a UFO than a comfortable retirement (if any retirement at all).

Anti-depressant use being on the rise . . . Gee THAT one's a puzzler . . .

We're supposed to "compete" instead of "cooperate".

Funny how nobody ever tells the wealthy "You need to know what it's like to FAIL; otherwise, you'll be complacent and never get anywhere in life".

Corporate taxes are low. Taxes on the wealthy are low. Corporations are sitting on tons of cash. Stock markets are doing great for the 1%. Is that whole . . . "trickle down" thing going to happen "any day now" or do I have to wait a leeeetle bit longer?

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Response to HughBeaumont (Reply #33)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 01:12 PM

39. This is the best description of the American worker's life I have ever seen.

I'm going to keep a copy for myself, to remind myself of these points. EXCELLENT summary!

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Response to HughBeaumont (Reply #33)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 05:22 PM

59. That is a brilliant and accurate description of the

average American's lot in life.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 01:08 PM

37. Incredibly strict immigration laws?

 

Check out this article?
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/19/international/europe/19kosovo.html?pagewanted=all

In all seriousness there are probably a myriad of reasons. I used to work for a German manufacturer so I probably have some first hand experiences.

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Response to Snake Alchemist (Reply #37)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 01:32 PM

42. I'm not a good one to ask about immigration. I think Mexicans clearly are not occupying...

the jobs that were outsourced.

The numbers of jobs outsourced are merely estimates, since the U.S. Government so wisely DOES NOT REQUIRE corporations to divulge the number of jobs they outsource or have abroad.

In the year 2004, corporate America had already moved 400,000 good jobs abroad. In 2004, the estimate was that 15,000 good jobs PER MONTH being moved abroad by them. And that's with corporations being allowed to keep this secret, so the number might be twice as large.

We're now in 2012. It's no secret that jobs started becoming almost non-existent during Dubya's reign.

I'm no statistician, but I AM an observer. In Miami, the Miami Herald's Sunday section had in the 80s a job section that was oh, about 20 pages long. I began to notice that the Sunday jobs section of the Miami Herald was diminishing. By 2005 or so, the section was about 4 pages long. When I left Miami, in 2010, that Sunday section was ONE PAGE.

Factories in Hialeah had been shut down, industries in North Miami, in South Miami, in Miami proper, everywhere. And Miami doesn't have it as bad as some places, such as the Midwest, where there's a landscape of shutdown industries. Corporations have raped the U.S. but insist on selling us their foreign-made wares.

In my travels here in the U.S., I have also checked out the Sunday section of the jobs page, and other cities are doing equally bad.

Of course there are no jobs.

That has little to do with the Mexicans who pick potatoes and tomatoes and clean toilets. And while there are issues with immigration, the real evil behind our having no jobs lies with corporate America, the usual scumbag corporate America.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Reply #42)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 01:40 PM

44. Not sure what this has to do with my response.

 

You should read the article. Personally, I think we should be protecting both white-collar and blue-collar jobs.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 01:42 PM

45. Brown nosing and yes men are as American as apple pie.

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Response to Tierra_y_Libertad (Reply #45)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 01:45 PM

48. Which brings up a question: how are Americans raised to be this way? Is it the very concept of the

American Dream-Falsehood? Is it the whitewashed history books? Is it all that FAKE patriotism that discourages complaining and protesting against what's wrong? What exactly makes Americans such fine, suffering victims?

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Reply #48)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 01:51 PM

49. America has made "working hard" into a moral issue and an indication of "worthiness".

Remember Clinton's dewy eyed praise of those who "work hard and play by the rules"? America isn't the land of "individuality" but the haven of conformists. Being part of the herd is considered to be being a "good American".

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 01:45 PM

47. "Why do we work harder than Germans?"

To keep them from trying to take over the world again?

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Response to MilesColtrane (Reply #47)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 01:58 PM

50. +1

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 02:06 PM

51. There are several people in my office today, hacking and sneezing.

One actually is running a fever. These workers will likely infect others.

Why are they here? Because it's the last week of the year and they've all burned through their 5 sick days. And "borrowing" from next year is not allowed. If you're sick, you're encouraged to stay home, but don't expect to be paid for more than 5 days.

It is strict company policy that you are expected to show up for work no matter how much snow has fallen, or is falling, regardless of whether the governor has declared a state of emergency, or whether the National Guard is out on the roads. If you don't, you will be docked a sick day. Rationale? "Well, so-and-so (who owns a Toyota Land Cruiser and lives all of 10 minutes away" could get here."

And let it be said that the company I work for is generous and fair. I have no complaints.

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Response to lapislzi (Reply #51)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 02:39 PM

54. It's the American way!

And I simply HATE being exposed to sick people because of the enslaving American workplace. It's unfair to everyone else.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 03:10 PM

56. Do they really get paid more?

That seems hard to believe given that their per capita GDP is $11,000 less than ours. They have 15% of their population below the poverty line - about the same, or slightly worse, than we do. Their bottom 10% consume 3.6% of their national income and the top 10% consume 24%. That's better than us with 2% going to the bottom 10% and 30% going to the top 10%, but not that much better considering our GDP is higher. 2% of $47,000 is $940. 3.6% of $36,000 is $1296.

Okay, that is more in Germany, but in America we take away (or keep away) from our bottom 60% so that our top 5% can have even more.

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #56)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 03:29 PM

57. Well, when I lived abroad years ago, I went as a school teacher. I had taught here...

Upon arrival there, I automatically got paid $7,000 more per year, and I had socialized healthcare (no copays, no deductibles, nothing), and we had public transport. When they asked me if that salary was fine, I had to control my face. I said, "yes" somberly, but inside I was flipping out. When I later returned to the U.S. I had a drop in salary and the cost of living here is just so much higher that I couldn't make it, so I had to switch careers. I was one of the lucky ones who could do that. Not everyone can switch careers just like that.

Oh, and I wasn't going abroad as a specialist this or a specialist that to warrant a higher salary. Needless to say, I was able to put money away there, that I was not able to put away here. Money pours out on transportation here, like it's frikkin' water, and on health care.

My brother moved abroad after having worked in NY at Morgan. He automatically ended up making - in the same position but another corporation - (I think) about $20,000 more.

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #56)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 04:58 PM

58. The huge difference is made up of the welfare safety net and health care, I think

They may be paid the same as American workers, but they don't have to pay for health care, or university (probably), have better tax systems (more deductions for those who earn less), perhaps the housing costs are less - the transport costs are definitely lower, as most all towns have public transport. And so on, and so on.

Personally, I don't think I could work in the US - I see my friends working 80+hr work weeks every summer (I am a teacher, and spend my summer vacation in the US) and they feel they cannot take their measly 2 weeks of vacation consecutively for fear of their jobs. They have hardly any sick leave, no job security, a work environment that is brutal in its demands, and they feel they have it good! (Most work in IT, one's a teacher, another is middle management in a huge US company, one works freelance/is building their own company.) All have at least one degree.

Why would I swap a 1687,5hr work year, health care, a salary that's well above the median, 24 sick days (not counting doctor-mandated sick leave, which means if the doctor thinks I cannot work, I get paid those days and they're not taken from the 24 sick days,) a tax burden of 36%, no problems being unionized, proper salary negotiations done nationally every other year, sturdy worker's rights, and public transport? Granted, as a teacher, I have only 4 weeks vacation instead of the usual 5, and the rest are time worked (which means if I should get doctor-mandated sick leave during summer, I can only get 4 weeks vacation back at a later date, not 5 if I'm sick the entire period, but....) Of course, that's Norway, not Germany, but those Northern European countries are pretty similar.

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Response to KitSileya (Reply #58)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 05:33 PM

63. Thank you so much for posting this. I think sometimes we Americans are ignorant of how others live

and people that don't know there's a choice, don't strive for a choice.

I agree that the lifestyle is better in many other countries. Here, it's a slavery of sorts.

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Response to KitSileya (Reply #58)

Fri Dec 30, 2011, 04:15 AM

68. right now I have 36 days of sick leave

a few months ago I had 70 days of sick leave. I earn 12 days a year, and it accumulates. I earn 3 weeks of vacation a year, although I am not sure if I have ever taken that much.

Most teachers in the US get the whole summer off.

I think housing costs are higher in Europe. Seems like I saw more apartments there, but I didn't see any slum-type housing either, like mobile home parks.

As for public transport, we have some of that, but Americans generally don't like it. The last thng a middle class American wants to do is sit on a bus next to some grimy working class person or member of the lumpenproletariat. It's also far easier to get mugged or assaulted on a public transport, so we prefer the 'freedom' of having our own automobile. It's a costly thing, but you will take their cars away when you pry their cold, dead hands off of the steering wheel.

A tax burden of 36% seems high to me. I recently read an article that figured a famiily making $50,000 had a tax burden of only 24%.

That may be low if you figure that health care costs should be added to the tax burden since your taxes also pay for your healthcare.

I thought though, that Scandanavia had higher per capita GDP than the USA which is higher than the BRD's.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 05:25 PM

60. Because the PTB like it that way.

Keep people from paying attention to what is going on, by working them to death.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 05:29 PM

62. workers are part of decision teams

and their govt. doesn't allow Nazis to run

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 06:32 PM

67. They don't seem to have greater productivity.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28PPP%29_per_capita

I can't think of a better way to measure it than GDP per capita. On that basis, they are far behind the U.S.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Fri Dec 30, 2011, 05:36 AM

69. The Puritan-Ethic is pervasive and long-lasting

We actually (many of us) believe that the harder we work, the more we will be rewarded..and of course the religious zealots (many of them) believe that we will be rewarded after we die, and that our "here-and-now" is a test of our worthiness..

How many times have we all heard the "suffering is good for the soul" meme?

or "idle hands are the devil's workshop"?

We actually must BE unworthy, since we have allowed our government to treat us in such a shabby manner for such a long time

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Response to SoCalDem (Reply #69)

Fri Dec 30, 2011, 07:44 AM

73. Definitely. Problem is, other former Protestant ethic countries got healed....

Not the U.S. The U.S. "CONSERVES" its bad ideas forever.

It just grew sicker and sicker with the Puritan-Protestant treadmill concept of work.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Fri Dec 30, 2011, 07:25 AM

70. kr Great thread. I experienced this in retail.

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Response to Norrin Radd (Reply #70)

Fri Dec 30, 2011, 07:41 AM

71. Thanks! The 'look busy' bs, you mean? nt

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Fri Dec 30, 2011, 07:42 AM

72. We're Americans

It seems to be our lot in life to suffer, at least those of us in the 99%- and we're basically raised/propagandized to believe that suffering is basically "the order of things" in this country and that expecting anything better would be demanding/inviting socialist tyranny be loosed upon our country.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Fri Dec 30, 2011, 10:06 AM

74. Many reasons, but I believe it's because of our lack of universal health care

I'm terrified of losing my health insurance, so I tend to do whatever is expected of me at work. There's no recourse but to quit or get canned.

But it doesn't matter, since American workers are screwed if they have a gap in coverage or pre-existing condition when trying to get private insurance.

The provisions of the affordable care act that come around in 2014 can't get here quickly enough IMHO. At least it will give some of us a chance to try something new without worrying about losing everything should there be an illness in the family.

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