The Secrets of Germany's Success

What Europe's Manufacturing Powerhouse Can Teach America

Courtesy Reuters

As Americans fret about persistent economic challenges, particularly high unemployment, a nearly opposite mood pervades Germany. Neither the economic crises in the rest of the eurozone nor the instability in the Middle East has dampened a deep-seated conviction among German business leaders and economists that two decades after the costly reintegration of East Germany the country has reestablished its position as an economic juggernaut.

Germany's optimism appears warranted: whereas unemployment in the United States rose during the recent economic recession, from 4.6 percent in 2007 to 9.0 percent in 2011 (seasonally adjusted), in Germany, it fell, from 8.5 percent to 7.1 percent. For the first time since 1992, fewer than three million Germans are unemployed. By the time U.S. President Barack Obama was telling Americans in his January 2011 State of the Union address that the United States needed to double its exports, Germany had quietly become the world's second-largest exporter (after China). Indeed, Germany's exports have

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