German Of The Day: Späti

That means the late-night stores of Berlin. And we should have smelled this rat coming long ago.

Späti

How could these popular local convenience stores be allowed to continue running without being inconvenienced by the Berlin city government? They were allowed to open when they saw fit, depending entirely on supply and demand. You know, like in capitalism? Spätis are one of the few things that actually work in this town, by the way. Obviously, somebody had to step in here. Spätis are crying out for government regulation – for our own good.

Since a May ruling by the Administrative Court of Berlin, city authorities have fastidiously targeted family-run convenience stores such as Abels’ if they’re open on Sundays. The crackdown is part of a broader debate that’s erupting over the future of these stores — known as Spätis — that have over the decades emerged as cultural symbols of Berlin.

“Spätis are to Berlin like cafés are to Paris. It’s where all forms of life come together.”

“Crotchety, Over-Critical Culture” Part II

As reported earlier, Germans themselves will be the first to admit that, when it comes to entrepreneurship, they have a “crotchety, over-critical culture, with its fear and condemnation of failure,” but it is what it is and they are what they are.

Cars

There’s even a saying/joke here that goes “anything in Germany that is not expressly permitted is forbidden.” Take electric cars, for example. Their production may not be expressly forbidden but the German automobile industry is doing its damnedest to pretend like they don’t exist. One could say this has more to do with “never touch a running system” (this industry still makes piles of money) but it really gets down to being crotchety again. They’re missing the boat and they know it.

Concern is rising in Europe’s automobile heartland about the economic impact of the industry’s move to electric vehicles from gasoline-powered cars.

Officials and executives in Germany fear the country’s big car companies and rich ecosystem of suppliers and service providers are insufficiently prepared for the transition, and that their leadership may not be assured in an electric-car world, threatening jobs, tax revenue and even growth.

Assembling electric cars isn’t as complex or labor intensive as making traditional vehicles and relies partly on imported technology. At the same time, China has made rapid forays in electrification and is shaping up as a potentially formidable competitor in the field.

The trepidation is particularly acute in the city of Stuttgart, hub to one of the country’s biggest automotive clusters at the heart of the nation’s dynamic south. It comes as Europe’s largest economy is showing signs of weakness amid a chill in global trade.

“The greatest catastrophe would be if the industry fell asleep at the wheel. It is crucial for jobs that companies like Daimler make a massive push into this technology and build locally.”