We Need Professional Counseling

Not. Same old same old, if you ask me: Germans see ties worsening as Americans remain positive.

Pew

In the U.S., seven-in-ten say that relations with Germany are good, a sentiment that has not changed much in the past year. Germans, on the other hand, are much more negative: 73% say that relations with the U.S. are bad, a 17-percentage-point increase since 2017.

Americans want more cooperation with Germany, but Germans don’t reciprocate.

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German Of The Day: Pessimistisch

That means pessimistic. As in pessimism. German pessimism, to be exact.

Optimism

German optimism is already pretty pessimistic so you can imagine what German pessimism must be like. And the Germans going through another pessimistic pessimism phase again these days.

A new survey indicates that a mere 17 percent of the population see the coming year with any kind of confidence or optimism. This is the largest drop in confidence in five years, the polling institute Ipsos says, and the turning point was the Flüchtlingsdebatte (refugee debate) that began in 2015.

2015 hatte die Flüchtlingsdebatte zu einem Stimmungseinbruch geführt. Die Sorgen im Hinblick auf die Integration der Zuwanderer sind noch immer da: 50 Prozent der Befragten befürchten, dass eine wachsende Fremdenfeindlichkeit den sozialen Frieden gefährdet. Das sind vier Prozentpunkte mehr als vor einem Jahr.

It’s Not Easy Being Optimist-In-Chief

When it comes to dealing with Europe, I mean. Optimism is suspekt (makes suspicious) here. There is always an angle to everything, you see.

Larry Page

For him (Larry Page), the real danger is opposing technological progress and greater efficiency. Such dangers lurk particularly in the Old World: “Especially in Europe, it appears easy to ignore the fundamental physics of a question in order to claim everything is just fine when things here cost twice as much as elsewhere. This attitude worries me greatly, because it hinders the work of entrepreneurs.”

But should not a society also have the right to say “No” to a superior technology? Certainly, agrees Mr. Page. But that’s not particularly clever. “If you make everything twice as expensive, you reduce people’s quality of life.” And do you really want to keep local entrepreneurs from making their contribution to the global economy? Naturally it’s great when citizens have the feeling they can decide. “I’m merely saying that when they make decisions contrary to a global system of capital, then they have to do that consciously and seriously. And I don’t believe anyone is doing that.”

“If I were a young entrepreneur today and I had the choice of starting my Internet firm in Germany or Silicon Valley, it wouldn’t be a hard choice. And regulation will only get worse in Europe. It will be very hard to build a company of global import there.”

Gerade die Europäer neigen in den Augen von Larry Page offenbar zu falscher Nostalgie. “In Europa scheint es leicht, die grundlegende Physik einer Frage zu ignorieren und zu behaupten, es ist schon in Ordnung, wenn Dinge hier doppelt so viel kosten wie anderswo”.

Thriving, Struggling, Suffering

Although not necessarily in that order.

Germans are notorious pessimists, as you know. And they’re always bitching and moaning, especially when they don’t have anything to bitch and moan about. Take this latest Gallup survey, for instance:

“The 4 in 10 Germans who rated their lives highly enough to be considered “thriving” throughout 2011 was lower than in 2010.”

That could have been a whole lot worse, though. I’ve been living here so long that the first time I read that sentence I swear I was sure it read

“The 4 in 10 Germans who rated their lives highly enough to be considered “LIVING” throughout 2011 was lower than in 2010.”

Come on Germany, you’re giving me a complex. Go out there and live a little already!

In addition, the percentage of Germans who are “suffering” ticked up slightly in the fourth quarter of 2011, amid escalating economic turmoil in the eurozone.