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So Germany isn’t the best boy in the European class after all

Isn’t karma a funny thing? For the last few years the people of Greece have had to endure insufferably patronising moral lectures from Germany about how dysfunctional Greece is and if only it was more like Germany, life for Greeks would be so much better.

If only the Greeks paid their debts like the Germans, unless you ignore that Germany has in fact never repaid its debts.

If only Greek business was as honest and transparent as German business, unless you ignore the current Volkswagen scandal or the truth that dare not speak its name: that all German companies over 70 years old carry the permanent stain of being owned by Nazis, run for Nazi or benefitting from Nazi victims.

For presiding over one of the largest frauds in business history, Martin Winterkorn, the former head of VW gets to resign and walk away without any liability and retains his pension, bonuses and shares. I’m sure that’s a level of accountability most Greek business leaders would be happy to live with.

Perhaps if the Greeks were more honest about themselves like the Germans, they would face up to their own role in supporting the politicians whose cronyism rotted the Greek state from the inside out.

But only if you ignore the fact that no one in Germany can ever ask their grandparents about what they did when they were young and can never be 100% sure they want to find out the providence of favoured family possessions.

So perhaps the revelation that the same unethical corporate business culture that allowed for the likes of Enron, Lehman Brothers, Barclays and the eurozone banking crisis has free reign at the heart of the German military industrial complex, will temper some of Germany’s judgmental attitude toward other eurozone member states.

It has been argued that love and hate are the strongest human emotions, but time and time again, we are more often presented with evidence that it is in fact denial, be it denial that a certain culture exists in a country or business denial about the scale of one’s own personal responsibility, that is by far the strongest emotion.

Desmond FitzGerald

Canary Wharf




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