Friday 6 December 2019

Keep it real

• In recent times it is fashionable to blame the Germans for the fact that other countries in Europe, ourselves included, are in financial difficulty and are suffering from austerity.

In his article on May 16, however, Hamish McRae tells us all we need to know about why Germany is doing well and some of the rest of us are bankrupt.

He tells us that over the years Germany embraced austerity and "clamped down on wages, brought in sweeping labour market reforms, cut its budget deficit, and boosted exports". And this was after the Germans achieved the huge task of integrating the old German Democratic Republic into their economy.

While the Germans were wrestling with the problems of austerity and of incorporating East Germany into their economy, we had a booming economy.

Yet while the Germans were running their country successfully the people in charge of our most powerful institutions managed to bankrupt the nation.

We can hardly blame the Germans for that. The same applies to the rest of the countries which are now in financial difficulty.

A Leavy
Sutton, Dublin 13

• Over the past few days we have been inundated with reports of the devastation that will be done to the European project if Greece leaves the euro. As a history man I have to say that I was reminded of Otto von Bismarck, the Imperial German Chancellor, who, over 100 years ago, stated that the next great setback to Europe would be brought about by "some damn foolish thing in the Balkans".

In his case, he was proven right with the outbreak of the First World War after Franz Ferdinand, the Austrian archduke, was assassinated in Sarajevo.

As a proponent of social cycle theory (times and technology change but certain events repeat themselves), I have to wonder if history will repeat itself with Greece leaving the euro.

Colin Smith
Clara, Co Offaly

Irish Independent

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