Monday, May 4, 2009

Ze Germans


So I suppose it's all a trade-off. We had a house guest this weekend, Janine from Germany, and we discussed current events as well as some of the differences between the old US of A and the European model. Basic differences are that the people in those countries pay more taxes but get everything taken care of for them including medical care, higher education, and a whole range of other social services. Germans for example, pay 40% in taxes, but they don't have to dish out any of their take home pay for insurance or college tuition costs (well it does cost a little, but it's nothing compared to what we pay). Not to mention 4-6 weeks of vacation is standard...so jealous.


But going deeper, I also believe that Europeans have a fundamentally different way of looking at things. My take on it is that they value the good of the whole over the individual. Or to be more specific, they think that what is good for the whole is also good for the individual. Whereas Americans function in a model where individuality is the priority. The resulting impact of the European model is a culture in which the goal is true equality. Most people make around the same range of money and you don't have the extreme class differences that you do in America (rich vs. poor). Everyone is a little closer to middle class. Everyone contributes and everyone benefits. No one gets ahead, but no one gets left behind either. Whereas in America, you can win big or lose big. You only succeed in the American model through hard work. Everyone succeeds in the European model simply through participation.


I'm not really intending to make a value judgement here, really more of an observation.

21 comments:

  1. Mi scusi! It's too sexy, too sexy!

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  2. Change the picture, Jake. It's hard for Brett to type with a massive ere*tion!!! (censored for family enjoyment)

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  3. And yes, I'm aware that Hasselhoff is not German, but they freaking love him over there. He is a superstar in Germany and much of Europe for that matter.

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  4. I think this is an interesting post. I personally would like to see America adopt a more European-like attitude but there is really no way of knowing which is more likely to succeed here. This comes down to me wishing that America had a very very limited national government that only intervenes during interstate conflicts. We have 300 million people here (something like that) and there is just no way that you can pass any kind of national legislature that will be accepted by everyone. Allow the states to decide on controversial issues like abortion, gay marriage, marijuana, colored people drinking from white water fountains, etc. That way, when you don't like the laws being passed in your state, you can move to one that fits your needs.

    I'm tired of everyone thinking everybody should be integrated with one another. We don't like each other as it is, so why should we be forced to live by someone we hate? No more equal-opportunity anything!

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  5. You are ridiculous sometimes

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  6. Everyone man and woman should be treated equal and have equal rights and protection under the law.

    But I agree with your point. We need to get back to the core of how our nation was founded, which was a group of states with individual state's rights, but all under one flag. National government has become too bloated and power hungry. It has exceeded its boundaries and is not serving the purpose our founders intended.

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  7. I am just already tired of the rat race. I have decided that life is too short to have a job that you hate that also takes up all your time. I can deal with one or the other, but not both. That's where the Euros have it right. I'm sure most of them hate their jobs as much as we do, but they have plenty of time to live their lives as they please. It's possible to do this in the states as well, you just have to kind of go against the grain.

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  8. why don't you get a job you like?

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  9. I agree that every man and woman should have equal rights under the law that protect their civil liberties (i.e. the right to be alive) but I do not think that anything should be weighted in favor of a minority. If you are a proponent of a truly capitalistic society then you should fundamentally agree with me Jake. Any kind of company hiring should be 100% subjective because this is a person that you will have to work with day in and day out and will be directly affecting your business. A business should be able to make 100% of their decisions without any influence from an outside source (i.e. the government). If a business starts hiring nothing but old college buddies looking for a free ride, then the business is going to fail. However, he should not be forced to hire one of his college buddies just because he has to meet an ethnic quota. I know that it's not quite that cut and dry with equal opportunity employment but that is pretty much the gist.

    All I'm saying is that if we want to base our economy soley on the theory of capitalism, then we have to follow the model more closely. Namely, allowing businesses to make any decision they want (assuming it is within their legal rights) and then allowing whatever the consequences may be. If that means a huge company goes bankrupt, then so be it.

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  10. I think hiring should be done based on the merits of the candidate regardless of their skin color or sex. A person should not be hired nor overlooked because of either of these things. My comment about equal rights was more directed at your inappropriate comment regarding water fountains.

    And I think the right to be alive would fall under human rights, not civil liberties.

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  11. I am going to be agreeing with Jake on these post comments. Its easier just saying that then typing the same thing over again.

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  12. Oh and Jake, how come you don't have a Haf video off to the side.

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  13. It's a little more complicated than just going and getting a job that I like. This may be hard for you to understand since you wanted to be an architect going into college, but I don't really have a passion for anything that translates into a well paying job. I'm not saying that I am giving up and have accepted the fact that I am going to hate whatever job I have, but I don't think I am in the minority when I say I don't enjoy the work that I do.

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  14. kevin- what is a haf video? You mean Hasslehoff? If so done.

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  15. brett - I agree that most people don't like their jobs. But do you not think there is a job out there for everyone?

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  16. Brett - I totally understand what you are saying. You may not be interested in this information, but have your read "What color is your parachute?" or "Do what you are". I am currently reading them to get a better idea for career changes. Just a thought. Ignore me if you have no interest. :o)

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  17. sarah- what are they about?

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  18. Basically about finding career fields that work best for you and the strengths you naturally have. Like are you an introvert/extrovert, people person, data/design, managing or being managed, etc. They help you to recognized what would be the most ideal work place or environment and then how you go about finding that. Trying to take what makes you happy and applying it into your work. No career is just 100% great and awesome all the time, but doing something you love and enjoy makes bad days or stressful days worth it.

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  19. Thanks for the advise Sarah, I may take you up on that, but when I have taken those personality tests in the past, they always come back and tell me I should be a corporate executive or work in the field of high finance, which is both ironic and pointless because I despise these people more than just about any other and those are not jobs that you can just go apply for.

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  20. Once again I agree with Brett and his stance with job satisfaction. The corporate world is complete horsecrap and a political game. Sure you can move up the corporate ladder by working your tail off for 10 years but is that really worth it? You put in 50-70 hours/week so that you can get a better position and money but what happens once you achieve your higher level? They require you to keep putting in you 50-70 hours/week just so you stay caught up on the assload of work they are now piling on you because of all your "experience." The Tom Do's of the world may be okay with being worked to the bone but most of the rest of America is not. Hence, you get lots and lots of disgruntled staff employees like Brett and myself.

    So go get a new job if you don't like yours? Again, easier said than done, especially in this economy. Ask our friend Casey with a Juris Doctorate how easy the job search is in 2009. Plus, to enter any company as any kind of executive leadership, you need to have this "experience" I talked about in the last paragraph. Now you are back in a circle.

    I think that your own business or a small, privately owned business where you work closely with the executive management team is your best bet for an actual career. But how many people can really do that?

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  21. Ya, they are not as much like amplitude tests...they are a bit different, but I understand what you are saying. They also talk about how to brake into fields you think are unattainable. I don't know....they are worth at least flipping through.

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