Meyerson: U.S. Should Adopt German Capitalism (and Unemployment?)


The American Prospect's Harold Meyerson opens up his latest column with almost unseemly relish. "So what kind of capitalism shall we craft?" he writes. You can almost see him rubbing his hands together, perhaps warming them over a flaming copy of Capitalism and Freedom.

And then, as columnists do, he answers his own question: The German kind of capitalism. "In Germany," he writes, "manufacturing still dominates finance." And here, as in Germany, "corporations should be made legally answerable not just to shareholders but also to their employees and community."

One way to do this? Why, the misnamed Employee Free Choice Act, of course, which will bring our workers the same conditions as those in Germany by letting unions organize workplaces without a secret ballot. Never mind that unemployment in Germany has hovered around 10 percent for over a decade. That "jobs crisis" we're currently experiencing? That's pretty much a permanent condition in Germany, thanks in large part to the kind of union-oriented, make-stuff-not-deals capitalism they practice. But Meyerson doesn't feel the need to mention that stat while trumpeting that "the German model focuses on stakeholders, not shareholder. Worker representatives sit on boards of directors, unionization remains high, income distribution is more equitable, social benefits are generous."

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