Right-thinking Germans even have a derogatory term, Amerikanische Verhaltnisse
-- literally, American conditions -- as a shorthand for the social catastrophe
they believe would result if they were ever to tackle the real cause of their
slow growth: a notoriously rigid labor market. This view is so monolithic that
the conservative leader Edmund Stoiber is on record saying, "We do not want
Amerikanische Verhaltnisse in Germany."
So imagine the Sturm und Drang when a German author, Olaf Gersemann, came along earlier this year and exploded all these myths. The title of his book hardly
needs translation: "Amerikanische Verhaltnisse: Die falsche Angst der
Deutschen vor dem Cowboy-Kapitalismus." On each score where Europeans think
their system is superior, the Washington correspondent for Germany's largest
business weekly shows that the Americans have actually pulled ahead.
I think this is worth putting in an early order for.