Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Germany’s Karma

It is one of the basic rules of karma: you need to do your own work, and seek solutions to your own problems. The problems of others may be easier to spot and may seem easier to fix, but trouble arises quickly if you focus on others’ problems as a way to avoid discovering your own.

If you ever start to think it might be a good idea to get wrapped up in the problems of the people around you, you can look at how well that has worked out for Germany. Granted, Germany is seen as one of the more prosperous countries of the last four years. But it has spent much of that time focused on the economic mistakes of the United States, the United Kingdom, Iceland, Greece, Portugal, France, and Italy, while neglecting its own basic problem of how much its own prosperity depends on the actions of nearby countries. The result of this pattern of action is not pretty to see. None of these other countries’ economies have really been righted by Germany’s plans, and in now, Germany’s own economy appears to have slipped into a recession.

With the recession, Germany’s political conversation has started to become more self-conscious, even embarrassed, and that will shortly lead it to address some of its more pressing challenges. But its current difficulties might have been avoided if it had not waited for things to get this uncomfortable before it started to look in the mirror.