The reason for the financial crisis
When I turned on the TV this morning and watched the news I got the newest upgrade on the financial crisis in the EU. Just like everyday pretty much Ingo Zambini informs me: Greek is poor and bad, Germany is better off and, at least closer to be, rich. I don’t know about you but I’m tired of it and I started to ask myself for reasons:
Do German’s really work harder than the Greeks?
Steve Randy Waldman posted an interesting statement on that topic. He speculates that Greeks work harder than Germans. Conceding, Tony Connelly, RTE’s Europe Editor, adds that German workers are mediculous to leave work at 5pm straight. Before I can applause their statements, taking them as a fact, I want to consider another source, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation (OECD). They published the table shown above and also stated that the German average working hour is 1,419, while Greeks work 2,120 hours on average. The Danish and Irish average in comparison is 1,389 and 1,664, while Italy has an average of 1,802 and Spain 1,647. In short it can be pointed put out that Greeks do work more than Germans.
It is also interesting to notice stereotyping, which claims that Greeks have more vacations than others and German’s are hardworking. In fact though, according to OECD Germans and Dutch have 40 holidays per year, while Greeks have to be satisfied with only 33.
Therefore, what are the reasons for the economic differences?
Again, Steve Randy Waldman believes that Greeks work harder, their economy is just not as well lubricated by infrastructure. Most of their time and effort is lost. The British Eurofound goes even further and divides between Eastern and Western Europe. Though, the working hours per average are higher in the east, productivity is higher in the west. A spokesperson of Eurofond, Mans Martenssons asks the new member states to adapt to the relations and efficiency rates of the western countries.
Matthew Yglesias also says that poor people work harder than rich people and that Germans are net savers, exporting more than they import.
So, what do I get out of that?
Interpreting the table, it’s clear that Greeks work more than Germans, comparing the hours worked. Their productivity on the other hand differs essentially. Germanys productivity is higher than Greeks.
I want to end this post by adding David Coast’s, Associate Director at Work Foundation in London, statement:
“Europeans might be working less hours but their productivity remains high. In the United States, people take the money and work longer hours, whereas in Europe people take less money and use more time for themselves. This doesn’t make Europe less business friendly. These are simply choices societies make,”