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Can Germany Be Saved?: The Malaise of the World's First Welfare State Paperback – February 13, 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (February 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262512602
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262512602
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,419,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Although Germany is having a good run at the moment, the general experience on the Continent over the past dozen years (and the dozen before that) has been limping, catch-up growth without indigenous innovations, low labor force participation, and low job satisfaction. Hans-Werner Sinn's book is essential for those who recognize the seriousness of the problem."--Edmund S. Phelps, McVickar Professor of Political Economy and Director, Center on Capitalism and Society, Columbia University, and Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences (2006)

"For two decades, [Hans-Werner Sinn] has been one of the loudest voices preaching the urgency of structural reform." The Economist

"Finally, an economist who tells it like it is. This book belongs on the desks of every member of the German cabinet and every member of the German parliament." Hans-Olaf Henkel , Bank of America (former President of the Leibniz Association and former President of the Federation of German Industries)

"Germany needs a new attitude. In a time when the ifs and hows of reforms are greatly argued over, Professor Sinn and his book are dead right. With his knife-sharp analysis of the dire findings and clear instructions for action, he provides the way. Required reading." Heinrich von Pierer , former Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Siemens AG

"What Germany needs: unconventional ideas, creativity, openness, and the courage to address uncomfortable themes quickly and aggressively? Hans-Werner Sinn delivers all of this. Worth reading." Dieter Rampl , Chairman of the Board of Directors, UniCredit Group

"Slemrod and Bakija provide a comprehensive -- and comprehensible -- analysis of the U.S. tax system, its effects, and its defects. Their evenhanded presentation offers the reader a broad perspective on how the income tax arrived at its current state and what the options are for reform. This book should interest tax specialists, students, and frustrated citizens alike."--Alan J. Auerbach, Director, Robert D. Burch Center for Tax Policy and Public Finance, University of California, Berkeley

About the Author

Hans-Werner Sinn is Professor of Economics and Public Finance at the University of Munich and President of the CESIfo Group. Author of Can Germany Be Saved? The Malaise of the World's First Welfare State (MIT Press) and other books, he is former president of the International Institute of Public Finance, and former chairman of the German Economic Association.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Omer Belsky on January 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is strange for a book called "Can Germany Be Saved?" to be in its 11th (!) edition; by now, you'd imagine that an answer - one way or the other - would be found.

Hans Verner Sinn, a German economist, argues that Germany should undergo a quasi-Thatcherite revolution that would revitalize its economy. Some of the data Sims posts is genuinely troubling: Germany today has about 1.5 million more unemployed than it had had in the early 1990s; Its population is rapidly aging, and its economic growth in the last decade was one of Europe's weakest.

The main thesis of Sinn's book, and the main focus of discussion is the need to lower Germany's wages. Germany's mighty labor unions and its welfare state increase wages above market clearing levels, leading to distorted incentives and unemployment.

An interesting chapter discusses Germany's robust export sector: Germany is a world leader in manufactured goods. But Sinn argues that this robustness is something of a mirage: Germany's exports are designed by German engineers and completed in Germany, but much of the actual manufacturing is done elsewhere, particularly in Eastern Europe. The rigid wage structure leads German manufacturers to produce less and less in Germany itself. Indeed, the high concentration of German industries in the design and completion of goods is an over-concentration, Sims argues, caused by Capital's flight from labor intensive production to high end, labor non-intensive ones.

Much of this is credible, but is Germany's welfare state really a primary cause of this process? I find that hard to believe. Sinn makes no effort of estimating how large the effect of Germany's welfare state on wages is.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael S. Valle on July 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although a bit technical even for the educated layperson, this book is an amazing analysis of the economic situation in Germany. We in the United States should study this material carefully in order that we may avoid the problems that afflict welfare states, including a precipitous drop in reproduction rates, which tends to be an unintended but very serious consequence of such systems.
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