Anyone with experience of the German system?

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by RP578, Jan 11, 2010.

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  1. RP578

    RP578 LE Book Reviewer

    I've just been recommended the book, The Rotten State of Britain: Who Is Causing the Crisis and How to Solve It, and whilst browsing through the reviews on Amazon came across this write up:

    The reviewer makes interesting comparisons to Germany's federated system with the argument that some form of devolution to local/regional government increases accountability and efficiency. My question to those who have experience of living in Germany (as a civilian resident and not just based there), is it really that much better? How do their schools and hospitals compare to ours?

    Not thinking of emigrating or anything like that, just interested to know if we should be looking elsewhere for ideas. Cheers in advance!
  2. Although from my point of view things are better here, the Germans nevertheless moan/complain about the state of affairs. The health system here is very burocratic, but miles ahead of the NHS, eg I can get a specialist appointment within a few weeks if not days, I understand that in England a waiting period of months is usual. A Federal system has its advantages, but invariably leads to complications as Federal and State authorities argue as to who does what. As an example the flooding of the lower Rhine is caused by events in the upper Rhine. Nordrhein-Westfalen has the problem but cannot solve it, Badenwurtemburg has the solution but no problem and even less interest. The Federal Government says, not our problem, you (the States concerned) solve it. On the plus side the Federal Government knows it cannot do everything it wants because the Upper Chamber is manned by the heads of the 15 States, who obviously want to take care of their interests, which might not coincide with those of the Federal Government.

    On a lighter side the beer is quite good and cheap, so is the wine. Being more or less in the middle, travel around Europe is quick and easy.
  3. It's true that Germany has a lot of laws, but the vast majority of them are very clear-cut and allow little room for individual interpretation. In addition, the Federal States have their own laws; for instance, in some Federal States, referendums are part of the Constitution. The problem arises when the Boxheeds insist, and I mean insist on their rights. They'll blithely pull out into a main drag if they have right of way, without considering the person approaching who may not be aware of the fact. Boxheed cemeteries are littered with folks who insisted on their being in the right. They probably were, but there comes a time when you have to listen to prudent reason.

    Also, politicians at both federal and national level are held accountable and expected to take the consequences of their behaviour, which is something that's gone entirely out of fashion in the UK. And because it's a federal system, the politicians making the most difference to folks' lives are also those closest to them. So resistance to any policies by a Federal State gobment does bear fruit most of the time.

    On the whole, however, it functions remarkably well. There are some niggly bits, like being fined for walking across a pedestrian crossing on red, even if there's no traffic. But you have to take the rough with the smooth, I suppose.

  4. The thing you have to remember is that Germany is a new country, less than 150 years old. The forming states and Lande retain much of the independence that they always had..

    Going from a distributed authority model to a centralised model is not particularly risky in the short term, and can bring immediate benefits through economies of scale. The risk in the long term is that the system becomes less responsive and flexible and is easy to dominate and leads to totalitariansim.

    Going from a centralised model to a distributed one is THE MOST dangerous... As power and authority is delegated, opportunities arise for incompetents to gain control (as there is no source of existing expertise). Once in the system, it is very difficult to get rid of this incompetancy quickly, as it will seek to consolidate its position. Competancy will only be regained through hard work and conflict of one sort or another...

    As an example... My only real complaint about Margaret Thatcher was her dealing with the local government in Scotland. As part of her attempt to curb "looney leftie" councils, she centralised many powers in Whitehall. As a result she took powers and authority away from Scotland which had never been part of the Act of Union. This caused an uproar and a deep feeling of anger from the ruling elite in Scotland and contributed not a little to the collapse of the conservative party vote north of the border... ( and the presence of so many Scottish lawyers in the current government..)

    Labour, when it got back in, reversed the process to some extent by granting devolution. This however, instead of returning power from whence it came (the professional institutions), handed it to a bunch of "jumped up toon cooncilors" in the guise of the Scottish Parliament who immediately went on the mother and father of a power binge, which, on appearances seems to have no chance of reforming itself soon..

    At the end of the day, it is this phenominon which makes me terrified of the EU and all its works... The danger will come, not from the current EU, but in the inevitable breakdown phase when power will be grabbed back by all sorts of neredowells in the process. The more power we grant now, the more dangerous the situation in the future (and the greater the oppertunity for local politicians to grab power, which is why they are doing it...!)

    Paranoid... Moi?
  5. Personally, I think it is pretty even between UK & Germany.

    On some of the points mentioned:
    - If you work in Germany you will end up paying +50% of your income as tax (income tax, solidarity tax, health insurance, pension, unemployment insurance etc). For this you do get better services than the UK, but also a lot more beaurocracy and waste.

    - Also, the education system is very big on acedemic streaming, with three different types of secondary school depening on exam results. This has pro's and cons - on the one side everyone knows their place with poorly performing children typically doing apprentices in trades such as decorating, building, plumber etc, but on the other side it does little to build entrepreneurship and confidence unless you are the top 20%.

    - There is much bigger unemployment in germany (compared to UK), along with all the benefit costs that come with this.

    However, as most people here know it can be a sh*tload of fun to live in germany!!
  6. Alsacien

    Alsacien LE Moderator

    I did a project for the Bundesbank.
    I was surprised to learn they have 10,000 "core" staff (plus shedloads on short term contracts and consultancy contracts), as opposed to the Bank of Englands 1500 staff.
    What made it more bizarre was the fact that main functions where now being handled by the European Central Bank who also managed with 1500 staff.

    And people moan about the UK civil service being bloated.....
  7. Except that the ECR and the Bank of England are centralised and the Bundesbank has a branch in each of the 16 Federal States.

  8. Alsacien

    Alsacien LE Moderator

    I did'nt know that :roll:

    But if you think that is efficient, who am I to argue.....I expect you are an expert on Central Banking too :?
  9. The branches of the Bundesbank in the Federal States are still necessary to act as clearing banks for the Bundesbank. The process as such is faster, with basic interest rates offset against the Bundesbank at regular intervals. It seems to work for the Boxheeds and ensures consistency in currency transactions.

  10. Alsacien

    Alsacien LE Moderator

    You really are unbelievable :D

    ...and talking completely out of your arrse as usual :roll:

    Google "interbank payment systems", "Target" and "Target2".
  11. And you're even unbelievabler! :)

    It's got nothing to do with interbank (international/cross-border) business, but rather domestic (internal) clearing bank transactions. Much the same as the function of the five Brit clearing banks.


    Edited to add. I see where you've misunderstood me now. My apologies for that, it was a genuine mistake. Where I wrote "currency transactions", it should be "commercial transactions".
  12. Alsacien

    Alsacien LE Moderator

    For a start there are 9 regional offices, not 16. Their main role is similar to the FSA eg credit ratings for refinancing operations and local euro supply.

    This function will also become null with the new ESRB.

    But I'm sure you think you know better......
  13. Talking about banks in the Boxheed system: there are a lot more regulations than in the UK. For instance, if you've agreed on a direct debit with a company and they, say, overcharge your account, whether rightly or wrongly, you can instruct your bank to recover the funds. You have six weeks to do this and the bank is bound by law to comply. Another thing is that Boxheed banks are required by law to credit cheques and transfers to your account within 24 hours. Now that's customer service.

  14. I worked in germany for 20 years,before the wll came down,paid my taxes and also into the german state pension scheme, when I left They told me I would get an age pension .10 year later I emigrated to aus,6 weeks after my 63 birthday The german govt sent me forms asking for my bank details, 4 weeks later I received my first backdated age pension payment plus authorisation for freemedical services for my wife and I, no hassle, no needless hin and here writing of letters and phonecalls to newcastle like I had with my british pension,anyone thinking of moving to germany ,go for it 10 million turks cant all be wrong !!
  15. The really marvellous (but hidden) advantage in being subjected to Boxheed bureaucracy and Brit bureaucracy is that practically all Boxheed gobment workers are either the equivalent of "Crown servants" (Beamte), or have to abide by the same (very stringent) rules. This means that when some arrogant Boxheed jobsworth (and there are a few) gets up your nose by treating you like a twat, you simply report her/him. Very often, nothing will come of it, but (and this is the main point) it'll be noted in her/his record. Three such reports (even if they all come to nothing) will kibosh any hopes of promotion that yon worthy ever had. It's, sort of, on the "no smoke without fire principle", but it keeps the knobbers in their place, since they don't want to risk their cushy number too much. And, believe me, the Boxheeds take such complaints very, very seriously indeed.

    Maybe something on the same lines could be introduced to the UK. Couldn't harm, could it? Three strikes and you're fucked. Licking envelopes (or windows) and clearing snow/grit/rubbish for the rest of your career.