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The Country Where Unemployment Is Better Than Employment

Berline Jobs and Unemployment

Germany is Portland, Oregon. Smart people move there to retire. Unemployment is low. Benefits are high. The sauna is the epicenter of existence. Panic in Berlin:

The scramble to fill the gaping employment hole is causing Germany to throw many old traditions – including entrepreneurship – over the side. Angela Merkel's coalition government is racing to introduce all-day schooling for primary and secondary students, so mothers can take full-time jobs (a notion that was all but taboo in socially conservative Germany just a few years ago).

And on Tuesday, I watched Ms. Merkel's Labour Minister, Andrea Nahles, deliver a speech promising to end Germany's coldness toward immigrants and turn it into a place that will seduce hundreds of thousands more migrant workers to arrive: "We need a culture of welcoming people…. We need to have an offer which shows them that we need them."

Gone are the decades of hand-wringing about whether Germany is a "country of immigration" – employers need people. "In Rhineland-Palatinate, where I come from, we do not have theoretical debates about a shortage of skilled labour, we just have a shortage of skilled labour – we have 4 or 5 per cent unemployment, so we need migrants."

The worm turns. Domestically, Germany can't produce the talent it needs. Germany can't produce enough children to keep the country going.

With a goal of economic efficiency, hard to beat Germany. With a goal of workforce development, hard to find a country worse at talent management. Blood trumps innovation.

Talent über alles. Berlin could be denser. Berlin could be more walkable. Berlin couldn't be more backwards.

Photo Credit: Panic in Berlin/shutterstock