Why you should care
Europe’s financial problems could have a ripple effect on this side of the pond.
Once known as an economic powerhouse holding the continent together, Germany has certainly had its share of money troubles, with rising unemployment, slow growth and a tough demographic future. Most alarming for many has been a lack of homefront private investment from the Germans who do have cash to spare. Indeed, some experts are concerned that as the third quarter closes, the German economy — which already showed losses for the first two-thirds of 2014 — will contract into an official recession. Asoka Wöhrmann, chief investment strategist at Deutsche Bank, says he has a solution: Germans have to go out and drop big dough. That alone could spare them a recession. It’s one of several intriguing ideas he offered in a recent interview. Read the story here.
How long will Poland remain the economic darling of Europe? Sure, it managed the transition from communism to capitalism with unusual grace, and, yes, it glided through the financial crisis with barely a scratch. Yet even as its economy is forecast to grow, this Baltic Sea nation faces an issue that experts say could hurt its prospects for decades to come: an aging, shrinking labor force that experts call “a demographic crisis in the making.” The trend is worse than in most of the developed world — and serious enough to imperil Poles’ long-held dream of achieving the same living standards as in nearby Germany, France and Scandinavia. Read the story here.
The Economist once dubbed Germany “the sick man of the euro.” That was 15 years ago, but German elites haven’t forgotten it. Equally famous is that Newsweek magazine, in the 1990s, wondered about a country with growing mass unemployment where you still can’t buy milk on Sundays. Since then, mass unemployment has gone down and, yes, milk can be had on Sundays — in some places. In July, just after the German soccer squad became world champion, a new Newsweek cover read “Welcome to the German Century.” Germans lapped it up. German haughtiness, however, is misplaced. And Newsweek’s prediction will be wrong. Read the story here.