Thursday, March 22
Why Germans shop at Aldi.
There’s a fun article in today’s FT’s by their Berlin correspondent as to why Jeremy Corbyn hasn’t a prayer of being elected to office in Germany, given the natives are addicted to austerity. ‘German finance ministers earn the admiration and support of voters not by promising tax cuts and spending increases, but by proving their commitment to fiscal discipline.’ Tobias Buck reckons historical precedent and Protestant restraint have led to the renunciation of immediate satisfaction in favour of preparing for those inevitable bad things that lie waiting round the corner. He reminds us German households save about 10 per cent of their disposable income, twice as much as the average EU or American, and contrasts Germany’s prudence with a UK economy built on eyewatering levels of debt. I can’t help but imagine the size of the European economy if Germany stopped saving all that money and developed a taste for consumption.