Having celebrated Workers Day last week – ironically after SA’s laziest, most unproductive month of the year – I thought I’d introduce Dr Victor Davis Hanson, historian at Stanford University. He has something to say about work – real work; a concept unknown to so many South Africans including many in jobs.
He examined the rise of “German Europe”.
Germany’s effort to dominate Europe failed in 1918 and resulted in Germany’s near destruction in 1945. Yet what do we have in 2012? A “Germanised” Europe. “Won,” says Hanson, “by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, without firing a shot.”
He says current cartoons “depict Germans with stiff-arm salutes establishing new rules of behaviour for terrified Italians, Spaniards, Greeks, Portuguese… who are pouring their savings into |German banks at the rate of $15 billion (R117.26bn) a month.
“Euro-rich Merkel now determines whether European countries will limp ahead with new German-backed loans” or collapse.
Germany achieved this “Not by arms… Not by handouts. Germany poured almost $2 trillion of its own money into rebuilding an East Germany ruined by communism – without help from others.
“To drive through southern Europe is to see new freeways, bridges, rail lines, stadiums and airports financed by |German banks or subsidised by the German government.”
Why does the US “booming city, Detroit of 1945, today look like it was bombed, and a bombed-out Berlin of 1945 is now booming? Because Germans worked harder and smarter – investing rather than consuming, saving rather than spending, and going to bed when others to the south were going to dinner.
“If impoverished Europe still expects sophisticated medical care, high-tech… and plentiful consumer goods… then it will have to start behaving like Germans and quit insisting on daily siestas, dinner at 9pm, retirement in their early 50s, cheating on taxes, and a de facto 10am to 4pm. workday.”
“If the Greeks, Italians and Spaniards wish to live like Germans they must work and save like Germans.”
On the lighter side, a number of readers have been sending me this over the years: the European Commission has announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the EU rather than German.
The British Government agrees English spelling needs adjusting and has accepted a five-year phase-in plan for “Euro-English”.
In the first year, “s” will replace the soft “c”.
Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard “c” will be dropped in favour of “k”. This should klear up konfusion.
There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when “ph” will be replaced with “f”. This will make words like fotograf much shorter. In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.
Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters – always a deterrent to akurate speling.
Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent “e” in the languag is disgrasful and should go – silent vowls too.
By the 4th yer pepl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing “th” with “z” and “w” with “v”.
During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary “o” kan be dropd from vords kontaining “ou” and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensibl riten styl.
Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united Urop vil finali kum tru.
Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.