A Living Wage nightmare?


Always remember, by absorbing East Germany, they also took on board major long-term unemployment and income problems.

In fact, I’d bet practically every ‘set back’ in those statistics can be attributable to reunification.


Thanks for that Esselte but I note that you didn’t quote the responses to your post from 2012 which undermined it.


You raised that same point back in 2012 when I posted the above. The figures for pre unification years is for East + West Germany so it is comparing like with like.


Those responses didn’t undermine it

See post from Mr A and my reply just posted.

Edited to add - how do you link to posts in another thread? Thanks


In the post banner, there’s a little box (looks like a sheet) to the left of the word Posted. That’ll give you a link to the post.




Not undermine it? It was pointed out to you that the German nation was diverted from being an Industrial powerhouse by a re-unification process which has taken over two decades to work through and those poverty statistics are for relative poverty not absolute poverty in a very wealthy country.


Meaningless to compare the size of economies, you should compare on a per capita basis.

University rankings are hopelessly biased towards English-speaking countries.

I can’t comment on the ‘living in poverty’ statistic, I have to say it’s interesting, where did you get it?


West Germany was unified with a pretty backwards (in industrial terms) East, it’s GDP numbers should have flattered post unification as it got East Germany up to speed but they didn’t, the economy of East + West Germany fell relative to the countries listed above.

Why has it’s universities all but fallen out of the Top 50 in global rankings?


Interesting numbers. Any Irish Universities in the top 50? :neutral_face:


Could have something to do with places like the Hasso Plattner institute, Max Planck institute, EMBL and Fraunhoffer doing a lot of reasearch outside “the system” in addition to Germany Industry doing a huge amount of theoretical research in house rather than waiting for state support.
Institutes are all over the place around here.


New list of the top 1000 universities in the world out today.


We have 8.
Germany has 55.

Our top ranking is #200. Germany have 3 in the top 100 alone.

Make of that what you will… I don’t know anything about their methodology.


You can listen to Nick Hanauer a billionaire friend of Jeff Bezos (Amazon), make an interesting case(s) for raising the minimum to $15 on NPR today. Word of warning, the host/presenter Diane Rehm has a voice disorder, so she can seem strange if you’ve not heard her before.

thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2014- … inequality


It’s a very US-centric methodology. UC Irvine places 80 overall and 50 in USA, so of top 80, 63% are in the US, a further 6 in UK, bringing that to 70%. That doesn’t for me excuse Ireland’s performance.

There may be methodological explanations for Germany’s underachievement. There also tends to be a bit of gaming of these things.


It is very US centric but that doesn’t explain why Germany continues to fall down the rankings every year. They now don’t have any universities in the top 50. US has 31, Japan 5, UK 4, France 3, Israel 2, Canada 2, S Korea 1, Russia 1 and Switzerland 1.
Germany’s highest rated is 82nd
Other countries with a university ranked higher than Germany’s best - China 55, Taiwan 65, Sweden 73, Singapore 74, Denmark 79

I count 4 German universities in top 100 - 82nd, 89th, 98th and 99th


Dec 5, 2013


I don’t know either.

I’m also surprised Switzerland doesn’t show higher, and in particular surprised by EPFL’s relatively low ranking at 93 (and how far it is below ETHZ at 18).


We work with a lot of Germans and they don’t really go for the “university model” that we do. A lot of Germans will learn in something more akin to a technical college and then do internships where the real learning begins. Also, their diplomas are pretty much equivalent to our degrees.

Not really partaking in the debate thus far, just shedding some light on something that can’t really be correlated to other countries.


Fachhochschule, literal translation would be something like “professional high school”. It’s a bit like Institute of Technology in Ireland, in theory, but probably more weight and more sense of its own importance/value. (ITs here all seem to spend their time trying to become universities)

I would say that Switzerland is a reasonable comparison point. Also has Fachhochschule of a type, and also has strong apprenticeship system for many professions (like Germany). Yet they get some institutions in very high in the international university rankings (even though much smaller than Germany).

Here’s a random theory: a big difference between Germany and the other countries we’ve discussed is the way the WWII played out for them. Cue hand-waving:

Going into the war (or earlier, going into Naziism), Germany was leading in many areas of science and technology. You see some of that in German language loan-words used in modern physics/mathematics. Then they implemented a repressive anti-intellectual and anti-minority political system, which drove many brighter thinkers (especially those from minorities, like Jews) out of the country to safe®-havens in USA/UK/Switzerland/etc.,

After losing the war, Germany’s remaining scientific assets were looted at an even faster rate by western and eastern powers (or simply left). The rocketry programme would be an obvious example. It’s not for nothing we see quotes like


Or the similar quote in The Right Stuff.

So my bar-stool theory is that German universities are still suffering the effects of that brain-drain, which has had a much lesser effect at the professional/engineering school level (last time I looked at the ranking methodology, it included things like success at Nobel prize level, so it may reward the higher academic level more than the base-level societal competency building). High level German scientists in US and other countries would also have continued to pull talented students out of German system (which they would know well) for graduate studies.

I would definitely say, that engineers/mathematicians I have worked with from good German institutions are very very good in general, with a high level of rigour. Far higher level of mathematical competence and facility than those from Irish system (embarrassing by contrast actually). (Could say similar about French engineers, and have had conversations with UK profs about challenge of setting exams for math-heavy classes including French erasmus students: either the UK students all fail or the French students get 100%, the distributions barely overlap at all)


Thanks for that BR.