Germans should think Canadian… be Proud and Merry!

Recent polls have shown a sort of National Depression in Germany of late. (hattip: Reader JaneM)

The article blames in part Germans societal reliance on Government to provide oppurtunity and advancement while also blaming a simple and historical German malaise that is handed down from generation to generation.

Apparently things have gotten bad enough that a television ad campaign has been launched to try boost the German Publics morale.

But look at the slogans and tag lines!
“A butterfly can unleash a typhoon. The air moved by the flap of its wings can uproot trees a few kilometers away. Just as a breath of air can become a storm, your deeds can have an effect.”


Excuse me, but what the HELL does that mean?

No. If these companies really want to change Germans attitudes about themselves they have to focus on things that Germans are already proud of!

Canadians reading this will know exactly what I am talking about.

Beer. Canadians love Beer. And Molson Canadian loves to sell Canadians Beer.

So what did Molson Canadian do? they made an add, about their Beer, but simultaneously about being Canadian and all the things that Canadians LOVE to love about themselves. Beer, language, hockey, peacekeeping, diversity, fairness, beer…

What did it do? It was a sensation. It was quite possibly the single most popular commercial for Young Canadians (between 13-35) ever made. People would recite the whole commercial at bars. It was like a new National Anthem.

Now obviously the Molson Canadian commercial played on a subtle patriotism that Canadians already harboured inside of them… and I believe it had already been ignited by such events as the Olympics and the razor-thin margin of defeat of the Seperatists in Quebec. It also played on how Canadians define themselves as opposed to their American neighbours.

I believe Germans probably have that subtle patriotism inside them as well, but perhaps they are simply afraid to show it. Whether that is due to their war-time history, the Cold War afterwards, or what, I cannot know. I will posit, however, that if Germany were to win, say, the World Cup (of Football/Soccer), THEN we would start to see that national desperation lift. Then there would be the opportunity to focus on the Good rather than on the Bad.

Feeling good about oneself is often more about being able to recognize the good rather than ignore the bad… it’s about recognize your own flaws, and laughing, rather than crying. I think this ad campaign has it’s heart in the right place (and it’s obviously attempted to “borrow” from Molsons, but it’s taking the wrong tact. Germans need to be inspired. They need to see things they are proud of. I don’t know what those things would be… but given all the amazing things Germans have contributed to the world, I’m sure someone can think of something.

I don’t think this has anything to do with what sort of social safety net or unemployment rate there is in Germany. Though of course those could be contributing factors. I believe every country has a “soul” and if the people of that country have lost contact with their soul, then they become unhappy and depressed. Perhaps since the unification of East and West Germany, Germans have yet to find their new, unified soul. Once they have found it though… it will be obvious to them… like finding a long lost brother… and their spirits will be lifted.

For kicks..I’ll leave you with Canadas Unofficial National Anthem… as read by Joe. (click to see a video of the commercial)

Hey, I’m not a lumberjack, or a fur trader….
I don’t live in an igloo or eat blubber, or own a dogsled….
and I don’t know Jimmy, Sally or Suzy from Canada,
although I’m certain they’re really really nice.

I have a Prime Minister, not a president.
I speak English and French, not American.
And I pronounce it ‘about’, not ‘a boot’.

I can proudly sew my country’s flag on my backpack.
I believe in peace keeping, not policing,
diversity, not assimilation,
and that the beaver is a truly proud and noble animal.
A toque is a hat, a chesterfield is a couch,
and it is pronounced ‘zed’ not ‘zee’, ‘zed’ !!!!

Canada is the second largest landmass!
The first nation of hockey!
and the best part of North America

My name is Joe!!
And I am Canadian!!!

5 replies on “Germans should think Canadian… be Proud and Merry!”

  1. Germans are not proud of Germany for many reasons. I read a German site regularly (DavidsMediankritik) which is usually in English and is highly regarded in the blogosphere. The contributors are both pro and con current trends in Germany. But what comes through loud and clear is that Germans have no confidence. They are risk averse as a result. They are paralyzed by the fear of making a mistake. They want only what is safe and secure.

    Don’t tell me that decades of welfare nannyism haven’t been a major contributing factor to their slow spiral down because it most certainly has been and will continue to be. They have been trained to play it safe and be satisfied with less and less prosperity.

    The only trouble is they really cannot afford to support this social system and they can’t seem to get their drive back to improve their economy. A well read German magazine (can’t remember the name now) recently came out against capitalism and capitalists (code word-the US of A) depicting Kapitalists as blood-sucking insects on the front cover. It was followed by more of the same philosophy from other print media and political smiles of appreciation by Herr Shroeder and Fischer standing shoulder to shoulder with the leaders of the German labour movement.

    Their media and public discourse in all forms are monolithic against those who have money to invest in Germany. So guess what? Nobody is investing their money there now and are in fact pulling their investments our and the Germans themselves are moving factories to more friendly locations outside of Germany.

    What do the people say in response? More welfare, more welfare, we need more welfare. Whadda ya’ mean we have to work longer hours and take fewer weeks off? No way. Just try it Mr politician! Ain’t happenin’

    Of course they still deal with the aftermath of guilt over Hitler and his henchmen. They reject patriotism because the Nazi state was
    super patriotic (ubber alles, remember) and they totally reject any claims to German superiority. It is not socially acceptable in Germany to be proud of being German.

    It’s a shame that Germany is in such a poor state and I just hope it doesn’t develop into a backlash or something like occurred in the 20th century. Who knows what another 50 years will bring if Germany doesn’t get back on its feet?

  2. Well, I tend to reject the notion that Germanys economic doldrums are due solely to the welfare state because, as a Canadian, I happen to live in a state this is as much or more welfare driven than Germany and we’re doing just fine… as are many other welfare states in Europe including the most successful of all, Norway.

    The downturn in their economy is much more likely due to outsourcing of jobs from their once vibrant manufacturing sector to Eastern Europe. This was a predictable outcome of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the entry of Eastern European countries into the EU. Eastern Europe is cheap… not because they don’t have welfare states, but because labour itself is simply cheaper. As is demonstrated in Canada… having a welfare state does not necessarily mean manufacturing jobs are cheaper elsewhere. Car companies build cars in Canada because, unlike the US, they aren’t saddled with the cost of healthcare, and their workers generally happier and more productive.

    The German and other Western European economies, including France, Italy, Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands will simply have to get used to this new reality and adjust. It will take time, but economies are cyclical. They will rise up once again.

    And when they do hopefully the German mood will rise as well.

  3. You need to read more opinion on Germany’s doldrums. The most recent election is proof enough that Germans are afraid to change.
    They are willing to live with 11% unemployment and a flat economy as long as nobody cuts their welfare. I just read that at least 40% of German youth are unemployed and have been for over a year. A few more years of this will be disasterous and may create a permanent slide down the economic tubes. You should worry more about such trends if you see Europe as some kind of model for Canada. The three major European societies are France, Italy and Germany and they are all suffering high unemployment and no economic growth. No matter how well they may be doing at the moment, Norway, Denmark, netherlands etc are a spit in the ocean compared to Germany, France and Italy. These three countries chart the course for Europe. Europe will never be able to actually be a “counterbalance” to the US without properity in those three countries. Politically and economically they get weaker every year.

    “The German and other Western European economies, including France, Italy, Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands will simply have to get used to this new reality and adjust. It will take time, but economies are cyclical. They will rise up once again”

    They will only rise up if they make some serious changes in their taxation and welfare schemes. You are almost implying that if we keep our fingers crossed it will magically happen with no suffering. It won’t. Germany needs a Thatcher and France is hopelessly trapped in a stranglehold of the beaurocratic elite who will never allow any real changes in their society.

    This is what I read, Chris, from rather thoughtful economic and political experts observing Europe. Some of these experts actually live in these societies
    as well.

    If I had to guess, I’d say that Canadian fortunes are heavily influenced in a very postitive way by living so close to the “evil” captitalistic US rather more than your society’s dependence on the growing welfare state you are building. There’s not much left for national defense, is there?

  4. “Europe’s economic trauma can be seen most clearly in Germany, which has performed miserably since edging away from the American free-market model and toward the French socialized-market alternative. Unemployment in Germany has reached the potentially destabilizing level of 12 percent. More shockingly, about a third of those unemployed have been jobless for more than a year. This is not some recessionary blip; over the last decade and a half, economic growth in Germany has averaged only a little over 1 percent. This miserable performance has allowed the people of other nations to pass the Germans in standard of living.

    As Europe’s locomotive runs out of fuel, the whole train slows. French unemployment rates are nearly as high as in Germany. Across the 15 nations of the European Union, the proportion of the jobless who have been unemployed for more than a year now exceeds 40 percent.

    In his article that begins on page 28, Joel Kotkin notes that Europe has created just 4 million net new jobs since the 1970s. And most of those were in government, not the private sector. During that same period, the U.S. created 57 million new jobs—which is why it has become the magnet for the globe’s most economically ambitious people.

    Shrinking economic opportunity has particularly harsh effects on newcomers like immigrants and the young. In France, Italy, Germany, and Belgium, approximately a quarter of all workers under 25 are currently unemployed. Many young Euros now begin their productive years with a stint on the dole. This is a formula not just for economic mediocrity, but for personal heartache and social unrest.

    And the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates that economic growth will slacken even further in the countries employing the Euro as currency. From an anemic growth rate of 1.3 percent per year between 2010 and 2020, OECD economists forecast a decline to under 1 percent annual growth during the decade following. Those little gray numbers are more than marks on paper—over time they will translate into notably pinched lives. Already, higher U.S. growth over the last generation has given average Americans a standard of living about 40 percent richer than average continental Europeans. Continue that a few more decades and we will no longer be peers, but two very different cultures.”

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