The unbearable lightness of memory: Germany and Switzerland

20.12.2012 - Europe - Jorge van Schouwen

The unbearable lightness of memory: Germany and Switzerland
Economía Europea (Image by manifiestodelosjovenes.todosalasplazas (Grupo Facebook))

Germany and Switzerland: two solid financial rocks in the EU crisis or just fantastic at “social
maquillage”? (with thanks to Mr. Kundera). These days the EU is going through serious growing pains.
The economic disciplining is in full motion and it’s a very “tough discipline”. The irresponsible countries
and people of Southern Europe need to be more like Germany and Switzerland or it will be chaos.
This prescription is creating an immense amount of social and personal suffering in Greece and across
Europe.

Now back in Toronto after having spent two years in Berlin, Germany and reminiscing about my time there
as well as my partner’s family connection to Switzerland, I loosely divagated about certain characteristics
of those two “solid” societies.

Everywhere in the mainstream media and in the opinion of serious pundits the blame game is full on
towards Greece and to a lesser extent towards Portugal, Ireland, Spain, etc. The basic line is “Greece
is a country who has lived beyond its means, irresponsible, lazy, corrupt and wasteful of monies”.
They deserve a handout but under very serious and strict guidelines. These guidelines are heralded
by Germany and its Bundesbank. Public opinion in Germany and Switzerland is growing tired of
handouts to the irresponsible countries of Southern Europe. No more money to these corrupt and
liberal leaning pariahs unless they follow the prescriptions of the responsible, productive and serious
societies.

Let’s reminisce a little bit and we find that starting in the late 40’s Germany was the largest recipient
of “handouts” under the so-called “Marshall Plan”. In other words Germany is historically the biggest
“beggar” in history. The so-called de-nazification programs were nothing more than a pep talk, a hand-
shake (no more lifting of the right arm) and a duly signed certificate attesting that the subject was now
fully cured of Nazi beliefs. Then they could get back all their factories, businesses, real estate, etc. Nice
going!

Switzerland back in the late 30’s and in the 40’s was a “neutral” country but not so neutral in secretely
accepting the monies coming from Germany and Nazi occupied countries. They promised them secrecy,
security and profits in the largest theft and genocidal enterprise of all times. Nice going!

Nowadays there is talk of the “Lagarde list” involving Greece. The list discloses the names of over
2.000 Greek business people who for many years have taken public monies out of Greece and secretly
deposited it in those most august of institutions, the Swiss Banks.

Now Germany has finally made its appearance in the “Lagarde list” involving the names of about 350
business people and companies who have also “deposited” monies in the very solid Swiss Banks.

Oh my! I thought how can all of this be possible with such hard working, clean, time keeping and sober
countries like Germany and Switzerland. I divagated that these performances over the years should win
an Academy award (although shared) for “Best social costume and make-up in a serious financial role”

Categories: Economics, Europe, Opinions
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