Cheer up, Deutschland


A VISITOR to Germany this summer will find a country living well. Gentle chit-chat and the clink of glasses murmur from sun-dappled beer gardens. Barges laden with exports chug up the Rhine. Prosperous vacationers travel to lakes and seaside resorts in new cars and slick, reliable trains. Yet striking up a conversation with one of these seemingly contented locals, the traveller may well be told that the country is going to the dogs. The discussion might begin with disconsolate reflections on the national team’s dismal performance in the football World Cup, then find its way on to the storm clouds over German industry, political instability and perhaps the difficulties of integrating the many migrants who have arrived in recent years. Are they really talking about the same country?

Pessimism comes easily to Germans. Gloom stalked their literature even before the traumas of the 20th century. “Simplicius Simplicissimus,” the first great German novel, describes a peasant wandering the devastated…

Link to article: www.economist.com/news/europe/21747336-biggest-risk-germany-excessive-pessimism-cheer-up-deutschland?fsrc=rss%7Ceur

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