Germanys Battle with Morality

Tick By Tick's picture

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JeffB's picture

"If we are to look at the 2008 crisis in detail, the fundamental issues lie between issues of policy, greed and pursuit of profit by individuals and firms alike."

Although those issues undoubtedly at least played a role in the timing & severity of the crisis, I think the underlying fundamental issue was the Fed's tinkering with it's play toy fiat money system.

I just started reading Thomas E. Woods, Jr.'s book,"Meltdown", & he makes the analogy that blaming the crisis on greed, and screwups etc. is like blaming a plane crash on gravity. The analogy isn't a perfect one, of course, as all analogies fall short at some point, but I think his point is a very good one.

It's a side issue to your main point, but just thought I'd get my two cents in anyway.




The Reich's picture

amongst other things you missed a thousand years of confused public morality.

Stuck on Zero's picture

This is a political crisis.  Not an economic crisis.  All the heads of state should be stripped of their posts and all the failing banks should be rerganized.  Bondholders should take their losses.  Isn't it interesting how banks turn their problems into national crises?

G-R-U-N-T's picture

"Kant would argue that telling the truth is a Categorical Imperative and as a result should trump all other moral or ideological reasoning."

"The man....who closed the door of philosophy to reason, was Immanuel Kant."

"Kant's expressly stated purpose was to save the morality of self-abnegation and self sacrifice. He knew it could not survive without a mystic base--and what it had to be saved from was reason."

-Ayn Rand

At what point do responsible and caring parents cut off dependent children whom haven't learned how to be self sufficient, productive and whom have become fat and spoiled off others ingenuity, productivity, creativity and of course hard work?

I believe Germany will be forced to be reasonable but the jury is still out on the PIIGS.





Wakanda's picture

Until the West gets over the fact that life is measured in sunrises and sunsets, not euros or frns, we will be free to enjoy this beautiful planet and occasionally each other's company.  Until then, more of the same - financial and cultural shitstorm. 

If one puts down the mouse and steps outside, the sunsets are still beautiful and free.

GeneMarchbanks's picture

'Instead, Mrs Merkel and Mr Sarkozy seem intent on wasting both time and valuable resources drafting new measures in an attempt to save the Euro from certain collapse.  The one area of Soros’ article that this writer agrees to surrounds formulating a comprehensive exit mechanism from the Euro.'

Wow. Another myopic Anglo-American take on the situation in Europe decorated with Kantian ethics, Soros, and a lesson on morality. This article manages to encapsulate everything in leaps of logic that resemble new age religionists.


YHC-FTSE's picture

Interesting post. There's a parallel here between critics of moral behaviour that is regarded as naive and inflexible, and critics of Germany's high regard for human dignity. One man's moral behaviour, for example coscientious objection to war, is another man's immoral cowardice and naivety. To me, it is all a matter of local ethos and context for the monkeys to justify whatever they do to each other. In the modern world, assaulting, thieving, and murdering are done as casually by the "Moral" heroes, as they are done by their enemies. Once you introduce morality or lack thereof in to an argument, it gets boring and full of irony very quickly.


Anyway, this scenario might be best described as a decision tree rather than a couple of options. I may come back to this and post some likely scenarios, but don't hold your breath.

Azannoth's picture

+100 Morality is as arbitrary and ambiguous as it gets and is highly coupled with local religion and tradition and has nothing to do with Right&Wrong(another highly vague concept), still people tend to think and judge their own actions and actions of others in therms of moral values, I wish the humans would grow up already

StychoKiller's picture

Moral concepts must be determined by the goals that are trying to be achieved.  For example, if the goal is conformity, then freedom-loving people will fight against such moral teachings.

Fuh Querada's picture

Abhorring Kant, adoring c**t.

Seriously, if you want a better analysis check out Felix Zulauf's latest interview on Especially the 1st 5 minutes wheree he explains why Germany is not going for the printing/bailout option (Murkle is being advised by the chairman of the Bundesbank).

falak pema's picture

This article begins with a sleight of hand, putting the blame of German mindset on Kant. From there we go on to prove that given the mindset the Germans have inbred constraints encouraging bad decision making; something the great UK never had, as the historical opium trade and gunboat diplomacy practiced by Rule Britannia contradicts to the point of making all phiosophical analogy totally meaningless. Deriding National traits is like living in glass houses...

More to the point, The writer MINIMISES the OLigarchical scam practised by that great nation : USA, when they socialised the debt of Corporate USA, in 2008. A Corporate machine that had been programmed to concoct the financialised ponzi since Thatcher-Reagan days; deregulatory mantra, asset risk bubble economy, supply side incentives and junk bonds, were their religion. Free markets are like the opium trade, totally one sided. Oligarchy does not believe in fair markets. Ask the City, Ticky tocky.

We are in financial karma now in western civilization. SO Merkel may be wrong to not have allowed ECB to print to infinity at fixed rates, having taken the risk of leaving the sovereigns and euro banks to the mercy of anglosaxon-led speculative frenzy. With the ECB printing, the bond interest would be much lower. ANd banking regulation much easier. But then the Euro zone is like a half pregnant woman today; and we all know that half pregnancy is a virtual state that leads to a hard landing. Euro bonds amongst nation states of Euro zone is no more potentially dysfunctional and toxic CDO  inclined than FED printing for New Jersey and Alabama in the US context. They are not exactly states with similar socio cultural and economic profiles. Doesn't stop USA from being powerful nation.

proLiberty's picture

Kant follows in a line through Hegel to Marx.  The Germans are conquering the world by other means- by socialism.

TSA gropee's picture

Not conquering the world, just doing economically now what they couldn't do militarily 65+ years ago. We (imho) are seeing the rebirth of the Holy Roman empire.

Interesting that on the day of the Vatican’s Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Jesuit trained Mario Draghi, submits the fiscal compact with the demand that all EU nations sign up to it—a demand that was acceded to by all except Britain the following day. Oct 24th, Vatican information service posts:

Ghordius's picture

Hogwash. Marx himself wrote: "I have turned Hegel on his head".

Go and visit some foreign lands...

Optimusprime's picture

Very odd post, to be sure.  In the time since August, one would think, there might have been more of an effort to clean up the innumerable and irritating grammatical lapses.  And before someone starts shrieking about "grammar nazi's", consider this: if one wishes to introduce Kant into the discussion, then one assumes a certain burden of clarity and competence in presentation.  It goes with the territory.

As to substance, the Kant material is interesting, but IMO mishandled.  What the authors seem to want to say would be better served, not by focusing on the Categorical Imperative per se, but rather by Kant's insistence that the obligatory nature of the imperative is determined independent of any interest in probable outcomes.  Such is morality, according to Kant.  Then the way could be clear to point out a contradiction between such a morality and the role of public policy makers, who must always consider probable outcomes.


Instead the authors go on to (once again, this is not new) draw up a list of probable outcomes given the alternative options of continuing or not continuing to fund the toxic debt of the Eurozone.  Fine as far as it goes, but nothing new, and no attempt to consider further options or ramifications. 


So--not bad, but not all that useful.



achmachat's picture

trivia of the day:

The Chinese Name for Germany is De Guo, which means Morals and Virtue Country.


falak pema's picture

the Greeks would call Germania : Minerva! (To the Romans : Pallas Athena).

Neither the Greeks nor the Italians today feel Merkel is Minerva!

devlin1984's picture

Yeah and the Chinese name for America is Beautiful Country.

GeneMarchbanks's picture

There's a French historian and geo-politician(blanking on the name) who has noted that China's ruling class has a certain obsession with the Germans. It seems they study German history and policy with immense interest.

falak pema's picture

That's 'cos the french guy is jealous. The french ENA bureaucracy is a Mandarin class. The french cut and pasted Chinese manadarin culture during the Revolution to build their Jacobin cult. Under MAo, the french revolution and the Enlightenment became very fashionalbe in Marxist communist circles. Apparently Chou en LAi could "out Danton" MAlraux in their historical discussions. Chou was the epitomy of Mandarin China in Mao's party. I think that further study of Enlightenment made the Chinese realize that German philosophers like German musicians were uber-alles. La creme de la creme of Enlightenment. Of course, the pragmatic US intellectual only believes in the mantra of the Coca Cola formula; that's the only philosophy that US people adore; as it has $$$ written all over it. Its nice to have a SIMPLE mindset. Hamburgers and Coca Cola make the world go round. I'm forgetting blue jeans and "Good golly Miss Molly!".

GeneMarchbanks's picture


"Corporations are getting better and better at seducing us into thinking the way they think—of profits as the telos and responsibility as something to be enshrined in symbol and evaded in reality. Cleverness as opposed to wisdom. Wanting and having instead of thinking and making. We cannot stop it. I suspect what’ll happen is that there will be some sort of disaster—depression, hyperinflation—and then it’ll be showtime: We’ll either wake up and retake our freedom or we’ll fall apart utterly. Like Rome—conqueror of its own people." -David Foster Wallace

Cleverness as opposed to wisdom. That, my friend, has been the latest turn in the psyche of our American friends. Not sure you're European but I suppose it doesn't matter. The only trouble is, they're not content with destroying only themselves, everyone must be included.


eddiebe's picture

Tick also didn't note the option of Germany itself exiting the Euro. Wouldnt that blow everybodys mind.

TSA gropee's picture

Tick, as you well know ,we (the Americans) have a constitution as well, but as you also probably know can be rendered "a living document" in need of revision or an archaic document in need of relegation to the annals of history. Nothing, when it comes to power and money is set in stone for those whose obsession it is...

Tick By Tick's picture



We appreciate your comments and criticism.


We would make the following point:

Human Dignity is the forefront right as provided by the German Constitution.  If one is to read about the legal battle that occurred regarding laws to shoot down hijacked aircraft following 9/11, it would be clear to see that in the German mindset, human dignity is a catergorical imperative.  Michael Sandel, the writer of Justice, has actually explored this to quite extensive levels.

In the initial draft of this piece back in October, I did include the following paragraphs that has since being ommitted:

the wake of the tragic events of 9/11, governments around the world were forced
to reassess their attitude to towards the actions of a possible hijacked
aircraft.  The worldwide consensus
was that should an aircraft be hijacked, the Government should have the right
to have it shot down to minimise the risk of a potential catastrophe and
overall cost to human life. 
Governments quickly passed this utilitarian legislation in to power to
minimise what has been perceived as a real terrorist threat.  It all sounds very logical and then we
meet the Germans. 

collusion with other nations around the world, the Germans were keen to pass
legislation that would provide the greatest safety net to its inhabitants.  However, the Germans are slightly
special.  In the wake of the
Holocaust, Germany has provided its habitants with the right to human dignity
and the fundamental right to life over all other rights via its
constitution.    This conflict of interest resulted in a
monumental constitutional debate where, at conclusion, it was decided that
these fundamental rights (or Categorical Imperative) deny the army the right to
treat humans are pure objects and that it would be unconstitutional to allow a
hijacked aircraft to be shot down."


With regards to providing options of how the situation unfold, I have provided plenty but not in this specific piece.  Please note that the date at which this piece was written, no stability fund or significant focus was being placed on Germany.  The market was very much all about H1 GDP results in the US and the debt ceiling debacle.  Saying that, I fully appreciate your point.


I am more than prepared to discuss the topic at length with you if you so desire.  Feel free to email the team at  

Azannoth's picture

So basically the Philosophy of the German government(and the majority of population as I see it) is that a National Suicide is preferable to hurting some individuals, 'all or nothing approach'.

That is probably why you have a 'right to live' in Germany - the government pays for your home and gives you a basic allowance the so called Hartz 4

But you don't have the right to Personal Freedom and Determination over your self, starting from the pervasive bureaucracy and needing a government stamp of approval on every action to 'holocaust denial' and no free speech, punishable by jail

In Germany ther is a law for every possible Lebenslage or Life situation, the goverment can have a say in every aspect of your life if it wishes to

Hence all Rights always come at a cost of Freedoms

My personal view point is that Germans(as a nation) come closest to the 'Borg collective' from StarTrek movies, they always seem favor the 'greater good' and social tranquility over small things like personal freedoms and liberty, probably some Asian cultures would look similar in this regard

G-R-U-N-T's picture

Thanks Azannoth...Excellent comment!

Ghordius's picture

"Conversely, should Germany support the Euro, its deficits would slowly constrict its economy and eventually cause a Eurozone Meltdown." This is in the line of "anything vaguely resembling balanced budgets and deflationary effects will kill the world" - a bit odd such a pregnant lone phrase after such a long discussion about Hegel and Kant refraining from shooting planes down...