Germany's Growth: New Rules, Old Companies
In German, die rote Laterne—the red lantern that hangs off the caboose of a train—is slang for last place. Less than a decade ago, Germans were wondering whether that was an apt description for their own dawdling nation. Germany produced top-quality technology but seemed held back by an aging, risk-averse population and a sclerotic business culture. In 2005, Germany's 10-year growth rate was half, and its unemployment rate more than double, that of the U.S. rate The Mittelstand—Germany's small and midsize manufacturers, often family-run—seemed like a relic of Europe's industrial past.
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