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Noah Smith

Workers Made Germany Into the World's Best Economy

Both exports and wages are on the rise from the depths of the financial crisis.
One piece of the puzzle.

One piece of the puzzle.

Photographer: patrik stollarz/afp/getty images

Let's hope U.S. policy makers have woken up to the fact that the country is in a period of sclerosis, where its economic institutions seem to be inefficient along a variety of fronts. When things aren’t working, one good idea is to look around and see which countries are doing better. Right now, Japan is one such country. But in many ways, Germany looks like the most successful economy in the developed world.

This wasn’t always the case. It was a German economist who coined the term “Eurosclerosis” to describe the slow growth that plagued the country from the 1980s through the 1990s. In the late 2000s, even as the U.S. economy boomed, Germany’s unemployment rate exceeded 10 percent: