The End of a Legend: ‘Made in Germany’ Label Sours as Car Scandal Rages – SPIEGEL ONLINE

Logo of Der Spiegel.

Logo of Der Spiegel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s a very important article from Spiegel, with wide-ranging implications. It argues that Germany’s diesel scandal occurred because the government has long been too lenient on the automobile industry. It concludes that deep ties between politicians and the sector allowed the situation to get out of hand, with enormous damage to the country’s reputation as one of the world’s best carmakers.

Source: The End of a Legend: ‘Made in Germany’ Label Sours as Car Scandal Rages – SPIEGEL ONLINE

This lengthy article is a recommended read being an example of Spiegel’s investigative journalism at it’s best.

The article highlights how in Germany powerful industrial lobbying can seemingly sway government policy. If we are to believe the propositions, German automakers colluded together to understate environment risks and protect their profitability. In an election year, with huge numbers of auto industry related jobs, the German government showed weakness. So far, we have since little action from Brussels. But Spiegel highlights that the EU competition regulator has seriously large teeth, which have previously taken a bite at both Google and Gasprom. If it can be proven that cartel laws have been violated then penalties up to 10% of turnover can be levied. But challenging the German automakers is different to Google and Gasprom.

As a ‘Remainer’, I’m deeply saddened by this story which probably provides ‘Brexiteers’ with more ammunition. The EU is not level playing fields.


Why Are Illiberal Democrats Popular? by Daniel Gros – Project Syndicate

Russian president Vladimir Putin and Turkish P...

Russian president Vladimir Putin and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi at the opening of the Blue Stream Gas Pipeline (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s an outstanding article by Daniel Gros, Director of the Brussels-based Center for European Policy Studies, and published by Project Syndicate. He observes that illiberal leaders like Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and Hungary’s Viktor Orbán have managed to concentrate power without losing popular support. However, he warns that as their mounting authoritarianism undermines prudent economic policies, they will find it increasingly difficult to keep the electorate happy.

Source: Why Are Illiberal Democrats Popular? by Daniel Gros – Project Syndicate

The argument and conclusions are faltless. But what if the electorates in Russia, Turkey and Hungary become unhappy? Certainly, in Russia and Turkey, it’s hard to imagine popular uprisings and political change. More likely, with unhappy electorates, these regimes will become more repressive, tossing the ocassional anti-Western red meat to the masses. But special counsel, Robert Mueller investigation into Russian and Turkish involvement in US politics is likely to be a watershed, in both the US and possibly in Russia and Turkey too. As for Hungary, there will be the influence of the wider EU.

The worst case scenario, for the likes of Russia, Turkey and Hungary is deepening popular unhappiness with declining economic opportunities and their governments increasingly involved in foreign policy adventures, including wars, to deflect attention at home.