Why old people in Germany have such a hard time finding work

The Economist just published a special on the problem of the ageing workforce (free for all). The whole article is worth a read, but the following piece of trivia caught me in particular: Britain and Germany used to have more or less the same unemployment rate for people aged 50-65. Not any more, today (2003) the rate is 3.3% for Britain and 9.7% for Germany. And now look at what people earn: In Germany, 50-65-year-old earn 60-70% more on average than 25-30-year-old, but in Britain, it’s roughly the same!

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Google Zeitgeist 2005 Released

Google has the not so well-known Zeitgeist project that looks at what’s going on through the spyglass of searches. They just released the Zeitgeist for 2005, as the end of the year approaches. It shows how the search for Weapons of Mass Destruction correlates with the US presidential elections, or how Wikipedia gained momentum this year.

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Sell your house NOW!

Sell your house, unless it stands in Germany. For a while now the Economist warned about the real estate bubble. Now they claim that it’s about to burst, probably a year from now. Read their free leader – the detailed article (not free) is much more detailed and full of scary statistics. Here’s the essence of their message:

    “If weaker house prices push the economy towards recession, the awkward truth is that America’s policymakers will have much less room to manoeuvre than they did after the stockmarket bubble burst. Short-term interest rates of only 3% leave less scope for cuts. In 2000, America had a budget surplus. Today it has a large deficit, ruling out big tax cuts.

    The whole world economy is at risk. The IMF has warned that, just as the upswing in house prices has been a global phenomenon, so any downturn is likely to be synchronised, and thus the effects of it will be shared widely. The housing boom was fun while it lasted, but the biggest increase in wealth in history was largely an illusion.”

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