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Lessons from Europe

"Spengler" doesn't mention Britain, but I thought you might want to read this anyway. The people of Britain understood this lesson hundreds of years ago.

Why should Germany thrive while Spain implodes? That’s like asking why Facebook is worth a lot and Myspace is worth nothing. It’s a winner-take-all world. Countries that do well have to do a few things extremely well. Germany makes the world’s best machine tools, some of the best heavy engineering equipment, not to mention autos. German manufacturing dominates innumerable key niches. The Spanish don’t do anything well. They haven’t done anything well since the Spanish Empire outsourced its manufacturing to Flanders in the 16th century. Germany has a score of marquee manufacturing brands, as well as hundreds of lesser-known quality manufacturers, of which my favorite is Howaldtswerke, a ThyssenKrupp subsidiary that makes the Dolphin class submarines for Israel. Name one world-class Spanish manufacturing brand. There aren’t any.

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