Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff at PostGlobal

Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff

Germany

Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff is a Senior Director at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a transatlantic public policy and grant-making foundation. He overseas the fund's policy programs. He was previously the Washington bureau chief of the German newsweekly, Die Zeit. Close.

Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff

Germany

Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff is a Senior Director at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a transatlantic public policy and grant-making foundation. more »

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Accepting Difference in Our Workforce

Globalization and immigration are twins. Germany exported more goods than anybody else in the world last year. Globalization is at the heart of Germany's economic recovery. After years of continuous outsourcing to low-cost competitors, German entrepreneurs have been able to carve out a niche for themselves. The country is high cost and high tech and high quality -- and highly competitive.

Germany is also creating new jobs again. Instead of exporting labor it will be importing labor again soon. In the 1960s, people understood that their economic wellbeing depended on foreign labor. There is reason to believe that they will accept that same argument again. And they will have learned.

In the 1960s, "guest workers" were invited into the country, but human beings came. It took decades for the country to understand that these "guest workers" were indeed immigrants. This learning process will not be necessary this time around. Indeed, people will welcome the fact that there will be somebody to pay for their pensions. That's important if you have a pay-as-you-go-system.

The country has been exposed to and has accepted difference in its population. The first wave of post-war globalization reached the continent as Europeanization. The first immigrants were from Portugal, Yugoslavia, Italy and Greece. The second wave hailed from Turkey. All of these countries are now members of the European Union -- or on course to become members. The time may soon come to stop calling European migrant workers immigrants. It will be a sign that Europeans have bought into the process.

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