Porsche, Daimler, DAX e teutoni

 

  By: Moderatore on Martedì 12 Febbraio 2013 17:04

ricopio qui un saggio su come funziona veramente la Germania in termini di organizzazione dello stato, della gestione delle aziende, del training, delle banche e che mostra come il "modello renano" sia effettivamente molto diverso da quello americano ------------ (5) Collectivism beats Individualism: 'German-Japanese' model vs 'Englishspeaking' Libertarian model- Capitalism Against Capitalism How America's Obsession with Individual Achievement and Short-term Profit Has Led It to the Brink of Collapse by Michel Albert Introduction by Felix G. Rohatyn Translated by Paul Havilan Wiley, 1993 http://faculty.arts.ubc.ca/tiberg/MPA_Asia_Apr_2010_readings/Albert.%20Capitalism%20Vs.%20Capitalism%20Ch.%201%20and%206.pdf 2. The Rhine aspect, Le. the social component of the economic policies and practices of the new Germany, which took shape in Bonn (on the Rhine River) and not in Berlin, capital of Prussia. It was on the banks of the Rhine, in the spa town of Bad Godesberg, that the German Social Democratic Party decided, during its historic 1959 conference, to commit itself to capitalism. It seemed a surprising choice at the time. Yet there could be no mistake: the new SPD program explicitly insisted on 'the need to protect and promote private ownership of the means of production' and gave full approval to 'open competition and free enterprise'. Every socialist party in Europe cried treason, of course... and every one of them has come to accept the same principles (if not always so explicitly, then at least in terms of pragmatic behaviour). Today, Helmut Kohl continues in the tradition of Adenauer, Erhard, and even Brandt and Schmidt, at the helm of an economy which exemplifies what I call the Rhine model of capitalism. It includes not only the Rhine countries in the narrow geographical sense - Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands - but also, to some extent, Scandinavia and (with allowances for the inevitable cultural differences) Japan as well. Now that the actors are in position, the show can begin. With the collapse of communism, it is as if a veil has been suddenly lifted from our eyes. Capitalism, we can now see, has two faces, two personalities. The neo-American model is based on individual success and short-term financial gain; the Rhine model, of German pedigree but with strong Japanese connections, emphasizes collective success, consensus and long-term concerns. In the last decade or so, it is this Rhine model- unheralded, unsung and lacking even nominal identity papers - that has shown itself to be the more efficient of the two, as well as the more equitable. {p. 99} Chapter 6 The other capitalism In economics, as in entertainment, the spectator is more likely to remember an outrageous, over-the-top performance than a quietly understated one. In other words, the glitter of Wall Street and the gladiatorial drama of the casino economy enjoy a worldwide notoriety denied to the subtle balancing act of the German Sozialmarktwirtschaft (social market economy). In their dreams of a capitalist nirvana, the downtrodden inhabitants of Tirana or Bratislava or Ulan Bator naturally conjure up visions of a prosperity made in America, and packaged by Hollywood; dreams made all the more legitimate and credible now that the fulminations, falsehoods and false hopes of half a century of communist propaganda have been firmly swept aside. When, in the summer of 1990, a few dozen Albanians managed to escape the last European bastion of Stalinism and find refuge in France, it soon emerged that their true destination was America: the America of Dallas, Chicago and Wall Street. And when the Budapest Stock Exchange was inaugurated earlier that same year, it was cause for national celebration. Hungarians at last had tangible proof that the capitalist Eldorado was just around the corner. It would certainly come as a shock to most people in the former communist countries, then, to learn that capitalism is not one and indivisible, that market economies - like cars - come in different makes, and that the most efficient one is not necessarily the glamorous American model. One who would not be surprised, though, is Lech Walesa. Poland's new President has openly talked of his quest for an ideal model which would reconcile the supposed prosperity and efficacy of American capitalism with the relative security, in social welfare terms, of the old regime (see Guy Sorman, Sortir du socialisme: Fayard; 1991); a model which would allow people, in the words of a much-quoted War- {p. 100} saw witticism, 'to live like the Japanese without having to work harder than the Poles'. Were President Walesa to look over his shoulder to Germany, he would find something not unlike his ideal system. To take but one example, the former West German states could boast an average of 1633 hours per year of real working time per employee in manufacturing industry. Joking aside, this does fit the description of 'working less than the French while producing as much as the Japanese' (see Futurihles, January 1989). German metalworkers already enjoy a 36V2 -hour working week, and it is quite possible that the 35-hour week scheduled to be introduced in 1995 will (in spite of the enormous controversy it has aroused) eventually become the norm. The point is that, of all the great industrialized nations, Germany can lay claim to both the shortest working week and the highest wages, while at the same time building up an enormous trade surplus with the rest of the world. Yet Germany is but one example, one particular incarnation, of the 'other capitalism', the Rhine model-largely unrecognised or, at best, misunderstood - which extends from northern Europe to Switzerland, and partially includes Japan. Like its rival, the neo-American model, it is indisputably capitalist: the market economy, private property and free enterprise are the cornerstones of both systems. In the last 10 or 15 years, however, the neo-American model has begun to veer off in another direction, a trend described by sociologist Jean Padioleau as 'the speculator gaining the upper hand over the industrial entrepreneur, and the race for easy, short-term profits undermining the collective wealth built up through long-term investment'. The Rhine model represents a very different vision of economic organization; it presupposes different financial structures and social controls. It is far from perfect, but its characteristic features combine to produce a stable, yet dynamic (and remarkably powerful) system. The same aphorism may be applied to it as to democracy: it is the worst system in the world, except for all the others. And although it has never received anything like the public recognition and international prestige of the neo-American model, there is evidence of a greater awareness among economic decision-makers. A survey of 300 European company directors, carried out by the French polling organization SOFRES in August 1988, makes for interesting reading in this respect. {p. 101} Asked to name their preferences if they had to subcontract more work abroad or purchase more foreign goods, they opted for West Germany (as it was then) by a huge margin, in spite of its higher salary costs - of which they were, naturally, well aware. (France, incidentally, was their second choice, with the Benelux countries coming in third.) Let us now tum to some of the fundamental aspects of the Rhine economic model, those which distinguish it most clearly, and in many cases radically, from the neo-American model. The role of the market Just as there can be no socialist society in which all goods and services are free, so can there be no capitalist society in which all goods and services may be bought and sold. Some assets, by definition, cannot be transferred from one owner to the other. They may be personal (love and friendship, generosity and honor, for example) or collective (democracy, public freedoms, human rights, justice etc.). They are what may be termed non-negotiable (or non-exchangeable) goods, and they are baSically the same for both models of capitalism, with one major exception: religion. Where the models diverge significantly is in the realm of negotiable goods (i.e. commodities and services that can always be exchanged), and in that of mixed goods. The two diagrams on page 102 will give a rough idea of the market status of certain types of goods in each model. The differences are clearly visible: the neo-American model gives pride of place to negotiable goods, while the Rhine model has a preponderance of mixed goods (those which are partly negotiable on the open market and partly dependent on public-sector initiative). It is worth examining each item in tum. Religions In the Rhine model, religions do not generally function as economic institutions; in Germany, for example, pastors and priests are paid out of public funds, just as if they were civil servants. In the USA, it would seem, religious movements are increasingly run as mixed-economy institutions, often using the most sophisticated methods of marketing, {p. 103} In the neo-American model, a company is a negotiable good like any other, whereas for the Rhine economies it is not just a commodity, but a community - in other words, a mixed good. Companies Housing Housing is also almost exclusively a market commodity in the USA. In Rhine economies, by contrast, public sector initiatives account for a significant proportion of housing and rents are often subsidised. Urban transport The situation in urban transport is analogous to that of housing, although even in the USA it is subject to some public regulation; one of the few places where untrammelled competition prevails in this sector is Santiago, the capital of Chile, where, thanks to General Pinochet's 'Chicago boys', anyone can set up a bus service and set fares at will. As a result, bus traffic there is the heaviest in the world, and pollution levels are worse than ever. Nevertheless, the many deficiencies of municipal transport services in Rhine countries have put them under increasing scrutiny, and moves toward privatization are on the increase. This is indicated in the diagram by an arrow pointing in the direction of the 'negotiable goods' category. Wages The same holds for wages, which, in the neo-American model, are increasingly subject to the prevailing winds of the market at any given moment; the Rhine system, however, tends to base wages on factors not directly connected with worker productivity, such as qualifications, seniority and nationally agreed pay scales. They are thus negotiable goods in one case, mixed goods in the other. The media Similarly, the media - especially television - which have traditionally belonged to the public sector in Rhine economies, face increasing privatisation. Oddly, this is the one case where the American trend goes against the grain; its all-commercial broadcasting sector is {p. 104} a new growth of 'community-run' television stations financed through public subscription. Thus the arrows in the diagram point in opposite directions for this commodity. Education This spans all three categories of goods in both models. Nevertheless, it is readily apparent, in the case of the neo-American model, that the proportion of educational establishments subject to market forces is enormous, and still growing steadily (as indicated by the arrow in the direction of 'negotiable goods'). Health Like education, health embraces the three different categories of goods in,both models, but in the Rhine model, where a greater role is accorded to public hospitals and mutual benefit schemes operating in tandem with Social Security, there is as yet no sign that the authorities are keen to transfer many of their prerogatives to the private sector - as is increasingly the tendency in both English-speaking and Latin countries. It is a point which needs underlining, as it admirably illustrates capitalism's potential for both short-term wealth creation and longterm erosion of social values. The latter may occur if public authorities fail to exercise their supervisory role, and when there are no other strong social values to compete with that of money and wealth. As the late French economist Fran<;ois Perroux once wrote: For any capitalist society to function smoothly, there must be certain social factors which are free of the profit motive, or at least of the quest for maximum profits. When monetary gain becomes uppermost in the minds of civil servants, soldiers, judges, priests, artists or scientists, the result is social dislocation and a real threat to any form of economic organization. The highest values, the noblest human assets - honor, joy, affection, mutual respectmust not be given a price tag; to do so is to undermine the foundations of the social grouping. There is always a more or less durable framework of pre-existing moral values within which a capitalist economy operates, values which may be quite alien to capitalism itself. But as the economy expands, its very success threatens this framework; capitalist values replace all others in {p. 105} the public esteem, and the preference for comfort and material well-being begins to erode the traditional institutions and mental patterns which are the basis of the social order. In a word, capitalism corrupts and corrodes. It uses up society's vital life-blood, yet is unable to replenish it. Le Capitalisme, in the 'Que sais-je?' series: 19~2 These are prophetic words indeed, and any number of concrete examples may be found to illustrate them. To take but one which concerns us all (directly or not), let us examine the American legal process, which has begun to take on all the characteristics of a marketable, negotiable commodity. In Japan, it is considered somewhat shameful to bring a lawsuit; every avenue of negotiation and compromise must be explored before resorting to such an extreme measure. In the European tradition, the legal profession - like all the other professions - frees its members from the need to chase profits and calculate prices, in order to be able to concentrate in a disinterested fashion on serving the public good. It is this notion of service to a higher ideal- whether this be defined as 'justice' or 'health' or 'education' - which in turn defines the code of professional conduct: in a word, honor. Honor is the key concept, as the term 'honorarium' (payment for professional services) clearly indicates. This ancient tradition (stretching back to Hippocrates, in the case of medicine), fundamental to the liberal professions, is the cornerstone which anchors them firmly outside the market place. But in the USA, a radical change is under way. The legal profession is now more aptly described as 'the lawsuit industry'. This latest victory of a certain brand cif capitalism has been fully documented in Walter Kolson's study, The Litigation Explosion (Truman Talley Books: New York, 1991). In his review of Kolson's book in The New York Times of 12 May 1991, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger notes that this unprecedented change began to gather real momentum in 1977, when the Supreme Court ruled that lawyers should be allowed to advertise their services on television. The immediate upshot of this decision has been the exponential growth of contingency fee agreements, whereby a prospective plaintiff in a lawsuit hires the services of a lawyer on the following terms: no fee will be payable if the suit is lost, but if it is won and damages are awarded, the lawyer will {p. 106} take a percentage cut of the damages. Such arrangements are now routine in road accident cases, so much so that an injured victim is not surprised to find a lawyer by his side in the ambulance, urging him to sign a contingency fee agreement before they reach hospital. According to the statistics, there has been a 300-fold increase in the number of malpractice suits against US doctors and hospitals since 1970. Given that the resultant cost of malpractice insurance may reach the equivalent of £30 000 per year for some doctors, it is no wonder that aggressive profit-making is the order of the day in the medical profession as well - as innumerable American women (to take just one example) could testify on being advised by their gynaecologists to undergo a hysterectomy on the sole grounds that the onset of menopause has made the uterus 'redundant'. Another statistic speaks volumes: the number of federal judges found guilty of corruption and tax evasion in the 1980s exceeded the total of the previous 190 years ofUS history. The judiciary, too, is swaying to the siren song of the profit motive. Do not imagine, however, that dark irrational forces are at work: your lawyer, who sees you as a rich vein of potential lawsuits waiting to be mined, is working to a logical plan which begins and ends with maximum gain; your doctor is merely following the same capitalist reasoning, in which you are a biological generator of profit. But here's the rub: in such a system, who can you trust? And what is a society really 'worth' if it systematically breaks down trust? Bank capitalism In the Rhine model, the 'golden boys' and their breathless exploits on the floor of the Stock Exchange are conspicuously absent. Banks, not stock markets, are the principal guardians of the capitalist flame in Germany and Switzerland: one has only to compare the Frankfurt or Zurich Bourse with their heavyweight British or French counterparts. Frankfurt's total capitalization is a third that of London, and nine times smaller than Wall Street or Tokyo. It is only recently that options and futures markets were introduced on the German exchanges, which remain narrowly focused and decidedly unglamorous. German companies in search of financing are far more likely to talk to their bank than to raise funds on the financial markets or through public subscription. {p. 107} Some - including giants like Bertelsmann, the biggest :European press and publishing group- are not even listed on the stock exchange. Just the opposite, in other words, of what we see in the UK and the USA, and all the more striking a contrast in the light of Germany's economic power and influence. It is the strength and vigor of German banks that explain this situation. While everyone has heard of the Deutsche Bank, with its commanding position in the German economy, and of others such as the Dresdner Bank or the Commerz Bank, few suspect how very powerful they are. Crucially, they may (unlike American banks) conduct all types of business; no regulations restrict them to a single activity or sector. German banks are 'universal' institutions: they make ordinary loans and have ordinary depositors; they deal in stocks and bonds, and manage company treasuries; they also operate as commercial banks, providing investment advice and carrying out acquisitions and mergers. And finally, they maintain whole networks of economic, financial, business and industrial information for the benefit of client companies. The result is a special relationship between bankers and their customers in which mutual cooperation is constantly reinforced. Above all, German banks have assumed the role of company financiers, which elsewhere has been taken over by the stock markets. Most firms have their 'house bank' to whom matters of finance are entrusted; one can almost imagine the German banker telling his client, the company president: 'You just take care of improving production and increasing sales, and leave the financial problems to us!' In Japan, as mentioned earlier, the symbiosis of industry and banking is even more pronounced, with many industrial groups owning their own banks. It is almost possible to reverse the equation and say that the Japanese banks (and insurance companies) own their own industrial groups. Mutual-Interest networks In Germany, too, the common ground shared by banks and industry goes some way beyond purely financial considerations. As important company shareholders, banks enjoy a privileged status and their views are listened to, on at least two accounts: first, through direct ownership of a portion of the capital; and, secondly, .through voting rights exer- {p. 108} cised on behalf of shareholders who bank with them. Combining these two levers of influence gives German banks a considerable say in boardroom decisions. Thus, Deutsche Bank owns a quarter of the shares •and with it a minority veto - in the automotive giant Daimler Benz (which also makes engines and aircraft parts), as well as in Philipp Holzmann (Germany's premier construction firm) and in Karstadt (the leader in volume retailing). Dresdner Bank and Commerz Bank similarly have a 25 per cent or more stake in a dozen major companies. Conversely, the banks' largest single shareholders tend to be these same industrial groups (although this seldom represents more than a 5 per cent holding in each case). And there are other links, such as the supervisory boards which oversee banking activities: big business usually has its seat on these, too. Again, both conditions apply to Daimler Bern: vis-a.-vis Deutsche Bank. This interpenetration of banking and business interests forms the warp and weft of an industrial-financial fabric which is both stable and highly resistant to outside factors. There are at least three consequences of this marriage of interests for the economy as a whole, and all are beneficial. To begin with, the banks tend to have the long-term interests of business at heart; unlike the brokers of Wall Street, for whom regular quarterly profits are the sole criterion, German banks see their stake in a company as an enduring commitment. They accept that risks must be taken, involving large sums over long periods of time, as the price for backing a diffkult but potentially rewarding venture. Why else would the Swiss banks have invested heavily in the watch-making industry at a time when it appeared to be in terminal decline, and what else explains Metallgesellschaft's ability to increase its holdings in the mining industry when raw materials were synonymous with doom and gloom? A second positive consequence for managers of businesses, and for the economy generally, is that banks make for stable shareholders. Their basic loyalty gives management room to breathe, secure in the knowledge that no sword of Damocles (in the form of a hostile takeover bid) is hanging over their heads. Corporate executives are free to devote themselves to managing the fIrm; their time and energy are not being lavished on interminable, and unproductive, legal wrangles and {p. 109} the devising of anti-takeover strategies. It is one of the reasons German· companies continue to be highly competitive on world markets. The same can be said of Japanese, Swiss or Dutch firms: their managers do not live under the constant threat of a sudden restructuring imposed by outsiders, although not always for the same reasons. Japanese capitalism has a number of quasi-feudal characteristics of its own, which will be explored in a later chapter. In Switzerland, the role of the three great banking groups is rather different from that of the German banks. It is through the restrictive rules governing shareholders' voting rights that the capital stock of Swiss firms is protected from would-be predators. As for the Netherlands, a whole battery of anti-takeover measures ensures that CEOs and executives sleep peacefully. This relatively secure set-up does not mean that managers in the Rhine economies can afford to relax on the job or that their mistakes go unnoticed. There is always a nucleus of principal shareholders (banks and others) who take their supervisory powers and responsibilities seriously, acting as a counterweight to executive prerogatives. They do not shrink from punishing cases of management negligence or dereliction - and thus, indirectly, also help protect smaller investors. The third consequence of banking's pre-eminent role in the economy is that the sheer density of the web of mutual interests cannot be easily penetrated by outside forces. It is fair to say that the German economy is driven by consensus (rather than commanded - nothing horrifies German decision-makers more than the idea of a command economy) involving a relatively small group of people, who all know one another well and travel in the same social circles. Personal relations are a decisive factor in protecting the German economy from the unwanted attentions of foreign investors. When a firm is under threat, its bankers will quite naturally seek a home-grown solution to the problem rather than look for help from abroad. Deutsche Bank, for example, stepped in to rescue the ailing Klockner-Werke group; and when the computer fIrm Nixdorf ran aground, the banks were instrumental in arranging for its takeover by the electronics giant Siemens. If mergers and acquisitions are handled this way, one can imagine the difficulty, for any foreign investor who might be contemplating a hostile raid on German property, of getting past the vigilant front lines of the banks. There are exceptions to every rule, of course. German companies {p. 110} are perhaps no longer as invulnerable to foreign takeover as they once were; of the 3000 West German firms which changed hands in 1989, 459 were acquired by foreign investors spending an estimated total of $3 billion - which is twice as much as the figure for 1988. (French investors accounted for 63 acquisitions, a threefold increase since 1986.) Yet these figures should be treated with caution, for on closer inspection they show that the vast majority of foreign takeovers involved small or medium-sized businesses. In 1989 a single acquisition (that of Colonia by the French insurer La Victoire) accounted for more than half of the total French investment in West Germany. Meanwhile, German investors made twice as many acquisitions in France as vice versa, and there is every reason to think that the imbalance in Germany's favor will continue to grow. Rhine companies thus enjoy financial stability and benefit from a host of safeguards which promote long-term development arid enhance competitiveness. But it is not only in the management of capital that they excel; the very structure of company management also plays an important part. A well-managed consensus In a 1986 report to the EC President entitled 'Federal Germany: Its Ideals, Interests and Inhibitions', W. Hager and M. Noelke wrote that German society showed 'a tendency to avoid contentious issues and questions that might jeopardise the social consensus'.The same statement applies to Japan, and this is no coincidence: both defeated in World War II, they remain, in their new capacity as economic superpowers, keenly aware of their own vulnerability. In both countries, political democracy and economic prosperity are too recent not to be somewhat fragile, making it easier perhaps to enforce a particular social discipline typical of the Rhine model. Turning to the power structure and patterns of organization within companies, it is clear once again that the emphasis in the Rhine model is on mutuality and shared responsibilities. In Germany, all parties are invited to participate in company decision-making: shareholders, employers, executives and trade unions alike cooperate in a variety of ways to achieve a unique form of joint management (the German term, 'Mitbestimmung', is perhaps best translated as 'co-responsibility'). A {p. 111} 1976 law makes it compulsory for all firms of 2000 or more employees to implement this system of shared decision-making at virtually every level. At the top, to begin with, there are two key bodies: the board of directors, responsible for company management as such, and the supervisory board, elected by shareholders in the AGM, whose role is to oversee the activities of the board of directors. Both bodies are at all times required to assist one another in ensuring that company affairs run smoothly. Real checks and balances are thus brought to bear, bear, allowing equal time for each side (owners and investors on the one hand, management on the other) to put its views and be listened to, yet without either one dominating. {p. 112} To this top-level division of powers is then added the distinctive German brand of industrial democracy referred to above as co-responsibility. Workers' participation in management dates back to 1848 and is thus a well-established tradition. It takes the form of committees which may be likened to British works councils (or French comites d'entreprise), but with real and wide-ranging powers. All issues of concern to the workforce are referred to these councils: training, redundancies, schedules, methods of payment, work patterns etc. It is in fact mandatory for ~enior management and works councils to come to an agreement on these matters. But co-responsibility does not end there. Employees have another means of influencing decisions in the form of the company supervisory boards, to which they elect delegates. Since 1976, German firms employing more than 2000 workers must allocate an equal number of seats on these boards to employees as to shareholders. Although the supervisory board will always have as its chairman (who casts the deciding vote in split decisions) a representative of the shareholders, it is nevertheless remarkable that employees should have such a strong voice on one of the most important executive organs. In the German view, dialogue between partners is the indispensable oil that keeps the wheels of business turning and reduces the likelihood of destructive social friction. From the French standpoint, this mode of decision-making and supervision would appear so heavy-handed, and so time-consuming, as to paralyse all initiative. Yet this is manifestly not the case. Not only are German firms as dynamic as their competitors, if not more so, but they benefit from the enhanced sense of belonging which co-responsibility fosters. The company is seen by all its members as a community of interests, a true partnership. American sociologists have christened this the 'stakeholder' model of organization, as opposed to the 'stockholder' model. The latter concentrates exclusively on those who own shares (stock) in the business, while the former treats everyone as a partner with a personal interest (stake) in the company's fortunes. In Japan, a different set of concepts, not always clear to Western eyes, produces the same result: a feeling of belonging to a community, almost a family. For example, under the term amae - virtually untranslatable - are grouped notions of the need for solidarity and protection, {p. 113} and the search for emotional fulfilment which the company must satisfy. Another word, iemoto, describes the leadership which an employer must display and carries familial overtones. According to sociologist Marcel Bolle de Bal, 'Amae and iemoto are mutually cOQlplementary notions: one is distinctly charged with feminine principles of love, feelings, emotions, and the group; the other carries a masculine charge embracing concepts of authority, hierarchy, production, and the individual. Both are inseparably united in the ongoing effort to build a durable organization' (see Revue franr;aise de gestion, February 1988). We in the West are constantly being reminded of the peculiar characteristics ofJapanese corporate life - guaranteed lifetime employment, pay based on seniority, in-ho~se trade unionism, group incentive schemes etc. - which are the concrete manifestations of unique cultural values. Unique they may be, but the result is the same: a collective feeling of belonging. The 'company spirit' is as strong in the Japanese variant of the Rhine model as it is currently weak in the neo-American economies. As the world becomes a more and more uncertain place, immaterial factors like trust and belonging are increasingly important. It becomes essential for all corporate enterprises to ensure that their members play the same game by the same rules, share the same views and fit into the same patterns, so that in the end decisions can be taken by consensus and energies can be mobilised naturally, spontaneously. Stability at home is all the more valuable when uncertainty and instability are abroad; far from stifling change and adaptability, domestic harmony can be turned to competitive advantage. It is worth noting, at this juncture, that just as America is not New York (and New York is not just Wall Street), so the largest American corporations have successfully avoided the trap of short-termism in their management of human resources, ifnot always in their financial management. Companies such as IBM, ATT, General Electric and McDonald's have, as far as possible, steered clear of the 'casino economy' mentality which currently disfigures the neo-American model and which sees employees as so many poker chips in a high-stakes game. They have understood that in order to build and consolidate a multinational endeavor, it is better to gamble on stability, incentive and even co-responsibility. {p. 114} Training: the loyalty factor The German brand of power-sharing is thus highly rewarding to companies; but, equally, it is of immense benefit to their employees. Purely in terms of wages, to begin with: German workers are among the best paid in the world, at an average DM 33 per hour as against DM 25 in the USA and Japan, DM 22 in France (at 1988 rates). Moreover, the gap between the best-paid and the lowest-paid workers is not as wide as in other countries (see B. Sausay, Le Vertige allemand: Orban, 1985), making Germany a far more egalitarian society than America or even France. Surprisingly, wages and salaries account for a smaller percentage of German GDP - 67 per cent in 1988 - than is the case in other leading EC member states (71 per cent in France, 72 per cent in Italy and 73 per cent in the UK). Although partly explained by Germany's huge trade surplus (pre-unification), this little-known statistic is highly revealing: it means that German companies manage to payout the highest wages in Europe (keeping industrial unrest to a minimum) and still have more funds left over for self-financing than their competitors. German workers are not only better paid than their American or French counterparts but, as previously noted, they work fewer hours. What, then, of their overall career prospects? The litmus test for promotion is, in the Rhine model, based on qualifications and seniority. Thus the twin priorities for an employee who wishes to 'get ahead' are dear: company loyalty and further training. Not coincidentally, the pursuit of both is beneficial to all. It is not unusual to find that senior managers of German (and Japanese) firms have spent their entire working lives in the same company, having moved up the ladder of promotion from shop floor to executive suite. Nothing could be further removed from the attitude now prevalent in America, whereby job mobility and frequent career changes are seen as proof of excellence and individual initiative. (France has not been immune to this 'nomadic' bug: as with so many fashionable trends imported from the USA, the concept was widely, and enthusiastically, adopted. Recently, the pendulum seems to be swinging back towards greater career stability - except in the lecture halls of the top business schools, where 'self-affirmation through mobility' is still being taught.) {p. 115} If proof were needed that the German system of power-sharing and co-responsibility could be decisive in moulding a more competitive national economy, the recession years of 1981-82 provided a striking example. Employers and trade unions agreed to keep wa.,ge settlements down, so as not to further penalise companies in distress; in some cases, they even negotiated salary cuts amounting to 3 per cent or 4 per cent of purchasing power. (Even greater sacrifices were conceded by Japanese workers following the oil crisis of 1974-75.) The resulting recovery was extraordinarily vigorous: by 1984 the German economy had begun to grow again, creating new jobs and winning back its share . of world markets. And when, in 1984, a major strike was finally brought to an end, the workforce as a whole mobilised itself in order to make up the losses. Co-responsibility, if skilfully applied, can be a potent weapon in the economic armory; it may even prove to be the decisive edge of one competitor over another. Training and education provide a further illustration of the benefits of the Rhine vision of devolved management. Vocational training and skills upgrading are now widely recognised as supremely important for business and industry, whose real wealth lies, not in capital or plant, but in the knowledge and expertise of the workforce. In the European context, it is again Germany which has taken the lead in this endeavor, and again the approach is based on dose cooperation between management and employees. Long a matter of top national priority, training in the German workplace (and outside it as well) is based on three fundamental principles: 1. It must be widely available. Only 20 per cent of the working population in Germany have no paper qualification, as opposed to 41.7 per cent of the French. The German apprenticeship system is particularly remarkable in that it absorbs half of all school-leavers; the disappointing figure for both France and the UK is 14 per cent. As a result, the proportion of German school-leavers who find themselves unemployed or in a job involving no further training is a mere 7 per cent, while in France it is 19 per cent, and in Britain... 44 per cent! Furthermore, there is strong emphasis on vocational studies (leading to the equivalent of a City and Guilds qualification, for {p. 116} example), involving some 53 per cent of the German workforce, as compared with only 25 per cent in France. 2. Training must not be restricted to the elite. While it may be that the USA boasts an educational system which, at its best, is unrivalled anywhere (see Chapter 2), and even France has a better-educated elite than Germany, the reverse is true of intermediate levels of training. According to the DGB (the largest German trade union), in a representative sample of 100 people and their qualifications, the top 15 in France are educated to a higher standard than the top 15 Germans; but the other 85 are far better trained in Germany. This emphasis on a more egalitarian pattern of education means that Germany has been able to build a dynamic, competitive economy on the bedrock foundation of a generally well-qualified workforce, as ~.report commissioned by the French Department of Industry admitted in 1990. In France, as in the English-speaking world, professional training is like polo: a sport for the elite. In Germany, it is more like angling or jogging, a popular activity that anyone can do. 3. Further education is for the most part financed by employers, with help from government subsidies. A.s for its content, the emphasis is on behaviour and attitude: training is designed to impart values such as accuracy, reliability, even punctuality. As such, it meshes perfectly with the qualities needed for advancement. The pathway to promotion in Germany almost always involves an itinerary of further education and qualification: nine out of ten apprentices finish their training and are awarded a certificate; 15 per cent of those will then go on to do more training. It would seem that, in the final analysis, professionalism is more highly esteemed in Germany than elsewhere. As one report put it, 'In West German companies, one does not usually reach executive level until the age of 40 and only then on the basis of proven performance, not just diplomas. But there are solid links between business and higher education: virtually all the top business leaders take on some teaching duties' (Michel Godet, Futuribles: April 1989). {p. 117} If only because it is a factor in determining company loyalty, training is of the utmost importance for both models of capitalism. It is an issue that can no longer be ignored: it concerns literally every worker and every workplace. To sum up, the 'battle' pits two ;ival systems against one another: • The Anglo-American model of employment, in which a company seeks to maximise its competitiveness by sharpening the competition between individual employees. This entails a relentless drive to recruit the best and brightest, whatever the cost, and then to keep them by paying the 'going rate' as dictated at any given time by market forces. Salaries, like jobs, are fundamentally individualised, and highly negotiable. • The Rhine-Japanese model has an entirely different set of priorities. It rejects the notion that employers have the right to treat staff as so many productive units or raw materials to be bought and sold on the market. The company-as-community has an obligation to ensure a certain level of job security, to earn its members' loyalty, and to provide educational and training opportunities - which do not come cheaply. As a result, it may not be able to pay each worker at his or her current market value; what it can do is lay the ground for a lasting career, and smooth out some of the rough spots along the way. In this model of employment, there is no virtue in promoting cutthroat (and ultimately destructive) in-house competition. ...

 

  By: Vaicru on Martedì 01 Gennaio 2013 16:11

Tranquillo Dott. Gz ci ho pensato io a rimettercela dentro. Adesso vediamo fin dove arriva

 

  By: Paolo_B on Martedì 16 Agosto 2011 13:22

Qualcuno mi sa dire qualcosa sui fondamentali e la situazione aziendale di bonifiche ferraresi ? Il titolo, che è sceso e se ho ben capito coltiva la terra senza neanche avere un sito web, ha però - guardando le statistiche su yahoo - un dividendo schifosissimo. Al punto da avere un PE assurdamente alto (novantadue e rotti !!) nonostante sia crollato. E sta andando giu' anche oggi. Importante sarebbe anche sapere quale sia la partecipazione pubblica di questa azienda, perché se ha una parte pubblica finirà privatizzato e allora non è interessante. grazie

 

  By: pana on Venerdì 08 Luglio 2011 21:02

che poi... 100 $ al barile sono circa 40 centesimi per litro di petrolio.. meno di un litro di latte, c

 

  By: Morphy on Venerdì 08 Luglio 2011 17:18

Oggi Cobraf non posta le immagini...

 

  By: Morphy on Venerdì 08 Luglio 2011 17:15

Ecco un esempio. E' un pò OT rispetto al petrolio ma riguarda la speculazione che, si dice, è troppa o tanta rispetto all'uso più "etico" del derivato. Nel grafico si trovano assieme i due fenomeni che prima indicavo: bassi volumi ed uscita dati. Si può vedere come dalle 14:30 il mercato diventa INTRATTABILE, infatti salta il prezzo anche di 20 tick più volte. Succede in alcuni casi ma in questo caso il mercato è stato 2 ore circa senza volumi. Per questo dicevo che molti modelli automatici tengono conto di alcuni fattori, proprio per non essere dentro in situazioni simili che sono ingestibili. Mentre in mercati efficienti questi momenti sono relativamente rari nei mercati poco liquidi sono la regola. In questo senso la speculazione stabilizza il prezzo. morphy

 

  By: pana on Venerdì 08 Luglio 2011 12:54

ricordavo male, 1,2 milioni di contratti giornalieri solo nel Brent.. 1,2 miliardi di barili a fronte diun consumo fisico di 80 milioni...ma pero questi giochetti funzionano meglio nei mercati "fini" e allora il WTI dovrebbe essere piu alto del Brent..come mai ?

 

  By: Morphy on Venerdì 08 Luglio 2011 12:38

Il prezzo di una commodities è dato dall'incrocio tra domanda ed offerta di prodotto. La speculazione tende a stabilizzare il prezzo. Per questo si sostiene che la speculazione rende i mercati efficienti: efficienti sia nel senso di "poco manovrabili o più difficilmente manovrabili" sia nel senso della tendenza ad eliminare (appunto) le inefficienze (delle quali molti sono a caccia). Infatti i sistemi di trading più solidi tengono necessariamente conto di situazioni specifiche; esempio si disattivano (un pò prima fino ad un pò dopo) alcuni momenti particolari della giornata (uscita di dati o etc...), si disattivano quando i volumi si assottigliano in modo rischioso, tengono conto insomma di tutte quelle situazione nelle quali i mercati perdono la loro efficienza. Infatti molti trader operano in mercati inefficienti e poco liquidi traendone profitto, ma tutte queste strategie o modelli di trading hanno una vita più o meno breve, cioè durano tanto quanto durano le inefficienze. Discorso diverso è creare modelli basati sullo studio della "struttura di mercato". Sono più propenso a pensare che il trading chiamiamolo veloce, possa creare rumore attorno ad una tendenza di prezzo che, in una ragionevole ottica di tempo, è determinata (la tendenza) dall'incrocio tra domanda ed offerta. morphy

 

  By: pana on Venerdì 08 Luglio 2011 11:56

non hai tutti i torti ferpa, i giochetti delle macchinette anzi credo siano positivi perche aumentano la liquidita, fanno quello che facevano i floor traders, tante operazioni che durano 40, 50 secondi ma non credo che muovano i prezzi + di tanto.. ..andando a memoria , l open interest del Brent all ICE e' circa 800.000 contratti, 1000 barili per contratto = 800 milioni di barili...in un anno se ne consumano 30 miliardi di barili.. non vedo tutto sto strapotere della carta

 

  By: Ferpa on Mercoledì 06 Luglio 2011 14:05

Cioè oggi il petrolio è a 110 o 100 o 120 p 80 dollari perchè le "macchinette" e gli altri speculatori che chiudono tutto in giornata lo spingono -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sinceramente non capisco come operazioni chiuse in giornata possano spostare l'indice, perchè a logica ogni eventuale salita creata dal denato in entrata viene poi necessariamente riassorbita quando il denaro a fine giornata esce e viceversa. Dove sbaglio ?

Perchè sale il petrolio ? per le macchinette - GZ  

  By: GZ on Mercoledì 06 Luglio 2011 05:01

Stock: Petrolio

La CFTC che regola i futures ha svolto uno studio del trading del future del ^petrolio#^ e ha concluso che ^il 95% delle transazioni oggi sono speculazioni veloci giornaliere#http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/b29b2b1e-a743-11e0-b6d4-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1RHXCNywt^ o in altre parole solo il 5% implicano un cambiamento della posizione netta degli operatori commerciali (quelli che il petrolio lo usano e lo comprano anche con mesi di anticipo) Per chi non lo sapesse il petrolio venduto nel mondo viene fissato come prezzo però in base al future a NY. Cioè oggi il petrolio è a 110 o 100 o 120 p 80 dollari perchè le "macchinette" e gli altri speculatori che chiudono tutto in giornata lo spingono, il peso degli operatori del settore che il petrolio alla fine lo raffinano o trasportano è irrilevante Quindi se vuoi creare un sistema per il trading del petrolio devi semplicemente analizzare dei dati a 1 minuto con un orizzonte di 2-3 giorni e basta, perchè la gente che muove il petrolio opera su questo orizzonte temporale. A me questo fa piacere perchè sono abituato a questo gioco, però ecco... viene anche da pensare al fatto che poi viene anche usato come benzina, diesel, gasolio o nafta... e il prezzo che tutti pagano poi è deciso da chi gioca questo gioco giornaliero

 

  By: gianlini on Mercoledì 28 Dicembre 2005 13:57

a monte poli, a monte il gestore del portafoglio o il cliente finale. cmq si sa che la borsa è un casinò, la sperequazione fra atteggiamento in vendita e in acquisto riflette la natura dei giocatori quando sale è come quando si vince alla roulette, si resta al tavolo quando scende invece il giocatore si alza e a voce alta si ripromette di non metterci mai più piede!

 

  By: polipolio on Martedì 27 Dicembre 2005 22:11

"quello che non riesco a capire è come, a pochi giorni dalla fine di un anno in cui si è fatto su molti indici un + 25 - + 30 % non prevalgano le vendite di coloro che in questo modo "congelano" l'ottima performance annuale. Come è possibile che la gente non sia tentata a far questo?" Semplice, si rimettono a benchmark come e più degli ETF. Se si sbilanciassero non avrebbero sostanziali vantaggi. Gli hedge invece che potrebbero farlo stanno al vento: non hanno posizioni strutturalmente lunghe da liquidare ...

 

  By: marco on Martedì 27 Dicembre 2005 19:25

Alla fine è la estremizzazione del concetto di diversificazione e fammentazione del rischio che in passato non era possibile applicare perchè mancava il trading on line oppure accessibile solo alle mega strutture come Renaissance. Oggi c'è più spazio alle idee ed al lavoro anche del singolo e nel lungo termine molto meno a strutture come i Fondi delle Banche .

 

  By: GZ on Martedì 27 Dicembre 2005 17:16

beh... cominciano probabilmente domani