What do self-reliance, gardening, business, and Germany have in common? I lived in Germany for many months; I stayed 3 to six months in each city I lived in. It was common for my friend and I would to walk every where and use public transportation. Some of the smaller cities or villages I saw every building and knocked on every door.
I was fascinated by how most of them lived in apartments and traveled to the edge of the city to plant a garden. I was even invited to a garden once to talk with a friend while she worked. I soon found out that she actually rents the plot of land, and itâ€™s not because she needs the food because she was planting tulips and roses.
She did have peas and carrots already planted. Vegetables by principle are planted first, the flowers help to improve the scenery. I was amazed at how many others were there also, relaxing in their small garden houses. Some of them were even equipped with satellite TV.
Apparently it is like this all over Germany the â€œGartenplatzâ€ is regarded in high esteem. To work a Garden is part of the German work ethic, or what one might call self sufficiency or self-reliance. Germans do this with their free time on the weekends it is what many Americans would consider to be weird.
What do these three things: Germany, self-reliance, & gardening have to do with business. Well Like I mentioned the Germans have a great work ethic generally speaking. A good general statistical example would be their economy, 14th in population Germany has the 3rd most productive economy in the world. Just behind the US and Japan, with the US sporting the 3rd largest population and Japan the 10th.
Due to the size of Germany, roughly the size of the State of Utah, Germany has limited natural resources. Forcing them to import all the resources they do not have. The most impressive thing is this, they produce more than they consume. Exporting more than they import, it gets better.
German people, incredibly self reliant individually are just as self reliant as a whole. According to the World Trade Organization Germany is now the worldâ€™s largest exporter. In 2005 they exported $1.016 trillion, beating China and the United States. Wait they beat China? Yes, they did!
Face it when it comes to quality, you donâ€™t think China. Germany is among the world’s largest and most technologically advanced producers of iron, steel, cement, chemicals, machinery, motor vehicles, machine tools and electronics, as well as a world leader in the shipping business. Major car manufacturers like BMW, DaimlerChrysler (Mercedes), Opel (owned by GM), Porsche and Volkswagen AG (including Audi, and more non-German brands) are German.
Germany is also home to huge multinational corporations like BASF, Bosch, E.ON, Deutsche Telekom (with its subsidiary T-Mobile) and Siemens AG, which consistently rank among the world’s largest firms.
My point is this, if you want to get something cheap, buy something made in China. If you want something made with quality and ingenuity buy something made in Germany. Businesses might also do well to look at outsourcing to Germany for manufacturing and service expansion.
Eastern Germans are still in shambles; Germany has a high unemployment rate because of the toll the communist rule took on these people. Eastern Germany is a waiting to bloom like a rose, and I think American businesses should take advantage of this to its fullest.
All of my statistics for this post have come from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germany#Economy.