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At MarketWatch, David Marsh in Marsh on Monday asks: Why does Germany feel so good about itself?, as March writes, inter alia:
"The mood in Germany is a mirror image of sentiment in France. President Sarkozy said glumly on French TV earlier this month that France had only 100,000 exporting companies while Germany boasted 400,000."Sarkozy and the French, or the Greeks, or the United Kingdom, or Italy, or Spain, should not wonder about not being able to keep up with the German economy and its export machine.
Germany is a land of engineers and inventors. There is no conscious urge here to dominate Europe economically, as far as we can tell, but while others may be sitting around complaining, the Germans are up at the crack of dawn or before -- voluntarily, mind you -- churning out products and inventions for export markets.
The United Kingdom is an undenied dominant force in financial services, but has been falling behind steadily worldwide as far as its total exports are concerned, as shown by IMF stats in a graphic via Oxford Economics:
The downward trend of development in North America and the UK is clear.
Every nation of course has its particular specialties, especially in the European Union and the Euro zone, where, e.g. France and Italy lead the world in fashion and design, just as an example.
In fact, the European Union and the Euro area in general comprise the world's largest exporter by far as shown by these stats from the April 2011 World Economic Outlook of the IMF, showing that the Euro area accounts for a massive 26.1% of world exports, compared to the USA with only 9.8%, barely more than Germany alone with 8%, and, the cause of Sarkozy's worries, France, tied with the United Kingdom, with only 3.5%:
Obviously, these stats point clearly to the modernity of Europe and its ability to create and manufacture products that are capable of holding their own on world markets, whereas the United States and the United Kingdom have been basking in past glories -- something mirrored in many U.S. political campaigns -- rather than moving forward.
Nevertheless, Europe's great reliance on exports is also a weakness, making it much more sensitive to world markets than nations having smaller export shares.
Hat tip to CaryGEE.