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  1. #31
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lightyear View Post
    In Germany university education is still free in a lot of places plus the state will give you money to cover your living costs when you are a student and you only have to pay back half of it, so money doesn't really make such a difference to where you study, the whole system just isn't geared like this.
    Right, but this tracking of students into completely different school systems at a young age would seem to effect a state-directed class system based on perceived meritocracy.


    Also the whole general attitude is different to the States, it's not about being the best or working the hardest, it's about everyone having what they need and a little bit more and the social security system reflects that. People in general will always have enough to live because the government will support them financially. It's just a very different mindset.
    As far as I can tell, that is a bug in the German system, not a feature.


    So maybe the big "class-difference" is that money doesn't define you as much as it does in the States.
    No, but other things definitely do. I am sure that a young person coming out Gymnasium has class advantages over one coming out of Hauptschule, even if the government is providing much of the basic needs for most everyone. In any society where some people have more and some less, class differences exists.
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  2. #32
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lightyear View Post
    Yes, I guess it all depends on the definitions. The concept of class in England is different to the concept of class in the States. As I said in Germany neither what social class you are born into nor how much money your parents make really make such a big difference so each of these two definitions of class doesn't mean that much to us.
    And you must also realize that the "middle class" acts as a damn huge magnet here. A lucky (or unlucky) few have just managed to reach escape velocity.
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  3. #33
    Senior Member Lightyear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    As far as I can tell, that is a bug in the German system, not a feature.
    That is a very American attitude. (One for example just has to look at the whole opposition to the Health Reform in the US, an opposition which is nonsensical to most Europeans but makes sense from an American point of view.) There are certainly bugs in the German system but just because something is different doesn't necessarily mean it is bad.

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    No, but other things definitely do. I am sure that a young person coming out Gymnasium has class advantages over one coming out of Hauptschule, even if the government is providing much of the basic needs for most everyone. In any society where some people have more and some less, class differences exists.
    We would rather think that you are being educated according to your natural abilities. In general everyone has the chance to get into Gymnasium, it doesn't depend on money or anything like this, you get into Hauptschule or Realschule because you want to learn a trade instead of going to university or because you are quite frankly not deemed intelligent enough to go to university (yes that might sound harsh, but as I said which type of school you attend depends on your natural abilities, it's not that hard to get the necassary grades to get into Gymnasium anyway). Also you always have the chance to get your Abitur (which is the certificate you get from a Gymnasium and which allows you to attend a university) later in life while doing evening classes etc.

    The funny thing is even in Socialist East Germany, where my parents were brought up and which was geared towards classlessness, very talented kids would go to school a few years longer since they were seen as more able to work in higher jobs that needed more skill. It wasn't an issue of class but just about sussing out what skills and talents people have and helping the system by supporting the very talented kids and putting them in positions of more responsibility.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lightyear View Post
    That is a very American attitude. (One for example just has to look at the whole opposition to the Health Reform in the US, an opposition which is nonsensical to most Europeans but makes sense from an American point of view.) There are certainly bugs in the German system but just because something is different doesn't necessarily mean it is bad.
    Right, but working harder/smarter is one of the things that helps society in the long run. Germany has had to open up their labor markets in response to a changing world. The "high-everything" economy of the past is outmoded.


    We would rather think that you are being educated according to your natural abilities. In general everyone has the chance to get into Gymnasium, it doesn't depend on money or anything like this, you get into Hauptschule or Realschule because you want to learn a trade instead of going to university or because you are quite frankly not deemed intelligent enough to go to university (yes that might sound harsh, but as I said which type of school you attend depends on your natural abilities, it's not that hard to get the necassary grades to get into Gymnasium anyway). Also you always have the chance to get your Abitur (which is the certificate you get from a Gymnasium and which allows you to attend a university) later in life while doing evening classes etc.
    That is still a kind of tracking that many Americans would frown upon in public schooling. Of course, our elite private universities are outside the monetary range of many poorer Americans, but they are the most elite universities in the world. Interestingly, the area in which the government has the least influence (private colleges and universities) is the area in which the U.S. excels. No country is even close when it comes to elite colleges and universities.


    The funny thing is even in Socialist East Germany, where my parents were brought up and which was geared towards classlessness, very talented kids would go to school a few years longer since they were seen as more able to work in higher jobs that needed more skill. It wasn't an issue of class but just about sussing out what skills and talents people have and helping the system by supporting the very talented kids and putting them in positions of more responsibility.
    Right, but that IS a class system. You can't tell me that young people fed into a vocational system were of the same "class" as those going to university to be managers or professionals.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  5. #35
    Senior Member Lightyear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post

    That is still a kind of tracking that many Americans would frown upon in public schooling. Of course, our elite private universities are outside the monetary range of many poorer Americans, but they are the most elite universities in the world. Interestingly, the area in which the government has the least influence (private colleges and universities) is the area in which the U.S. excels. No country is even close when it comes to elite colleges and universities.
    That is interesting. Having lived outside of Germany for quite a while now I can see some of the downsides of the German system, how encouraging competition or independence might be a very good thing. But yeah, don't judge the German system from an American point of view, German mentality is very much about order and fitting in (Because Oh my God, what would happen to society if people didn't follow the rules anymore! Germany is very much an ISTJ nation.). I was talking to an English guy and tried to explain to him the German term "Vater Staat" (which means literally translated "Father state/government") because in England this term doesn't exist, the English don't have the same inherited, deeply ingrained concept that the government will support you and look after you as long as you do your bit and follow the rules.

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Right, but that IS a class system. You can't tell me that young people fed into a vocational system were of the same "class" as those going to university to be managers or professionals.
    Yeah I guess it all turns into a class system again simply because people are skilled in different areas and some are just natural leaders (which you will always need, whatever kind of society you want to build) and take up higher places in the workforce. The ideal is that people would use their talents for good and support the whole system instead of using their gifts to put themselves at the top of the heap and keep everyone else down. In reality that is difficult to achieve since human nature is very flawed.

  6. #36
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lightyear View Post
    I was talking to an English guy and tried to explain to him the German term "Vater Staat" (which means literally translated "Father state/government") because in England this term doesn't exist, the English don't have the same inherited, deeply ingrained concept that the government will support you and look after you as long as you do your bit and follow the rules.
    You can thank Bismark for that; many Americans (I think German-speaking Europe is the single largest ethnic source in terms of aggregate American ancestry) are descended from the refugees whose absence made such a civil religion possible.

  7. #37
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    There are two kinds of class systems - hereditary, and meritocratic. Germany's more on the meritocratic side, Britain on the hereditary side, and the US in the middle, leaning ever so slightly more toward the hereditary side. The US is different than Europe in the sense that we don't have a true "aristocracy", we just have a lumpenproletariat (poor whites, minorities), a proletariat (the fabled American "middle class"), a lumpenbourgeoisie/petite-bourgeoisie ("latte liberals" and libertarians) and a bourgeoisie which apes the excesses of the European aristocracy. That's why corporatism doesn't work here in the same way it does in Europe - bourgeois Americans have a sense of entitlement generally associated with aristocrats in Europe without the accompanying sense of noblesse oblige. As such, there's less inclination to engage with proletarians on any terms other than the bourgeoisie's own.

  8. #38
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    Have you ever noticed how in America, upper-class folks, when they're doing those good works, are hardly ever engaged with doing them within the country?
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  9. #39
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    Have you ever noticed how in America, upper-class folks, when they're doing those good works, are hardly ever engaged with doing them within the country?
    That's completely untrue. The biggest charities in the United States are mostly feeding or providing health care to the poor within our own country. Celebrities tend to be spokespeople for international charities in order to highlight awareness in our own country, because the United States can be so insulated, but they are a tiny majority of wealthy philanthropists. Also, Americans are the most generous givers in the world, both in total dollars and in percentage of income.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  10. #40
    Senior Member Gabe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Right, but this tracking of students into completely different school systems at a young age would seem to effect a state-directed class system based on perceived meritocracy.




    As far as I can tell, that is a bug in the German system, not a feature.




    No, but other things definitely do. I am sure that a young person coming out Gymnasium has class advantages over one coming out of Hauptschule, even if the government is providing much of the basic needs for most everyone. In any society where some people have more and some less, class differences exists.

    Ok, I'll use an anecdote from Austria (if Austria has a lot of class, and I'm full of it, anyone who knows feel free to correct me).

    I went to visit a friend in Austria when I was ten. Thier dad was a delievery truck driver (I don't remember if it was mail or food), and thier mom worked at a convenience store. In America, those two job descriptions would equal lower middle class, or possibly just plain poor. But these people in Austria lived in a nice house, the dad owned a frickin BMW convertible, they both got lots of time off thier jobs, and the parents went on vacations to Egypt. So it's sort of hard to lable them in a class in the American sense

    I think that's the difference

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