Willingly making life worse than it needs to be


A front page of “Die Zeit” from 2006


Sitting in Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport yesterday while waiting for our connecting flight to Rome, I picked up a copy of the latest edition of the respected German weekly newspaper Die Zeit.


I was struck by a couple of the articles that I read.


In one, a piece by Berrit Gräber entitled “Auch eine wilde Ehe braucht Regeln,” the author interviewed a number of legal and financial experts concerning the very grave risks run by those couples who, in a still-growing trend within Germany, live together without marriage.  It urges them to undertake contractual relationships in order to secure their financial assets, protect any children who may happen to show up, and so forth.  I found myself wondering, Why not simply get married?  It’s a fairly well-tested institution, and would minimize not only risks but the bother of trying to reinvent the wheel in order to avoid them.


The second article was written by Dorothea Siems. Entitled “Mindestlöhne vergrössern die Armut in Europa” [Minimum wages worsen poverty in Europe], it makes a strong case — based on distinct data for several European countries — for the way in which, while minimum wage increases definitely help some, they also put large numbers of unskilled wage earners out of work.  The main source for the article is a report from a research institute in Luxembourg.  These are the very same arguments typically made by conservative opponents of the minimum wage in the United States, though we don’t typically use European data as evidence.


Posted from Rome, Italy



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