New Developments and Beyond
Edited by Jon C. Messenger and Naj Ghosheh
Chapter 2: Work sharing as an alternative to layoffs: Lessons from the German experience during the crisis
In the second half of 2008, the global economy was hit by a massive shock originating from a deep financial crisis. Like many other countries around the globe, Germany searched for remedies and interventions, especially to ease the strain on the labour market. Unlike many other countries, however, Germany was reasonably considered a success. This chapter reviews the roots and causes of this positive result, and it mainly sheds light on Kurzarbeit, the German work-sharing scheme, which was a central policy in saving jobs. Current economic developments are still somewhat uncertain, difficult to predict and even harder to direct. There are even indications of a global debt crisis, bringing with it the danger of a renewed and perhaps long-lasting worldwide recession. For the time being it is difficult to judge whether the crisis came to an end in 2009, whether it will remain ongoing or whether we are facing a new crisis. Or maybe the financial crisis has temporarily submerged, and is just transforming into an economic one again. In any case, the situation remains uncertain.
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