We are on the way to a capitalism without capital. And this new capitalism operates according to different rules than the traditional variant. It’s not so much a matter of how much a company or an economy of physical goods can produce. More and more the creation of intangible values in the foreground: Knowledge, ideas, Design, organization, concepts, social norms, and the like.

Thus, the British Economists Jonathan Haskel and Stian set it to Westlake in her book “Capitalism without Capital”. Anyone who has read it, ask yourself whether we in Germany are on the wrong Trip.

it Is possible that many of the proud industrial companies and manufacturing SMEs represent rather the past than the future? We are running German a image to the wore? In any case, the German economy is because in the case of intangible economic goods (so-called “intangibles”) in an international comparison, not very good, as the analyses of the two British show.

profiteers of globalization

Yet Germany, with its large industrial sector very well. No other highly developed country has such a wide network of manufacturing companies. Still, the industry accounts for 23 percent of the national value added. The share for more than 20 years.

internationally, the Federal Republic is a rare exception. So fell in France, the USA, the UK or the Netherlands, the contribution of the industry in the same period. Today, he is around ten percentage points below the German level. Also in Sweden, the still had to the turn of the Millennium, as much industry, such as the Federal Republic of Germany, the decline in the manufacturing sector.

Precisely because of its Industry-heavy Germany has benefited enormously from globalization: The German economy still has it all to offer, what emerging countries like China need, and what other rich economies barely produce cars, machinery, chemicals. The question is whether this economic structure in the future. Warning signs there are certainly various.

economic and conflict

the production in the key car is shrunk the mobile sector last (which was also due to the delays because of the new emissions tests WLTP and in the coming months could qualify). The machinery and plant engineering, has grown to 2018 with seven per cent, expected for 2019, with a marked slowdown in the dynamics of (on Wednesday there are new Numbers to the receipt of the order.) In chemistry, the business expectations of the enterprises “super-cooled”, according to the industry Association VCI.

Germany’s industry is mainly Export (new Figures also on Wednesday ). However, the companies see the developments on the foreign markets is always pessimistic, as the Ifo Index of export expectations, the drops for months.

It is a Mix of cyclical factors and structural shifts that make the industry to create. Virtually anywhere in the world, the upswing of the past few years faded away. In Parallel, the international order and the technological environment:

change The Era of free trade is over. A conflict-rich Phase has begun. The UK, the second largest economy in the EU and the fourth most important sales market for German companies, will leave at the end of March the EU internal market. The trade war, U.S. President Donald Trump instigated, targets, although so far mainly to China. But the German industry, which exports in some areas, 80 percent of its production, is highly vulnerable to the Escalation of customs duties and counter-duties. The industrialisation of the threshold countries is so advanced, that the momentum of earlier years is over. China’s car market, for example, is likely to have shrunk in the past year, for the first time in a very long time. Also, the demand for capital goods from clearing. Higher quality products can now be produced easily on-site. Technological developments threaten the Strengths of traditional German and bring new competitors into the game. Thus, the departure from the internal combustion engine of the automotive industry. The digitization, especially as the spread of Artificial intelligence, brings US data giants like Google and Facebook in Central positions. In perspective this should also apply to Alibaba and Tencent from China.

Against this Background, it is possible that Germany will experience in the coming years, similar structural shifts, as in the past, France or Sweden. You can prepare for it?

the German model under the wheels?

Yet Germany is internationally considered to be exemplary. Other States the envy of the Federal Republic of Germany to their great industry share. Donald Trump wants to see more factories in the country. The EU has made, the industry share of 16% to 20% in 2020 to raise. A group of European countries called the “Friends of Industry”, meets regularly to make industry political pressure.

to come, However, when saturation trends and trade conflicts will determine the future, then the export-driven industrial model of Germany threatened under the wheels. The policy can hardly resist. But you can mitigate the consequences and pave ways into the future. So, government money for research and Innovation would be more well spent.

Finally, the up-drawn live at the end of “capitalism without capital”, in particular, of Knowledge and of ideas of factors, one of which you can hardly have enough.

The main economic dates for the upcoming week-Monday

Las Vegas – Brutal digital – Before the start of the technology fair CES (until Friday) present to various groups in the press, including Continental and Bosch.

Beijing – Challenging China Business VW-head Diess will now take over the direct responsibility for the China business. In Beijing, he puts questions from the press.


Frankfurt (Oder) – political newcomer 2019? – the start of the year-exam of the Federal Board of the Green: In the past year, the former points to an Alternative party, especially in the polls. 2019 is in Europe – and state elections show that if you can make your supporters to voters.

Ankara After America’s departure – visiting US national security Advisor Bolton in Turkey. President Trump had declared war on the “Islamic state” won and the withdrawal of the US soldiers announced. Especially the so far, with US-backed Kurds are now under massive pressure – also by Turkey.


Wiesbaden – Germany export – The Federal Statistical office Figures for Export in November. After a weak year, they were increased in October, a surprisingly strong.

Frankfurt – flagship industry under pressure – The machine and plant engineering Association VDMA, new Figures presented to the new orders in November. Still, the industry is sitting on an order pad.

Luxembourg – Europe Jobs – European statistics authority Eurostat published the Figures for the development of the labour market in the EU.

London – Splendid Isolation? – The British house of Commons debated again about the Brexit. After the Prime May the vote date 11. December, at short notice had cancelled the vote on the UK-EU-Brexit Deal now for the third week of January.


Düsseldorf award! – the beginning of the tariff negotiations for the North-West German steel industry. The IG Metall is demanding an increase of 6 percent.


Luxembourg – The paint is released from – Europe’s statistics Agency Eurostat Figures for the gross domestic product of the EU in the third quarter. Shortly before Christmas it became known that Germany’s GDP shrank in the period by 0.2 percent.

Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.