Cutting room

Cutting room - Germany sheds its factory overalls - but union protocols persist; trains that are the pride of Hull; loaded issue for cash machine operators ... Evan Davis at large.

by EVAN DAVIS, economics editor of the BBC

Germany sheds its factory overalls - but union protocols persist; trains that are the pride of Hull; loaded issue for cash machine operators ... Evan Davis at large.

It has been a month of touring industrial landscapes. Or, more accurately, post-industrial landscapes. First, to Germany. Have you ever been to Oberhausen, a mining-and-metal town in the Ruhr district? I wouldn't recommend it as a tourist destination, but I went there nevertheless to uncover the mystery of why Germany's economy is doing so badly at the moment.

One theory is that its failure to move out of old industries explains its recent sluggish growth. About 30% of the German economy is industrial, compared to about 25% in Britain.

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