Head to the checkout at an Ikea in Stockholm to pay for your new leather corner sofa and with the swipe of a Visa card it is yours. Do not try that in Berlin — that will be 1,699 euros (NT$64,000) up front please.
It is that financial culture — a deep-seated aversion to debt and an emphasis on responsibility — that makes Chancellor Angela Merkel’s hardline approach to solving the European financial crisis so popular in Germany.
The attitude shows up in all walks of life, from the daily trip to the grocery store to putting a roof over your head.
The economy is so reliant on cash for transactions small and big, a way to ensure you do not spend more than you have, that Germany pushed hard for the 500 euro note to replace its popular 1,000 mark bill when it joined the common currency.
Around the world Merkel has been derided as intransigent in her approach to the financial crisis, demanding budget cuts and fiscal austerity from allegedly profligate EU members. But her hardline stand plays well among the people who elected her.
A new poll for Stern magazine shows 64 percent of Germans think the chancellor should stick to her guns, while only 32 percent think she should reconsider her insistence on austerity.
1. a roof over one’s head n. phr.
棲身之所 (qi1 shen1 zhi1 suo3)
例: We don’t have much money, but at least we have a roof over our heads.
2. intransigent adj.
不妥協的 (bu4 tuo3 xie2 de5)
例: Unions claim that the owners continue to maintain an intransigent position.
3. stick to one’s guns v. phr.
堅守立場 (jian1 shou3 li4 chang3)
例: Despite harsh criticism, she’s sticking to her guns on this issue.