He lists a number of reasons to think the German position is better, in the sense that it is better that people are polite than that people are rude.

Two are especially well taken

4. We did a deal with East Germany, and the terms of that deal violated a lot of precepts of economic theory.  It even included an overvalued currency for the poorer region and a long period of adjustment.  Yet we insisted up front that all dealings be done on the terms of the more successful region and culture, with very little compromise.  This transition, for all of its short-term flaws, will go down in the history books as a great long-run success.  In part it succeeded because it was all done on the terms of the values of the successful nations of northwestern Europe.  (I am surprised that this angle is not discussed more in the press, given Merkel’s own story.

This doesn’t exactly accord with my sense of the union, but this is precisely the type of argument I would want to here. Here we are saying that we stuck to West Germaness in spite of calls to do what was expedient and actual human beings judge themselves to be better for it.

7. If you are trying to estimate the future economic fate of a country, shouldn’t you put aside a bit gdp drops and the like, and instead look at what do people in that country esteem and which values are transmitted by their system of education?  Do read the Estonia story at the previous link.

Tyler may be making a slightly different point then what I would take away from this, especially after reading the link. However, there is the important question of to what extent imposing German institution will induce value changes that are themselves preferable to the people changed.

Not simply on an economic basis, but on the question of “I am happier that I live in a society which esteems these things”

This tied up with the deep question of how innate values are and whether or not there are meaningful meta-values. That is, can I say “I wish I was the type of person for whom honesty was important” and mean something by that phrase.

Are you merely making a statement about your hyperbolic discount rate or are there more fundamental preferences over preferences at work?

In any case it is all well taken.

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