In the US Christmas retail sales plummeted.

The holiday shopping season was one of the most dismal in years and even the after-Christmas period, when consumers normally rush to stores to use gift cards and seize on big sales, isn’t expected to be enough to save retailers from a terrible year.

No so in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

Paraphrasing, Austria sales very good, Switzerland busy as ever, and Germany with a slight drop, but very happy.

So a question comes to mind, There is a "depression"?

Good question how come the Germanic’s are not as affected by this depression?

Here are my reasons:

  • Germanic’s are not invested in the stock market. In the AngloSaxon world I can talk stock market till the cows come home. Whereas in the Germanic countries NOBODY cares, and they wish I would stop talking about it. As a result Germanic wealth is not affected by the stock market.
  • There is a lag affect since Germanics are loath to let workers go in a slow down, with the opposite being they are loathe to hire workers when the market speeds up.
  • The Germanic’s had their real estate depression in the 90’s! My wife and I bought a house in Switzerland that sold for 15% under the sale price of 1987. Think about it after 20 years this piece of real estate was still under water.

In a Canadian article the strength of the Swiss economy is illustrated as an example of restructuring your economy.

The Alpine country is in much better shape after surviving its own crisis in the 1990s, when a real estate crash and the people’s close rejection of European Union entry weighed heavily on the economy.

Do I agree? Am I more restrained like the Swiss article? Yes, I am more restrained and the Swiss economy will get hit. Will it be as bad as in America? I doubt it.

But what the article from Canada and Switzerland should illustrate is how 2009 will become the land of perception where the truth lies somewhere between the various perceptions.