Dear Reader, There is a word in German that, for the life of me, I can’t find any real equivalent for in English. Planungssicherheit is easy enough to translate - it means “planning certainty.” But it doesn’t seem to actually be used in English beyond in some industry magazines.
Three questions / observations:
1. From my understanding, Germany has historically always had an industrial policy that at least informally favoured keeping heavy industry happy, correct? Since the iron and steel industry was allowed to mostly exit Germany in the 70s, is the goal to keep what domenstic industry remains? (I see one view of this, working in metals research)
2. The security and independence of the German energy supply was conveniently ignored until last year, when it no longer could be. If there is an overarching political-strategic goal (independence from Russian energy supply AND decarbonization) then inevitably "Planungsicherheit" must follow, inasmuch as major capital investments MUST be rapidly made, since there are only limited technological paths and options which can rapidly scale to the appropriate level (e.g. electrification).
-In your opinion, has the offical political-strategic goal not been clearly set? The French had a specific goal after the 1973 electricity crisis, and quickly removed foreign import dependence from their electerical supply. Does this need to be explicitly stated and passed into law in the Bundestag?
-Since any societal change of this magnitude (e.g. widespread electrification, movement away from fossil gas as an energy source) does require substantial investment, how much should the government direct the specific technological paths versus simply setting the targets?
3. The substantial and lasting economic damage to and decline of former industrial regions in the Ruhrgebiet was avoided through extremely smart government policy and planning. Unfortunately those effors were not nearly as successful in the former GDR Bundeslands, with the resulting inevitable political consequences, that those areas now support populists who offer few definitive economic plans but many policies directing anger at being left behind at other targets. Part of solving that problem must be rapidly bringing new large employers to those regions, preferably industrial ones. The new factories in Berlin-Brandenberg etc. are hopefully going to (partially) help some of these problems. For that to happen, there have to be incentives for companies to locate there.
-What kind of incentives are appropriate for this?
-How do we avoid swapping one dependence (Russian gas) for another (Chinese renewable energy technology)?
Jemand nannte es jüngst, Sozialismus mit menschlichem Antlitz.