You have never had it so good. Harold Macmillan’s famous observation is usually misremembered. The then UK prime minister’s boast about a booming British economy during the closing years of the 1950s was qualified: “Let us be frank about it. Most of our people have never had it so good.” Then came the oft-forgotten caveat: “What is beginning to worry some of us is ‘Is it too good to be true?’ Or perhaps I should say, ‘Is it too good to last?’” Too good to last. Success suffused with doubt. Macmillan would have recognised Germany’s present temper. The other day I heard an elder statesman remark that the country had never been so prosperous. And yet. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition was unloved, the public mood was fractious and politics was splintering. Germans struggled to recognise their good fortune. Business leaders betray a similar ambivalence. Germany has a whopping current account surplus. It makes high-quality products commanding premium prices. In cities such as Stuttgar...

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