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Made in Germany

Hans-Werner Sinn

Pinstripes off, overalls on! Made in Germany is sending Germany's top economists out into the field to get their hands dirty.

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The experts are finally going to have to put their money where their mouth is.

And you get to vote - Who is Germany`s "Economist of the Year"?

Episode 2: On the road with Hans-Werner Sinn:

Hans-Werner Sinn has been given the chance to practice what he preaches. He opposes the fact that Germany's industry is increasingly moving abroad where production costs are lower. We accompanied him to take a closer look.

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03.01.2006 mig viv_1

On tour with the Porsche Cayenne Hans-Werner Sinn says the Porsche Cayenne symbolizes the way the German economy has changed: "The vehicle is built in Bratislava. And while the suppliers come from Germany, the majority of their production is done abroad. I'd say this is a very good example of the success of a bazaar economy, because it's a really great car and is also competitive internationally. That wouldn't be possible if it weren't for the inexpensive production in Slovakia, in Bratislava."

03.01.2006 mig viv_4

Professor Sinn has seen enough, so he's off to the Manufactum department store where today he's going to try his luck as a salesman: "Great products! Look, I've found a piece of Jena glass. Quality has its price and Hans-Werner Sinn wants to find out whether people are still willing to pay for expensive, German-made products: "The customers who come here know they're buying quality, and that usually means 'Made in Germany', but not always. I think we'll be able to convince people."

03.01.2006 mig viv_2

"What kind of steel is this? It's chrome-molybdenum steel, which is particularly hard. It doesn't get lost so easily. You don't need to sharpen it so often. It'll last a lifetime." Getting people to buy products that are really 'Made in Germany' isn't as simple as our expert thought.

03.01.2006 mig viv_6

After a disappointing stint as a salesman, Hans-Werner Sinn trys his hand at working the cash register: "I'd rather sell ideas than products."

During a quick coffee break the boss tells our "saleman for a day" that he can learn a lot from the customers: "Well, it was an experiment. I think others can do it better, but still it was an experience."

Our expert found out that the label "Made in Germany" isn't enough -- you have to know how to sell a product too. And if the price isn't right then it doesn't matter how good the quality is.

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And here's what Hans-Werner Sinn had to say about his experience:

DW-TV: How was it for you to be out there working with the people?
Hans-Werner Sinn: Being a salesman at Manufactum was somewhat of an experiment. I think other people could do it better. But anyway, it was an experience.

DW-TV: What expectations did you have of the job?
Hans-Werner Sinn: I really didn't know what would happen. I had mixed feelings about the whole thing beforehand.

DW-TV: What did you get out of the experience?
Hans-Werner Sinn: Working as a salesman is pretty nerve-wracking. People don't want you to approach them. They don't want to be bothered. I'm exactly the same - When I'm in a shop I automatically try and avoid salespeople. They irritate me. But this time the shoe was on the other foot. It's not easy!
But I enjoyed having the opportunity to speak to different people. The customers that went to the shop were obviously regulars. They knew the products better than I did! We chatted about which lines we liked and things.

DW-TV: Were there any surprises?
Hans-Werner Sinn: Yes, I found out that not everything is "made in Germany". Even in such a top-of-the-range shop as Manufactum, only some of the products have been manufactured here. Merchandise is imported from all over the world. I guess it's to be expected - top quality products come from all over.

DW-TV: Would you repeat the experience?
Hans-Werner Sinn: I have no regrets. It was good fun. And I'd still have done it even if I'd known how it'd be beforehand.