Taking Twitter into Account

Twitter users and American economists sound off against the German government. Now, there are even calls for a boycott. There are two reasons for this.

In the afternoon around 3 p.m., the mood on Twitter changes. When America wakes up, Greece is the subject at hand. Americans then call Europe’s rescue policies to account regarding reform requirements and the rejection of debt forgiveness. Each tweet is a push that forms the head of an offensive when taken all together. The further the situation in Greece comes to a head, the wider the phalanx becomes. On Tuesday morning, the call to boycott German products is trending on Twitter.

When it comes to public debate on Twitter, the government has absolutely no reason for its performance at the summit, except perhaps an irrational belief in German rule.

The ammunition comes from American economists. Paul Krugman complains about Germany in his blog, Joseph Stiglitz echoes his views, and some throw their hats in the ring with them both. “The eurozone is a crazy house. Incoherent, incompetent, and cruel,” tweeted development economist Jeffrey Sachs, hero of the left, on Sunday during negotiations.

Opposition Silenced – Why?

Opposition hardly exists. America’s economists and their advice rise above all other doubts. For example, Stiglitz applauded the economic policies of Venezuela, which is now struggling with hyperinflation.

The comparison between Venezuela and Greece may have its weaknesses, namely in that it isn’t at all discussed. The defenders of Europe’s policy have gradually been silenced, and on Monday evening during the summit, hardly anyone was left. There remains a large gap in understanding and perhaps a big miscalculation. Psychologists have known for decades that when objection disappears, groupthink rules and is often incorrect.

Where Does It Come From? Two Reasons for Unanimity

The often touted “filter bubble” in social networks is not among them, since it has long been established that users of social networks are normally exposed to rather contradictory opinions as blog readers. So, why?

Language Problems and the Spiral of Silence

Everything starts with the fact that proponents of necessary reforms rarely write in English. Only a few arguments by a handful of German economists and journalists get noticed by Americans as guest contributors to English-German media, at which point a well-known phenomenon takes effect: the “spiral of silence.” It goes like this: Anyone who feels his opinion is in the minority becomes more silent. More and more people fall silent, and it gives the impression that they all agree. It has been proven that this phenomenon applies to the Internet as well as offline.

But this isn’t confined to America. Intelligent and cosmopolitan Europeans understand the posts, blogs and tweets in English. Many of them fall prey to the spiral of silence as well. So it comes to pass that Americans do not understand Europeans. And Europeans don’t understand themselves.

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