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Labor flexibility: An overview of features and developments with the German model

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Chancellor Helmut Kohl's attemptes to further international competitiveness through labour flexibility.
  3. German flexibility models.
  4. A brief outline of German international relations and the burgeoning move towards deregulation in varying scope.
  5. The effects of labour flexibility at the micro-level of the information ?digital divide?.
  6. Concluding remarks.

Many scholars cite the Digital Age shift as the main precursor involved in the increasing push towards more flexibility within economic models, not only Germany, but on a global level. The reduction in jobs involving manufacturing and the service sector has been one of the primary impetuses towards the removal of social protection methods from within the labor sector. Present day economists turn a kind eye towards the concept of ?flexibility,? citing such successful economies as that of the United States and the U.K as exemplifying the course of action for other free-market nations

[...] The basic features of the flexibility model incorporated a cut on legal restrictions on employers regarding conditions of employment and negotiations with workers unions and representatives. Proponents of labour flexibility models believe that a reduction in legal processes, viewed as actually hamper a more streamline, laissez-faire approach to human resources within the business model. Within German flexibility models, legal restrictions were lifted on such areas as minimum wages, working hours and working conditions. Hiring, dismissals and lay-offs were then streamlined through the process of labour flexibility, lowering the costs of associated with these processes. [...]

[...] The labor markets of the United Kingdom and the Netherlands stand for rather flexible labor markets and both have a high intensity of using the computer at work, whereas in Germany with an assumed inflexible labor market this intensity is rather low. This indicates that greater labor market flexibility means higher intensity of computer use at work in a country and vice versa. Greater social divide (high flexibility) would then mean less digital divide. That points out that there might be two dimensions of the ?divide-cycle? a macro and a micro level dimension with opposed correlations. [...]

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