Stefan Theil

The Club of Competitors

If the reports are on target, Europe will grow faster than America in 2007—for the first time in six years. European Union countries created 2 million new jobs last year, cutting unemployment to its lowest since 1991.

Time To Bust Up The Club

On the face of it, he's a most unlikely free-marketeer. A card-carrying socialist, Thilo Sarrazin is Finance minister for the city of Berlin, whose government includes the successor party of the former East German communists.

Coming In From The Cold

What do German kids learn about the communist dictatorship that oppressed half their country for 44 years, chiefly through the instrument of the notorious Stasi, the ubiquitous secret police whose 265,000 agents and informants spied on citizens and relentlessly crushed all opposition to the regime?If high-school textbooks are any guide --nothing, or next to it.

Better Workers, Please

Everyone knows germany suffers from high unemployment. Those on the dole are desperate to get off, but no jobs are to be had. Right? Well, not so fast. Why has little-known Rücker, an auto and aerospace design firm in Wiesbaden, set up shop in Romania?

Atomic Phobia

Amid a global revival in the nuclear-power industry, there remains one country dead set against it: Germany. A 2002 Nuclear Exit Law, shutting down the country's 27 reactors by 2021, will remain in place, Chancellor Angela Merkel has promised--despite having campaigned against the law during her 2005 election run.

Bundeswehr Blues

Never during its four-year deployment has the German Bundeswehr's contingent in Afghanistan gotten such a rash of coverage. Two weeks ago, the troops were at the center of the "Skulls Affair," after a tabloid published photographs from 2003 of soldiers posing with old skulls they'd found in a clay pit next to a former Soviet outpost.

Companies: Cultural Confusion

When they first entered China, many Western companies made costly mistakes. Not knowing the ropes, they underestimated the complexity of operating in such a huge domestic market, were blissfully unaware of the nuances of Mandarin bureaucracy and flew in Western bosses often accused of arrogance.What goes around comes around--and this time it's the Chinese who are getting burned.

Poor But Sexy

Berlin's coolest new club, Kubik, hides behind an unmarked gate across from a crumbling house full of squatters in a derelict downtown lot on the river Spree.

Beyond Babies

At the fashionable Da Capo Cafe on bustling Kolonaki Square in downtown Athens, Greek professionals in their 30s and early 40s luxuriate over iced cappuccinos.

With Rooms to Grow

As education turns into an increasingly competitive global business, universities are using design more than ever as a way to set themselves apart. They're employing star architects like Americans Frank Gehry and Robert Venturi--or Britain's Norman Foster, whose stunning new library for the campus of Berlin's Free University has drawn so many design buffs that taking pictures inside is no longer allowed.

Phi Beta Capitalism

What do Google, Yahoo and Sun Microsystems have in common? Like hundreds of Silicon Valley firms, they all trace their roots to Stanford University. The wealth, jobs and economic dynamism thus created have not been lost on wanna-be Stanfords around the world.From Sweden to Singapore, universities and governments are outdoing each other to foster student and faculty entrepreneurship.

On the Baltic Beaches

Ludorf Manor, in the former East Germany, was a wreck when Manfred Achtenhagen bought it in 1998. Built in 1698 by Baron von Knuth, it had been plundered and expropriated as "class-enemy property" by the invading Soviet Army in 1945 and then neglected during half a century of communism.