J.D. Hall
United States
Oklahoma
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Sad and somewhat shocking. I've considered Germany as my second home all my life, since my father was stationed there during the early 1960s (Berlin wall going up, Cuban missile crisis -- good times) and it is the first place I recall with any clarity. Wonderful place, wonderful people.

http://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2017/09/world/germany-foo...

Wonder how much the costs of re-unification impacted this? Anyway, hope they work it out.
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fightcitymayor
United States
Pennsylvania
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"This is a really weird game, and you’ll find that most people will not want to play this."
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But she has little hope that politicians can improve her situation: “No one can help you. You have to help yourself, you have to save yourself.”
Quote:
And she won’t be voting in the election. She doesn’t trust politicians anymore, she says, “or anyone in fact.”
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“The politicians do far too little. They’re too busy cosying up to the big companies. Poverty has no lobby group,”

Sounds like some folks who aren't pleased with European style big government. So they're telling me... that just because you live in a welfare state.... that government remains the problem... and is still too cozy with big business... and those in need are still ignored.... no matter how many dollars are confiscated in taxes?!? I am SHOCKED at this news! SHOCKED I say!

Because Americans tell me we just need to throw more $$$ at a problem and it goes away. I mean, all the money we spend on education means we have the best & brightest in the... oh wait, we don't. Well, all of that $$$ spent on healthcare surely means we don't have people choosing between preventative care and basic needs... oh wait, we do. Well I'm sure with all of the infrastructure spending we do that means the roads are pristine & traffic flows freely & we can all... oh wait, we have traffic and potholes and a host of decrepit bridges & roads that probably needed replaced 50 years ago but the gov't launders the money through a host of crooked politicians who either steal it or squander it.

Hmm... I'm starting to have grave doubts about this whole government thing.
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James D. Williams
United States
Lexington
Kentucky
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"The Red Brigades are marching, marching...!"
Save us, Kim Jong Un!
 
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Vic Lineal
Spain
Barcelona
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Nope. Nope nope nope nope.
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remorseless1 wrote:
Wonder how much the costs of re-unification impacted this? Anyway, hope they work it out.


It's complicated. Yes, reunification was costly - in part because it was done in a costly way because it was a pretty savage neoliberal raid on the Eastern European economy. So it isn't so much about the cost of reunification as it's about the distribution of its impact.

Western German capital made much, much money in Eastern Germany with reunification. Like, really, lots. East German citizens had their social insurances and State support networks slashed pretty much overnight, but the wages largely remained at similar levels; wages that had been sustaining them while the State took charge of many other needs had now to cover for other basic costs of living. Real state and industrial material was ravaged by Western businesses, bought at ridiculous prices and then resold for big profits abroad or simply dismantled and closed down, laundering tainted Western money in the process. The shock wave of poverty, lower living standards and unemployment that was unleashed on Eastern Germany after the Wall fell was awful, and it had a second effect - until then, standards of living in West Germany had been carefully protected, with Ordoliberal doctrine encouraging joint decision-making and generous benefits as a politically palatable alternative to actual unions (the "showcase of the West" effect).

But when the showcase wasn't needed, and when a huge reserve army of labour from East Germany entered the scene, the standards of living in West Germany were a drawback; there weren't any political considerations to make them palatable to West German capital any more. The 90's were a period of rapid loss of protections and rights in Germany, with the joint force of Conservatives and Social Democrats approving sweep and deep labour and business reforms that maintained profit levels at the cost of personal poverty and uncertainty for millions of workers. This is where the European doctrine of austerity was born and took shape.

Ever since, Germany has been a complex economy, where some of the most technical, best paid workers in Europe coexist with (and depend on the existence of) a huge mass of precarious workers (foreigners, working class pensioners, former East Germany citizens, etc.) in a permanent state of personal almost-crisis, moving constantly between employment, unemployment and under-employment. Germany has been leading Europe in working poor and retired poor people - until the 2008 crisis (and the European austerity response) reproduced these problems in most of Europe.
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Oliver Dienz
United States
Shelburne
Vermont
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This:

viclineal wrote:
The 90's were a period of rapid loss of protections and rights in Germany, with the joint force of Conservatives and Social Democrats approving sweep and deep labour and business reforms that maintained profit levels at the cost of personal poverty and uncertainty for millions of workers.

The 90's saw high unemployment as the workers from the defunct businesses in the East could not easily be integrated in the Western labor market as that was still struggling with relatively high unemployment stemming from the 80's. This laid the ground for the Agenda 2010 with its sweeping reductions in worker protection laws, unemployment and welfare benefits, plus its fostering of minimum wage and part-time jobs etc. To add insult to injury: Those reforms were put into place by a social-democratic + green party majority government.

As in most other places: Erosion of workers' rights and rising inequality are due to less government and more "free" market not vice versa.
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Sam I am
United States
Portage
Michigan
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What did I tell you...
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fightcitymayor wrote:
Quote:
But she has little hope that politicians can improve her situation: “No one can help you. You have to help yourself, you have to save yourself.”
Quote:
And she won’t be voting in the election. She doesn’t trust politicians anymore, she says, “or anyone in fact.”
Quote:
“The politicians do far too little. They’re too busy cosying up to the big companies. Poverty has no lobby group,”

Sounds like some folks who aren't pleased with European style big government. So they're telling me... that just because you live in a welfare state.... that government remains the problem... and is still too cozy with big business... and those in need are still ignored.... no matter how many dollars are confiscated in taxes?!? I am SHOCKED at this news! SHOCKED I say!

Because Americans tell me we just need to throw more $$$ at a problem and it goes away. I mean, all the money we spend on education means we have the best & brightest in the... oh wait, we don't. Well, all of that $$$ spent on healthcare surely means we don't have people choosing between preventative care and basic needs... oh wait, we do. Well I'm sure with all of the infrastructure spending we do that means the roads are pristine & traffic flows freely & we can all... oh wait, we have traffic and potholes and a host of decrepit bridges & roads that probably needed replaced 50 years ago but the gov't launders the money through a host of crooked politicians who either steal it or squander it.

Hmm... I'm starting to have grave doubts about this whole government thing.


Yep if you want it done right have the private sector do it.
 
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