Yes, the big economic crisis is hitting Germany, too. The signs are first, the government coalition conducted hasty meetings to come up with a decision to allot 500 billion Euros top save suffering banks; Karl Marx’s famous book ‘Das Kapital’ is selling better than it has for years; employees of the Opel auto plant in the East German town of Eisenach are now working only four days every two weeks; a recent poll of East Germans by a major magazine found that 52 percent had lost all confidence in the free market economy while 43 percent would support a return to a socialist economy.
BY VICTOR GROSSMAN
Posted by Bulatlat
Yes, the big economic crisis is hitting Germany, too. The evidence includes the hasty meetings of top politicians and the decision by the government coalition of Christian Democrats and Social Democrats to save the suffering banks with 500 billion Euros in credit.
Another piece of evidence: Karl Marx’s famous book ‘Das Kapital’ is selling better than it has for years; its main publisher has already sold 1500 copies in 2008; in the past, at the very most, it sold 500 for an entire year. More people seem to be hunting for explanations and even solutions. (But the publisher warned that for laymen the book might be ‘rough going’.)
A third piece of evidence: employees of the Opel auto plant in the East German town of Eisenach are now working only four days every two weeks. Opel belongs to General Motors which, we hear, is not having an easy time either. I still recall the joy of many Eisenach workers nineteen years ago when they got the chance to work for such a famous and giant company – and to buy its cars.
An even more curious bit of evidence: A recent poll of East Germans by a major magazine found that 52 percent had lost all confidence in the free market economy while 43 percent would support a return to a socialist economy. Most of those interviewed for the accompanying article agreed. Looking back to GDR days one 46-year- old worker from East Berlin said, ‘In school we read about the ‘horrors of capitalism’. They really got that right. Karl Marx was on the ball.I had a pretty good life before the Wall fell. No one worried about money because money didn’t really matter.’ A retired blacksmith said: ‘The free market is brutal. The capitalist wants to squeeze out more, more, more.’ And a city clerk added: ‘I don’t think capitalism is the right system for us.The distribution of wealth is unfair. We’re seeing that now. The little people like me are going to have to pay for this financial mess with higher taxes because of greedy bankers.’ Another Easterner recalled being delighted about the fall of the Berlin Wall and capitalism replacing communism. But, he added, ‘It took just a few weeks to realize what the free market economy was all about… It’s rampant materialism and exploitation. Human beings get lost. We didn’t have the material comforts but communism still had a lot going for it.’
Such sentiments show up in the ballot boxes. The young party called The Left (Die Linke), whose origins trace back largely to the former ruling party of East Germany and whose program, despite many alterations, still calls for socialism, won second place in four out of
five East German states, is the strongest party in East Berlin and, currently, leads polls of all East Germany. Since joining with a leftwing party in West Germany it is slowly but steadily spreading there as well.
All this is worrisome, indeed, downright alarming for the four parties which have hitherto ruled the German political roost. But they are not abandoning the fortress of free enterprise capitalism by any means,
crisis or no crisis.