Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘unemployment rate

United officially and separate socially?

It can be hard for visitors to Berlin to imagine where the Berlin Wall once separated Germany’s communist East from the U.S.-friendly West.

Today, commuters run to catch a metro where trains stood for nearly 30 years. Curried sausages are sold and illegal (but popular) parties are celebrated in empty warehouses just feet from where East Germans were shot by their own countrymen as they tried to cross the border to the west.

Next week, Germany will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and at first glance, it seems as if the country is more united than some nations that were never split.

posted this October 31, 2014

But numbers and images illustrating differences in lifestyles and problems between East and West Germans tell a different story.

While 75% of Germans who live in the east said they considered their country’s reunification a success in a recent survey only half of western Germans agreed.

And that’s not the only distinction indicating that the separation of the past prevails today.

Before we go in-depth with the Washington Post visualizations and maps shown above, some of them inspired by German news site ZEIT ONLINE, let’s take a look at the bigger picture:

Berlin, photographed from a Space Station

The photo above was taken by astronaut André Kuipers from the International Space Station in 2012. It shows one division of Berlin: While the yellow lights are in east Berlin, the green parts mark the western part.

Daniela Augenstein, a spokeswoman for Berlin’s department of urban development, explained that each side historically used different streetlights. The lights themselves reflect another difference: The streetlamps used in West Germany were much more environmentally friendly, reflecting the emergence of the western German environmental civil movement in the 1970s and 1980s.

At that time East Germany was still heavily polluting, and heavily reliant on coal. Today, eastern Germany is the heart of the country’s renewable energy transformation. But viewed from space, the historic differences still define Berlin’s nightly appearance.

Data reveal further cleavages between east and west.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, formerly communist eastern German companies and factories suddenly had to compete with their much more efficient western counterparts. Capitalism came too fast.

Many eastern German companies went bankrupt and some regions never recovered from the shock. Until today, income levels are much lower in the east than in the west.

Germany’s unemployment rate made headlines when it hit a two-decade low this summer. But that rate is not evenly spread: former West German states still have far better employment levels than their eastern neighbors.

That’s in part because more young people have moved from rural eastern areas to the west, which has also decreased the amount of job-seeking eastern Germans.

This has led to a paradoxical situation: Many young people in rural eastern Germany say they are forced to move to the west or to larger eastern cities because of a lack of competitive wages and job opportunities.

Consequently, many eastern German companies cannot find enough young trainees for entry-level positions and are now recruiting in Poland or the Czech Republic.

Demographic differences are not only the result of joblessness and income gaps. Most foreigners who live in Germany have chosen to settle in the western parts, and their arrival has decreased average ages.

Several factors explain the significantly smaller foreign population in the east. Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, western Germany invited many Turks to live in the country as guest workers. Many of them never left.

Furthermore, the climate is less friendly to foreigners in the east, according to a study by Leipzig University researchers who interviewed 16,000 Germans over 10 years.

These findings coincide with a larger presence of right-wing neo-Nazi sympathizers. The right-wing National Democratic Party, whose members have often been accused of glorifying Adolf Hitler, enjoys particular support in the east, though they’ve been relatively unsuccessful at the polls.

Why did right-wing politicians prosper in the once-communist east?

The explanation is complex, but scientists often attribute it to a mixture of anti-leftist worldviews after the wall fell and the economic downturn in the east.

Many people were disillusioned by Western capitalism, but few wanted a return to communism. Right-wing politicians were quick to fill the void. The great majority of eastern Germans, of course, are welcoming.

The comparisons above might make eastern Germany seem like a bleak place to live — but in some ways, it’s ahead of the west.

Take trash production. Why? Here is one possible explanation: Having dealt with constant food shortages until 1989, eastern Germans learned to economize and buy only those items they deemed necessary. This attitude seems to prevail today.

However, east-west differences in regard to trash production would be much less pronounced if we only looked at domestic waste, and did not include other sources of trash such as gardens.

Communist East Germany also emphasized child care. While eastern German mothers were usually employed, western German women often stayed home to raise their children. So the East German government invested heavily in child-care facilities, and that legacy remains today.

This map points to another legacy of eastern Germany’s communist past. In then-East Germany, agricultural fields were much larger, because they were not owned by individuals, but by a pool of farmers. After reunification, the fields’ sizes rarely changed.

In the east, it was also much more common, and politically supported, to get a flu shot. Even today, eastern Germans are more committed to this practice, as the German news website ZEIT ONLINE recently noted in a comparison between eastern and western habits and beliefs that is definitely worth a read.

(According to the site, eastern Germans also own significantly fewer legal small arms than citizens living in west Germany.)

Finally, if you travel Europe and you see two German groups at a campground, you might easily be able to distinguish them.

Eastern Germans usually sleep in tents, while western Germans prefer to travel with trailers. We did not find a scientific explanation, but one might posit that it’s rooted in western Germans’ longer experience traveling the world.

Furthermore, many young eastern Germans couldn’t even afford a car under communism. Trying to buy a trailer would have been more expensive and nearly impossible for most eastern Germans. While those in the west were able to explore beyond their borders, eastern Germans remained practically imprisoned by their government for nearly 30 years — until 25 years ago.

Despite the prevailing differences, many consider the German reunification a successful role model.

The lower middle class (LMC) in a capitalist system is recognized to be the most virulent and potent economic force that can pressure political institutions into drastic reforms.  The LMC has tasted the fruits of consumerism economy and is not going back to the previous conditions of humiliation, indignities, and starvation by all means possible.

LMC represents 70% of the internal buying power of consumerism goods and services and is targeted by credit card companies to accumulating debt on purchases at 20% interest rate.  LMC families constitute 50% of the population and over 60% of the work force.  LMC is mostly educated at the high school level and enjoys health care benefits and wants to acquire its first home.  The rank and file of the military machine is composed of mostly LMC citizens.  Basically, the military is a political institution meant to quickly absorb unemployed LMC in period of economic downturn and to releasing them to the workforce pool in the rare economic upturns.

Let me clarify how I comprehend class structure in capitalist system in order to drive my point through.  The lowest class  of the downtrodden, the illiterate immigrants, and the daily workers at kept at the 20% level of the population and used for the daily maintenance and upkeep of the system at the minimum wage: The lowest class is considered as the “Black slaves” (regardless of color)  by the elite oligarchic class of the disgustingly richest 1% hoarding 30% of the total wealth of the nation.

The middle class (divided among the lower, middle, and upper) middle classes represent 70%  of the population;  the lower middle class (LMC)  constitutes 70% of the middle class sections.  The richest class of 10% hoards 50% of the wealth of the nation and view the LMC as the “White slaves”.  When a government claims that unemployment has reached say 10% it means that the lowest middle class is suffering most of the unemployment rate of 6%; given that the daily workers are not factored in the statistics.

For example, if we say that at least 70% of the “working people” are from the middle class (divided among the lower, middle, and upper) middle classes and that 70% of the middle class are represented in the lower middle class section then, at least 4.9% of the unemployed are from the lower middle class (for example: 70%*70%*10%) or more accurately 6% of the active workforce.  The other 4% of the unemployed are constituted from all the other classes (excepting the 10% of the richest class:  Its amassed wealth works for them instead of actually producing wealth)

When a government starts drastic cut in the budget (except the military: It goes without saying) it affects primarily the lower middle class, since the 20% of downtrodden are already suffering at the bare minimum, are needed for the daily maintenance of the society, and cannot contribute to taxes.  Actually, the class of the downtrodden feels helpless and waits for the middle class to begins marching revolts and to join it and scare the richest class and their political, security forces, legal, and law institutions for a short while.  When unemployment jumps to 20%  it affects 12% of the lower middle class then, serious problems await the power-to-be in capitalist systems:  This number of 10% of unemployed lower middle class is a critical turning point for serious upheaval and revolts.

Are you interested how capitalism identifies you?  For example, in which economic class you are categorized for being watched closely? For example, the potential level of danger for destabilizing an exploiting system during economic downturn and how you are getting organized to adjust it to a fairer political representative system?  First, check the statistics of the medium yearly income of all the population in the nation.  The medium statistics means that half the population is below the medium and the other half earn above the medium.  The medium yearly income is smack  within the lower middle class category.   The range of the LMC is from 20% below medium and 20% above the medium.

The primary purpose of most of the new Federal security agencies (over 295 created since 2002) is not for tracking terrorist activities as publicly announced but to keeping track of internal activities of the lower middle class citizens; they are in fact backing up the FBI for keeping files on the virulent elements and organizational ability.   The Federal agencies want to research the trends and mood of this dangerous class during economic downturn and political upheaval.

In economic downturn and high unemployed citizens the Federal government or Centralized government has two options, both of them directly related to safeguarding the interest and privileges of elite 10% richest class.  Either the elite class is cornered to ceding privileges and extending fairer representation proportional to class number; or venturing into some sort of wars (which is the norm) in order to absorb the overflow of unemployed in the military and creating an illusion of  economic health and recovery by supplying the military campaigns.

Depending on the seriousness of unemployed LMC, wars can be expansion wars, preemptive wars, or what is called national wars such as “The nation has declared war” on Spain, Japan, Germany…  More on these facts in the next article since the advent of industrial capitalist age that consolidated its power on the economic and social structures.

It is to the advantage of most of the citizens in capitalist society that effective unemployment increases to beyond 20%  in order for serious reforms to be considered and enacted in forms of laws and financial institutions control, restrictions, and constraints. (to be continued)




May 2023

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