Jobs for the Boys as Schroeder goes down

Opinion polls send alarm lights flashing at Gerhard Schroeder s camp in the run-in to September s elections. Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder based his election campaign four years ago on jobs creation, but the unemployment rate has risen to 4.3 million and the opposition leader, the Conservative (CDU) Edmund Stoiber, finds that his anti-immigrant discourse is winning votes. Schroeder s pledge to create low-paid jobs has backfired, with the official unemployment statistics showing 3.96%, translated into 4,300,000 people without jobs by Bernhard Jagoda, President of the Federal Labour Office. Stoiber s anti-immigrant stance in a Germany which has traditionally had a delicate relationship with outsiders or Gast Arbeiter (Guest workers), finds common ground with the people, according to the opinion polls, which place him ahead of Chancellor Schroeder in a general election. His motto is summed up in his statement, With 4.3 million unemployed, we can t have more foreign workers coming to Germany . Once the powerhouse of the EU economies, what went wrong to make Germany the sick man of Europe? What made Germany a giant was the joint humiliation suffered in two World Wars, giving the people a drive to recreate the Germany which was a reference of economic success.

The humiliation delivered on Germany at the Treaty of Versailles (1919) at the end of the First World War created the conditions for a Hitler to arise. He did, and how. The Fascist philosophy and modus operandi of the Nazi regime led to the natural rejection and defeat by the rest of the world, which was not biased by Prussian militarism. Hitler, an Austrian, was a curious anachronism of the Medieval Holy Roman Empire. The energy and verve which characterised the post-war Germany dissipated into the doldrums of the market economy which inflicted itself on all capitalist countries, as a natural consequence of the capitalist cycle. The natural evolution of capitalism is Communism, but this requires an enlightened status, backed up by an educational excellence which not all populations have.

Germany was a post-war success but its development was propelled by hard work and strict labour laws, which served the Germans of yesteryear but not those of today. German companies are hampered by a highly regulated labour market which makes it extremely difficult to dismiss a worker. For this reason, they are not hired in the first place. These laws, bureaucracy and high labour costs have also frightened off any foreign investors who would have been interested in entering the German labour market. The net result is that it is not attractive for either German or non-German employers to operate in Germany. Given that Chancellor Schroeder based his last election campaign four years ago on job creation schemes, and four years hence the situation is worse, he does have a lot to answer for. His only respite is the fact that Stoiber, the Premier of Bavaria and Leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), ally of the CDU, has little experience of national politics. Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru

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