German Of The Day: Eigentum

That means property. But property doesn’t mean much in Germany anymore. At least not in Berlin under its current “red-red-green” city government.

Property

Another word you might be interested in here is Enteignung.

German officials facing protests and endless complaints about threats to affordable housing in the nation’s capital have decided the solution may be a five-year ban on rent increases and fines as high as $550,000 for violators.

Officials in Berlin, a city of about 3.7 million residents long known for its affordable housing options, announced this week that they plan to temporarily freeze the rents charged on publicly and privately owned apartments in a bid to halt runaway gentrification.

“It will scare away investors who will find alternative markets with less regulation. It’s a socialist and populist attack on the free market and it’s not going to lead to a single new apartment being built.”

 

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German Of The Day: Enteignung

That means confiscation or dispossession. You know, like confiscating private property?

Greens

And the German Greens hold this to be denkbar – another cool German word meaning conceivable or possible.

After all, the world must be fair and if rising property rents in cities like Berlin – caused by city governments like Berlin (Social Democrats and Greens for decades) – are creating hardship for the 85 percent (!) of Berliners who don’t own property – the government does everything it can to discourage owning property here – then the government that created this mess will simply confiscate the private property of those currently developing new housing and… And what? Give it to the poor? Been there, done that. We all know how that turns out. And who foots the bill. Robin Hoodlums never learn. They have no intention of learning.

Thousands took to the streets of Berlin on Saturday in protest against rising property rents and called for properties of large-scale landlords with more than 3,000 houses to be taken over by the government.

“Das Grundgesetz sieht Enteignungen zum Allgemeinwohl ausdrücklich vor.”

Berlin Is The Place

The place where you don’t want thriving companies offering gainful employment and increasing property value in your neighborhood.

Gentrification

I get it. It’s about gentrification again. But the problem here isn’t the evil capitalist rich swooping in to speculate and force the poor out of their neighborhoods. The problem is a classic case of “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” The German government in general and the Berlin government in particular have been “helping” German renters for decades in ways that have discouraged Germans from owning property of their own (the vast majority of Berliners pay rent). Then when reality finally strikes (supply and demand = rising rents) the same politicians can’t help these renters anymore and leave them high and dry with rents they can no longer afford to pay. Ain’t nothing new.

Kreuzberg has long been one of the most affordable areas of Berlin, making it a haven for students, immigrants, artists and activists, a hub of culture, night life and left-wing politics. But in a pattern repeated in similar neighborhoods in many of the world’s wealthiest cities, affluent people have moved in, too, in recent years, bringing with them the social tensions of gentrification.

“They push out the people who were here before.”

Keep Berlin Poor!

And sexy, of course.

It all used to be so easy. But now property prices are rising like mad. This is not sexy, I am told. Unless, of course, you own property here, which practically nobody does. And that brings us back to poor…

Poor

About 85% of Berlin’s 3.4 million residents live in rentals and homeownership remains remarkably low — a condition fostered by the city’s turbulent history, Cold War division and five decades of communist rule in East Berlin. Almost by nature, Berliners tend to have a low regard for property owners…

Though still modest compared with other cities in Europe, rents in Berlin have risen 75% in the last five years. A recent survey by the property consultant group Knight Frank showed that property prices in Berlin rose 21% in 2017, the steepest rate in its survey of 150 cities around the world and far above the average increase of 4.5%. The biggest increases that year in the United States were Seattle, where rent rose 12.7%, and San Francisco, where they were up 9.3%.

“Once you move into an apartment in Germany, you are basically in the lease for life unless you cancel it yourself.”

Germans Suddenly Poor

The Bundesbank (Germany’s central bank) has just published a study showing that the average German household is a full three times less wealthy than its crisis-hit Spanish or Italian counterparts.

Poor

Whereas the median Spanish household has net wealth of €178,000, the equivalent in Germany is €51,000.

“These German households are downright poor,” a spokesman for the Bundesbank said after presenting the study. “Relatively speaking, I mean. In fact they are so poor that they have to eat cereal with a fork just to save milk.”

“Poor? These households are so poor they only have two TV channels: On and off.”

“We’re talking poor here, folks. These households are so poor that the ducks throw bread at them.”

Germany’s relatively low level of home ownership is one of the principal reasons suggested for the wealth disparity.

Yuppie Scum Need Not Apply

What would you do if hords of uninvited strangers suddenly started pouring into your city for temporary visits in order to pump boatloads of money into your local economy? What would you do if affluent and upwardly mobile young expats moved into your neighborhood(s) and started opening businesses, buying homes and increasing the property values there?

Gentrification here? Nein, danke!

Why you’d freak the hell out and demand that they get the freak out of Dodge by sundown, wouldn’t you? Oh, you wouldn’t? Then you’re not German. Worse still: You don’t live in Berlin and you’re not a Berliner, either.

Viva the Hipster Antifa Neukölln or something.

“The anti-foreigner thing started as a bit of a joke but now it is much more serious. This is critical, it is sneaking into mainstream thinking – it’s almost being perceived as normal to dislike tourists.”