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.

Inequality For All

That seems to be what most Germans think their country provides them with these days. They are forever moaning and groaning about how the German “social divide” keeps widening.

Germans can be pretty innumerate, you see, believe it or not (when the media hype wants them to be). Nobody ever stops to consider the numbers here, either (just like everywhere else). You have to go to professional-like people on the outside (like at The Economist) for that.

DIW, an economic think-tank in Berlin, says that inequality rose significantly after German reunification; but that it has fallen a bit since 2005 (see chart). Awkwardly for the left, that is when Angela Merkel became chancellor, in coalition first with the SPD, then with the FDP.

Numbers

This is the opposite of what the public believes. According to a study by Allensbach, a polling institute, 69% of Germans think wealth and income are unfairly distributed, and almost two-thirds believe inequality has risen in the past few years. That is good for the left.

Germany remains a huge social and economic success, something that it often seems unGerman to savour.

Egalitarian German Society Does It Better

Or wasn’t that the impression you always got? It’s certainly the one you’re supposed to get.

Take wealth distribution, for instance: The gap between the rich and poor continues to grow in Germany. A report commissioned by the German government on poverty and wealth indicates that private net assets have risen sharply and are up to €1.4 trillion ($1.83 trillion), with the upper 10 percent of German households possesing more than half of the country’s wealth.

Crisis? What crisis? Boy I tell you, it’s a damned good thing that Germans are always there ready to pass on their valuable wealth distribution advice to us (as U.S.). I mean, it’s not like they’re ever going to need it or anything.

So asozial ist Deutschland.

Too many rich people here

Germans everywhere are concerned about a very disturbing revelation: There are over 100 German billionaires living in or around the country as we speak, so-to-speak.

These amerikanische Verhältnisse (American conditions) are unfair and unexceptable and incommensurate with the German consitution, or ought to be, because no German should have that much capital at his or her disposal because, well, this is an outrage for some reason.

Of course that these same upset Germans made the first three on the list (the ALDI and Lidl folks) as disgustingly wealthy as they are by always wanting cheapness über alles, that’s another story. Actually, no. It isn’t.

But maybe another story is the fact that Germans live in a so-called Neidgesellschaft (a society infected with envy) and are generally filled with Missgunst (resentment) and don’t want to keep up with the Joneses as much as they want to keep the Joneses down. Or anders gesagt (in other words); there can’t be any losers in Germany, but there sure the hell better not be any winners either.

“Insgesamt erhöhte sich die Zahl der Milliardäre und Milliardärsfamilien in Deutschland im Vergleich zum Vorjahr leicht von 99 auf 103.”

Too ostentatious

Charity schmarity. German super-rich types aren’t fooled a minute by any of this “giving pledge” nonsense put forward by Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Co.

Any billionaire can agree to give away half of his/her money to charity. But that’s beside the point, the German super-rich say. It’s all about the principle of the matter, you see (and who should know more about principles than the filthy rich, right?).

German upper crusties think that giving so-called donations shouldn’t replace duties that would be better carried out by the German state. That said state takes in comparatively little from said crusties is another matter altogether, but still. We’re talking about principles here.

“For most people that is too ostentations.”

Only the cheapest survive

On the top of Germany’s most wealthy list, I mean.

Aldi lonely people...

Cheapness is what Germany wants, especially these days. So that’s why the founders of the Aldi discount grocery store chain are once again on top of Manager Magazin’s annual list of the country’s most wealthy people.

The Porsche family is out, of course. They’re still not cheap enough. And this reflects a real crisis or something. The number of German individuals or families with at least one billion euros in capital fell from 122 to 99 since last year.

In the name of all things just and decent, won’t anybody out there do anything to help these poor folks out? Buy a Porsche already or something.

99 German billionaires on the wall, 99 German billionaires…