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Cole Nidray
Monday, October 16th, 2006, 08:14 PM
Germany Concerned About New "Under-Class" (http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,2205647,00.html)


http://www.dw-world.de/image/0,,2205565_1,00.jpg (http://www.dw-world.de/popups/popup_lupe/0,,2205647,00.html)

Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Many Germans feel they've been left behind (http://www.dw-world.de/popups/popup_lupe/0,,2205647,00.html)

German politicians have become embroiled in a debate over poverty. At the same time, a new study has identified a large group of Germans who fear social and political isolation and feel abandoned by the state.


Commissioned by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) -- which is closely linked to the Social Democratic Party -- the study entitled "Society in the Process of Reform" was carried out by the TNS Infratest research institute.

Researchers queried around 3,000 eligible voters early this year about their attitudes toward social justice, ambition and performance, solidarity and individual responsibility and grouped them into nine different types.

The result of the as-yet unpublished report was that 8 percent of Germans -- or 6.5 million -- saw themselves as having been completely ostracized, or "left behind," in society, according to reports of the study's contents.

One in five people in eastern Germany and one in 20 people in western Germany were said to belong to the growing group of those "left-behind," who had little education or income, limited occupational mobility and minimal ambitions to advance.


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Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: A homeless person in Munich begs for money (http://www.dw-world.de/popups/popup_lupe/0,,2205647_ind_1,00.html)
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The foundation said the study reflected a society divided into three tiers. People in the upper third of society had clear opportunities and perspectives in Germany. The middle third felt insecure, but, depending on the options open to them, had either a "willing" or "skeptical" attitude toward changes in society.

The group in the "bottom third" of society felt "increasingly uncomfortable with…the risk of social and political isolation," and had the sense that the state had abandoned them, according to the FES.

The study added fire to a debate about the so-called "under-class" sparked by Kurt Beck, head of the Social Democratic Party (SPD).

"Germany has an increasing problem. Some call it an 'underclass problem,'" he said in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung last week. "There are far too many people in Germany who have lost hope that they will advance in society," he said.

Parents in poor families used to live by the notion that their "children should have it better," but that attitude was increasingly disappearing, he said.

Under-class or no

Some politicians responded to the study by blaming increasing poverty and a sense of desperation among Germans due to the failures of labor market reforms introduced by the previous government under SPD Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.


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Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Needy people waiting for food handouts in Munich (http://www.dw-world.de/popups/popup_lupe/0,,2205647_ind_2,00.html)

Party-colleague Stefan Hilsberg told the Tagesspiegel paper that the policies "deluded people into thinking that anybody could get a job as long as they are both challenged and supported."

As the term "under-class" gained currency over the course of the debate, the FES stressed on Monday the study had in no way discussed it.

Volker Kauder a leading Christian Democrat, singled out the term for scorn.

"The term stigmatizes people and prevents the possibility of being able to reach out to them," he said. "I prefer talking about 'people with social and integration problems,'" Kauder told the Süddeutsche Zeitung paper. "We have to address the problems that these people are confronted with."

Some of those problems are likely to be unemployment, a lack of education and poor child-care opportunities.

Education crucial

The issue of a split in society was something that concerned everyone, said Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday. "But we will not accept it," she stressed.

The chancellor said the central issue was to make sure that children had the same opportunities from the start. A child's early school career was decisive for its future education and thus for its chances on the labor market, she added.


http://www.dw-world.de/image/0,,1506091_1,00.jpg (http://www.dw-world.de/popups/popup_lupe/0,,2205647_ind_3,00.html)

Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Children are the growing class of poor in Germany (http://www.dw-world.de/popups/popup_lupe/0,,2205647_ind_3,00.html)

"A large proportion of young people have never had a chance to learn that there are rules in life you have to abide by," Yvonne Pekuhn, who works at a job placement center in Berlin, told DW-RADIO.

Educational policies in Germany have gone wrong, she said, and many young people "have never learned to have aims and objectives worth striving for."

Mazorquero
Wednesday, October 18th, 2006, 07:17 PM
Why does this happen? Is that the same Germany that gave a lesson of sovereignity to the world by emerging victoriously after the Versailles Treaty? Is that the Germany that after being turned down in WWII recovered thanks to the effort and love of his Volk? Is that the same Germany that in 1989 showed it was alive and as strong as always?
I have said it a couple of times, this happens when the education and propaganda tell you that only foreign things are correct and that your original traditions are worthless.
Rise, Deutschland! Where's all that Proud that saved you everytime you were in troubles, and made you once the archetype of a perfect nation? This is the same mistake that my country made and we are paying the consecuences, learn from us Deutschland as we learned from you in the past century, Heil Deutschland!