June 13, 2021


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By Wagenknecht and Brecht |  Telepolis

By Wagenknecht and Brecht | Telepolis

A New Prosperity Symbol: Trekking Restaurant and VW Beetle on Lake Maggiore, Summer 1961. picture: Nationaalarchief.nl, CC0 1.0.0 update

How career progression in Germany has been a million times the average life expectancy over decades and why we should remember it

Seldom has any other book been as controversial, and even bitter, on the left as the recently published work Righteous By Sahra Wagenknecht, indicated by the bracketed page numbers.

Since the book wasn’t on the market until mid-April 2021, reviews referenced only previously published excerpts. Comprehensive reviews that place the new work in the context of the author’s previous positions are still pending. Such a review cannot be made here either. On the other hand, some central data must be processed for Vängknecht.

This relates to the importance of the daily experience that large parts of the population created as the welfare state developed in the decades following the founding of the Federal Republic. During this time it was possible to achieve social security for the wage-earning population, which still exists today in its central elements, although the welfare state system has since been weakened to a large extent by various attacks by capital and its political parties since neoliberalism. . Turning around at the beginning of the eighties.

Community loss

Under this heading Wagenknecht describes the time, “the experience of a million times progress,” which provided “security through normality”: “In the decades following World War II, there was a long phase of economic recovery in all Western countries. At that time, it was Most of the people are optimistic about their future and the future of their children. ” (14) “In all Western countries, the hard work of industrial workers in the mid-twentieth century was held in high esteem, and their values ​​and important elements of their worldview shaped public debate. Perhaps this was more true for France and Great Britain than Germany.

Later on, educational paths were also opened to working-class children: “Initially, the experience of progress was not connected with an opportunity for working-class children to attend grammar school and study. For a large number of them, this opportunity did not exist until the end of the 1960s. In the beginning, it was. The opportunity to achieve a standard of living with a strong professional education and several years of professional experience that allowed access to most of the comforts of the consumer society at the time, from owning a car to a TV and washing machine to going on vacation, was even more impressive. ” (65)

For many, a completely new sense of social security has emerged: “The normal career made life manageable, the normal work relationship ensured a gradual increase in wages and in many cases also a predictable profession, the normal family with the woman who was not working at least when she was first raising children Once also for the simple workers and employees, it was affordable. Everyone lived with the expectation that their children would one day be better off than themselves. ” (65)

Sahra Wagenknecht already described these better times in her 2016 book “Wealth Without Greed”: “Not capitalism, but welfare states with their social security and well-equipped public educational institutions have ensured that social progress does not have a dream. A dream.”

What are the preconditions for this development? “The background to this was that the state had imposed rules and restrictions on the pursuit of profit, that it had actively interfered with income distribution with high corporate income taxes and high tax rates, ensuring security through a network of social benefits and many vital benefits. The fields of education and housing were separated from Through electricity and water, to hospitals and telecommunications services, the logic of profit and trade is largely about the logic of profit and trade and its display in the general direction. ” (64)

But today “this security” is a thing of the past: “Today fears for the future dominate, and many fear that their children will one day be worse off than they are.” (14) The poor now face more difficult times again: “Our supposedly open society intersects with walls. Social walls that make access to education, progress and prosperity more difficult for children of poor families compared to the second half of the last century”. (16)

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