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Polexit? Almost half of the Poles believe that Poland would be better off outside of the EU


Tacitus 2 | 1,130
22 Jan 2020 #481
Dr. Erhard, to be an "austerity" leader?

Difficult to say. Erhard thought that debts were potentially dangerous, but he never had to deal with a debt crisis, and during his time as economy minister and later chancellor, governing spending and the welfare state increased significantly.

Honecker surely was.

What makes you think that? Honecker made never any attempt to reform the GDR's budget even when it was only saved from bankrupcy by loans from West Germany (via Strauß). Nor did he ever implement any structural reforms. The man's entire economic policies can be summed up as "If I ignore a problem, it will go away."

@CJH

talks about these Ukrainian refugees

Because they are not treated as refugees by the Polish government. Only a few hundred (if that) are recognized as refugees, the others are treated as economic migrants without any privileges that come with being a refugee. Poland can consider itself lucky to have them in order to adress its' labour shortage, but they are not anything to brag about when we talk about the acceptance of refugees by different government.
Bratwurst Boy 6 | 10,583
22 Jan 2020 #482
Honecker made never any attempt to reform the GDR's budget

Well...Ossis had a good comparison in Hungary, the socialist brother country...every holiday in Budapest was a little bit like in the West TV. And then you had to come back to the dreary, grey, stinking, detoriating East-Berlin with nearly empty shops and only a few kinds of cars on the streets...if that wasn't enforced austerity than what is?

Not at least that for starting reforms you have to admit that things are just not working...but the news paper told every day only about victories on the proletarian front!

"If I ignore a problem, it will go away."

He and all his standing ovations clapper in the Zentralkommittee...even today I could vomit hearing that kind of rythmic steady applause...

PS: Of course that austerity was only so bad for these poor chaps without any D-Mark or contacts in the West who could help out with packages...or Party fat cats with connections...
Tacitus 2 | 1,130
22 Jan 2020 #483
if that wasn't enforced austerity than what is?

Enforced austerity would have happened if he had followed the advice of his comission and cut living standards by 30%. Because that was calculated to be necessary for the GDR to financially survive the 1990s. The GDR lived under Honecker from its' bone marrow, and what you rightfully experienced as dreary was actually more lavish than what the GDR could afford.
Bratwurst Boy 6 | 10,583
22 Jan 2020 #484
and cut living standards by 30%.

Cut from what???

and what you rightfully experienced as dreary was actually more lavish than what the GDR could afford.

But still Esken blathers again from socialism as goal...*epic eye roll*

*takes helmet and wanders grumbling off*
Tacitus 2 | 1,130
22 Jan 2020 #485
Cut from what???

From how they used to be in the 80s. This probably would have meant longer working hours (with the same wage), more focus on export to the West and thus less products for the citizens, less holidays, lower pensions and so on.
Spike31 3 | 1,610
22 Jan 2020 #486
more focus on export to the West

Yes, the West was just waiting in line to pay premium prices for a superb East German industrial products like Trabant, the only car in the world which does not corrode :-).

Realistically speaking they would only buy a certain food products and mineral resources from East Germany. As far as I know the only thing in abundance in DDR was a brown coal not really needed by the West. And I doubt there was any food surplus which could be exported to the West?
Tacitus 2 | 1,130
22 Jan 2020 #487
Yes, the West was just waiting in line to pay premium

The GDR still had some companies that produced highly sought after products, like Foron home appliances. Mind you those were heavily subsidiarized, but still.

Of course, the GDR economy was imho doomed even then, because the cuts and reforms that might have prevented the GDR from collapse would never have been accepted by the population.
delphiandomine 85 | 18,266
22 Jan 2020 #488
Of course, the GDR economy was imho doomed even then, because

Yup, totally agreed. It's very clear from primary sources that the GDR population would never have accepted the dramatic cuts needed just to survive in 90-91, and the East German military leadership had no intention of enforcing them. Even if the SED holds on, they're finished by January as the debt crisis forces them to let people leave just to get some more foreign currency into the country. The Soviet refusal to buy goods is the end for the SED, no matter what.

It's probable in an alternate timeline that West Germany pays the interest owed in 1990 to avoid East German bankruptcy, but it's very clear that economic unification / West German control of the economy happens by the end of 1990 regardless.

While I'm adamant that swift political unification was a mistake, there was no alternative to economic / social union in 1990 regardless of the government. East Germans were really only going to stay if they could keep their living standards, and a fully independent East Germany couldn't offer that.
Lyzko 25 | 7,139
22 Jan 2020 #489
Yet, Delph, can you or anybody name us a country such as the former GDR that successfully made that transition from "planned" to "market" economy?

In complete honesty, I can't think of one! Slovenia comes close, yet still hasn't quite attained the level of capitalist neighbors.
Hungary under "Goulash" Communism? Maybe, yet still a tough sell from my point of view.
delphiandomine 85 | 18,266
22 Jan 2020 #490
Slovenia has for sure, although the Yugoslav system wasn't that planned compared to the Soviet one.

Estonia too, I think. They still have some issues, but they're the most successful of them all.

I think the critical thing is that the DDR had the West German problem. If you're a DDR doctor and you have the right to live and work in West Gernany for a huge amount of cash by your standards, why stay?

That's why the Economic and Social Union was needed, but politically, the mistake was in getting rid of East Gernany as a whole. Had it joined the Federal Republic as a kind of autonomous Republic with the seat in East Berlin, perhaps some of the difficulties would have been avoided, such as the stuffing of East German companies with Western managers.
Tacitus 2 | 1,130
23 Jan 2020 #492
That's why the Economic and Social Union was needed, but politically, the mistake was in getting rid of East Gernany as a whole.

I disagree. Maybe in hindsight it would have avoided some of the problems we are now aware off, but the people back then had other concerns and acted accordingly. The biggest problem in maintaining the GDR in some form was that it completely lacked legitimacy. People had overwhelmingly voted in a free election for parties that promised quick reunification, which would only have been possible by the dissolution of the GDR, since otherwise a very complicated a long constitutional process would have been required. Furthermore, there was little love in the continued existence within the structures of the GDR among its' citizen, as e.g. the change of the borders between e.g. Brandenburg and Saxony prove.

there was no alternative to economic / social union in 1990 regardless of the government.

As we discover with the Euro, you can't have those two without a political union. Keep in mind that the political union made it much easier for the Kohl government to grant those unprecedented structural funds.

East German companies with Western managers.

That happened in large because those Western managers had a) better experience in dealing with market economies and b) more importantly often had the money for crucial investments. Of course those who pay the money want control on how it is spent. Personally I think the quick reunification also allowed us to purge SED and Stasi-loyalist from important positions which had overall a positive development on East German society. Though of course like the Allies after 1945, there were many cases in which people received hardly an consequences, it was still the right thing to do.
Lyzko 25 | 7,139
23 Jan 2020 #493
See my private message. You're on the money, Tacitus.
Spike31 3 | 1,610
23 Jan 2020 #494
grant those unprecedented structural funds.

The East Germany was washed in money by the West. Ossies walked straight away from a DDR - a socialist central planning state - into to a modern welfare state. The present economic stagnation in East Germany is a direct result of that past decision.

Do you know what I consider to be the biggest success of a post-communist Poland? The fact that in the first few years after the collapse of PRL around 2 mil. of small private businesses were created by the Poles. Starting from nothing and building it up. It reinforced entrepreneurship and created a sense of pride among Poles coming from Poland's economic development.
Tacitus 2 | 1,130
23 Jan 2020 #495
The present economic stagnation in East Germany is a direct result of that past decision.

Well, stagnation is relative. There are some highly succesful areas e.g. around Leipzig, Dresden and Berlin. The biggest problem present and future for East Germany is its' catastrophic demographic situation that slows its' economic growth. It already had a very low birthrate, then it lost a lot of people to the West, and now it has great difficulties attracting foreigners that could help fill the void. That includes highly skilled ones, which sad, because particulary Dresden was getting quite a scientific reputation. But as the director of the Max-Planck-Institute once said: "If you are free to choose many different cities, you are not going to the one city in which 10.000 are going on a weekly march against foreigners."

But yes, Poland did rather well overall. Let us hope it continues like thia.
Torq 32 | 2,999
23 Jan 2020 #496
you are not going to the one city in which 10.000 are going on a weekly march against foreigners."

Good point. I think that the general perception of East Germany, as a nazi-infested region, is what stops it from developing. I can't imagine skilled workers from Czechia, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary or even Ukraine willingly emigrating to a city where their families might be endangered.

In the long run, the perception of Hungary and Poland as xenophobic countries (regardless of whether it's true or not) might also hamper their development.
mafketis 23 | 8,360
23 Jan 2020 #497
has great difficulties attracting foreigners that could help fill the void

This talk of human beings as widgets to be moved around to improve statistics is chilling and repulsive.

Humans are complex beings who grow accustomed to clime and culture and moving to a dramatically different place is going to instill trauma, even if moving is what a person wants.

This is why Merkel's blunder was such a failure. Real refugees are, by definition, damaged people who need therapy and rehabilitation, they're not potential workers who just need integration classes.

Stop talking about human beings as if they were potatoes to be shipped where the market needs them!
Bratwurst Boy 6 | 10,583
23 Jan 2020 #498
Humans are complex beings who grow accustomed to clime and culture and moving to a dramatically different place is going to instill trauma...

I see it differently....wandering comes natural to people, especially the young ones. Not wandering means staying with mom and dad forever...no curiousity for the the world and it's possibilities at all. These people exist, but most move at least once!
delphiandomine 85 | 18,266
23 Jan 2020 #499
The biggest problem in maintaining the GDR in some form was that it completely lacked legitimacy.

Yes, absolutely. It was clear that West Germany had no intention of ever fully legitimising it, but I think there's a perception nowadays that the 1990 election there was an overwhelming vote for unification when it wasn't really the case. Only the CDU/DSU wanted it, while the others wanted various degrees of caution. From my books, I seem to remember that the SPD in particular were very unhappy about the speed of change.

I think I said this before, but I think the major mistake was in assuming that East Germany could be integrated into the Federal Republic as the individual states, rather than as a East German autonomous republic. I understand why Kohl did things this way, but 30 years on, it seems clear that East Germany did have a separate sense of identity. If it could be done again, I think the most logical thing to do would have been for East Germany to join the Federal Republic as an autonomous republic - for instance, you could have had some aspects of political union while leaving it to the Volkskammer to decide what to do next with large swathes of the East Germany economy. I'd also argue that the specific nature of East German administration (no states, just counties) meant a difficult transition into the Federal Republic.

Of course, the currency reform was also poorly thought out. It seems that the purpose was simply to make it easier to unify, rather than thinking about what was best for the East Germany economy. One argument is that Kohl knew that by killing the Ostmark, it would be nearly impossible to stop political unification. In hindsight, maybe the best solution would have been to evaluate the East German economy properly before pegging the Ostmark to the DM.

That happened in large because those Western managers had a) better experience in dealing with market economies and b) more importantly often had the money

It's true, but I think it was a fundamental mistake to parachute many Western managers into positions where they had no idea about local conditions. The activities of the Treuhand were never really clear, and the "privatise at all costs" mentality was simply alien to many East Germans.

Personally I think the quick reunification also allowed us to purge SED and Stasi-loyalist from important positions

That might well have been a factor. There's no doubt that the SED/Stasi loyalists were deeply rooted in the state, and Western management at least ensured that these companies were free from them. I know there were some serious questions over the actual strength of the Stasi in early 1990, and I seem to remember being told somewhere (the Stasi museum/old headquarters in Berlin, maybe?) that there was a serious fear that the MfS was maintaining an unofficial parallel structure with the intention of seizing power. They were so deeply rooted in East German society that the only way to really purge them was to have 'foreign' management who wouldn't be intimidated by them. So - from that point of view, yes, absolutely, and perhaps it was worth all the mistakes just to get rid of them.

Reminds me of what the guide told me there - that the biggest mistake people made was to assume that the Stasi were brutes. He told me that they'd found evidence of Stasi men being planted in companies for years, often without the knowledge of the SED management. Apparently they were very proficient at the long game, and they had no problem with someone working for 10-20 years in one place if he proved to be effective in the eyes of the MfS. A state within a state, indeed.
Bratwurst Boy 6 | 10,583
23 Jan 2020 #500
In hindsight, maybe the best solution would have been to evaluate the East German economy properly before pegging the Ostmark to the DM.

Maybe....but people sometimes don't work like that...as in rational...pragmatic...chosing what's best....

There was a saying in East-Germany back then:

"Wenn die D-Mark nicht zu uns kommt gehen wir zu ihr!" ("If the D-Mark doesn't come to us we go to her!")

Kohl never really had a chance to do things otherwise...also with hindsight.
Ziemowit 13 | 4,051
23 Jan 2020 #501
he GDR still had some companies that produced highly sought after products, like Foron home appliances

I cannot remember Foron in Poland. ORWO films for amateur cameras were of superb quality indeed.

can you or anybody name us a country such as the former GDR that successfully made that transition from "planned" to "market" economy?

Can you tell us the total amount of money that West Germany pumped into the ailing East German economy throughout the 1990s?

Did anyone see that German comedy film "Good Bye Lenin!" whose subject was the Eastern German political and economic transformation in the period shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall? By coincedence to this discussion, I watched it yesterday evening on TVP Kultura channel and I would say the film has impressed me a great deal. Just within half-a-year of the DDR's collapse, the main caracter of the film is unable to buy Spreewälder Gurken in the shops of Berlin and every East German person eating Gurken he encounters tells him theirs come from Holland.

as e.g. the change of the borders between e.g. Brandenburg and Saxony prove.

What exactly does that mean?
cms neuf - | 1,573
23 Jan 2020 #502
You can certainly get Spreewalder Gurken in Kaufland now in Germany.

Plenty of East Germany breweries have bounced back now too.

love East German watches and have a few in my collection - just need to save a few decades for an A Lange & Sohne
Tacitus 2 | 1,130
23 Jan 2020 #503
moving to a dramatically different place is going to instill trauma,

Maybe to people who have been forced to people who left their home due to violence and poverty. But this is not the group I was refering to. If you are a highly skilled engineer, or a famous scientist, you might consider it very different if only because you can choose freely where to go. Sadly, it also looks like East Germany has also squandered the chance to benefit from the refugees. There are many stories of dying villages in the West, who applied for refugees to be distributed to them, and evidence suggest that their integration goes overall pretty good (because there are more jobs available to them and they get to interact more with the local population). In the end, it is simple math. Shrinking villages will see a decrease in tax revenue, thus public spending decreases and calculations are made according to which fewer people need fewer infrastructure, which causes more people to leave. A vicious cycle. Be it as it may, I only brought that up to explain why the former GDR is still lagging behind economically.

the total amount of money

The usual cited figure is 2tn € until now.

In hindsight, maybe the best solution would have been to evaluate

As BB already said, the people forced the hand. They threatened to leave for the West, and who was going to stop them? The wall was already gone.

Additionally, it is also important to remember that we have a lot more information than the people back then. There was little expertise on how the economic harmonization between East and West could be achieved, and those that now exist were yet to be written. Furthermore everybody in and outside of Germany was mislead by the SED propaganda over the true state of their economy (or as the SED liked to boost, the "9th largest" of the world). Kohl and Co. initially believed that only a stimulus and some investments were needed to bring the East German economy up to date, not knowing that many companies operated under working conditions that were untenable by Western standards. This is significant, because if e.g. the Kohl government had allowed exceptions for those companies who e.g. did not meet Western safety standards -moral issues aside - it still would have left Western managers open to lawsuits and personal legal consequences if something happened to the workers because of it, because basic safety is not something the government can tell the courts to ignore. This also goes a long way to explain why rebuilding East Germany became so expensive. The government had to often sell companies for next to no money to private investors, because the money needed to make the company both competetive and safe often exceeded the worth of the company itself.
mafketis 23 | 8,360
23 Jan 2020 #504
I see it differently....

You're talking about backpackers

Next week, move to Mongolia for two years and then we'll talk when you get back.

If you are a highly skilled engineer, or a famous scientist, y....you can choose freely where to go

For a couple of years I casually followed expat sites in places like the Netherlands and Scandinavia... believe me, there was plenty of trauma (from international professional types).

East Germany has also squandered the chance to benefit from the refugees

But maybe the next wave will be better. The Aegean route is heating up again and there a lot of product on Lesvos... opening bids?
Spike31 3 | 1,610
23 Jan 2020 #505
refugees to be distributed to them, and evidence suggest that their integration goes overall pretty good

I find it hard to believe to be honest. Not only due to the fact that they lack necessary skills for any productive work, but also due to the fact that the East German society is even more distrustful towards muslim refugees than Poland or Hungary is.
Dirk diggler 9 | 4,550
23 Jan 2020 #506
nd evidence suggest that their integration goes overall pretty good

That's laughable. Evidence shows that the "refugees" are mostly unemployed and a financial drag on society - not to mention all the terrorism, rapes and other violence they cause.

Then again the amount of muslims that blew themselves up or drove cars into a crowd is down, so that's a good sign I guess...

The report by the state-funded Institute for Employment Research (IAB) said refugee unemployment has dropped from 50.5 per cent to 40.5 per cent. [b]One in four refugees is now officially registered as having a job, a significant improvement from the numbers one year ago.

ft.com/content/bea8507e-64cb-11e8-90c2-9563a0613e56

Yeah integration is sure going well..... 40% unemployment, 1 in 4 officially registered as having a job... if that's considered evidence that integration is going well than no wonder western european society is in a gradual decline..\

East Germany has also squandered the chance to benefit from the refugees.

Yeah they should've given them more free stuff right? The record 23 billion Germany spent on handouts for turd worlders isn't quite enough - 78 billion expected in spending up through 2022... You don't get it. These people don't want to assimilate. They come to leech off the benefits. That's why they chose to settle in Germany and not the dozen other safe countries they crossed through. If they settled in Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, etc. or even Poland they'd actually have to work to survive and the government wouldn't coddle them with free housing, food, education, medical care, etc. If Germany had enough balls like Poland and cut them off after 6 months of being on the dole and they starved a few nights or slept outside I guaruntee they'd be looking for work real quick and they wouldn't have an "improvment" of 40% unemployed.

reuters.com/article/us-germany-budget-refugees/germany-spends-record-23-billion-euros-on-refugees-migration-document-idUSKCN1SQ182
reuters.com/article/us-germany-budget-migrants/germany-sees-migration-related-spending-of-78-billion-euros-through-2022-report-idUSKCN1IK0EG

Show me one country that white immigrants live in where one in four has a job or 40% are unemployed. Nowhere. That's because when white people move to another country the work and contribute. They're not like muslims in europe half of whom lounge around till their benefit check comes in and mug people and rape women to pass the time.
Lenka 3 | 1,952
23 Jan 2020 #507
Omg Maf, you are really starting to get too blinded by your views. So now people having the freedom to choose to live somewhere else because that is what they believe is good for them career wise, economicaly and that can allow them to experience a different world is bad too? So shall we ban all migration because you believe it causes trauma? Not to mention that I think you havily exaggerated there...

Guess what- societies that did that weren't too happy and many were trying to run away.
Dirk diggler 9 | 4,550
23 Jan 2020 #508
Sadly, it also looks like East Germany has also squandered the chance to benefit from the refugees.

Actually I take it back - you're right. They could've put them in Buchenwald or Sachsenhausen. At least then the refugees would actually contribute their labor instead of leeching tens of billions from Germany's taxpayers every year.

That's what Israel does and it's so unfortunate that more countries don't follow their example. As soon as some turd worlder illegally enters Israel they put their ass in Holot in the desert to work. They get 40 shekels a day - about $11. Since most the places they came from are utter ********* with the only industry being subsistence farming and scamming gullible western seniors online, that's a fortune.
mafketis 23 | 8,360
23 Jan 2020 #509
people having the freedom to choose to live somewhere else ,,, is bad too?

Not necessarily bad, but people don't... transplant as easily as the narratives around modern migration would suggest. That goes for professionals as well as economic migrants and refugees. The degree is different but there's always a personal psychological cost.

I find the idea that people can live in Amsterdam, Paris, San Francisco and Berlin without experiencing severe dislocation is kind of absurd. the only way to stay healthy in that situation is to completely ignore anything local and not form any connections to people....

The idea that governments should be bartering about how many people should be shipped to this or that country in accordance with some diplomatic agreement is horrible and repulsive - the neoliberal mentality (which ultimately degrades human subjectivity) at its moral and ethical dead end...
Tacitus 2 | 1,130
23 Jan 2020 #510
Not only due to the fact that they lack necessary skills

The jobs available in small villages are in fact often different from big cities. Many villages have lost their local bakerys, supermarkets close because they do not find anyone to help out. You dont really need a higher education for that, and what you don't know, you can be taught. There are already several good examples for this.

nytimes.com/2019/09/19/world/europe/germany-golzow-syria-refugees.html

I find it hard to believe to be honest

It makes sense once you consider that migrants assimilate quicker when they are forced to engage with locals, instead of gathering in big cities and forming gated communities. Adding to the fact that refugees will find it easier - as I mentioned - to find a job there, and we have a healthy chance for success there At this point, it is up to thw villages to either adapt or die. And every forecast predict that those communities who won't be open to migrants will be dead in 30 years.

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