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Wealthy lean toward 'social Darwinism' after economic crisis
Photo: DPA

Wealthy lean toward 'social Darwinism' after economic crisis

Published: 03 Dec 2010 15:21 GMT+01:00
Updated: 03 Dec 2010 15:21 GMT+01:00

Hostility towards minorities and the poor has increased significantly among Germany's middle and upper classes, a development likely stemming from the global economic crisis, according to a new study.

Supposedly open-minded, highly-educated people with above average incomes exhibited similar levels of racism, xenophobia, and homophobia as the less well-off, the research found.

The recent financial and economic crisis is largely to blame for this “freezing of the social climate,” said researchers from the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence (IKG) at Bielefeld University.

“During the crisis many high earners experienced for the first time what financial losses mean,” study leader Wilhelm Heitmeyer said.

With this realisation, carefully learned social norms and values were quickly forgotten, and ideas of so-called social Darwinism, or survival of the fittest, increased. Feeling threatened by the financial crisis also lead to a creeping “radicalising of the middle class,” with levels of anti-Islamic sentiments up significantly among political moderates and liberals, while this actually dipped slightly among conservatives.

Every fourth study participant agreed to the statement, “Muslims should be prevented from immigrating to Germany” – an increase of five percentage points from last year’s results.

Anti-Semitic sentiments were also more socially acceptable among wealthier respondents.

Negative feelings toward the homeless or jobless increased only among those who earned a net monthly income of more than €2,500 per month.

The long-term study of group-oriented misanthropy in Germany began in 2002 and focuses on how different social, religious and ethnic backgrounds are received in by the country's citizens.

DAPD/ka

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

18:53 December 3, 2010 by DinhoPilot
Increbible. This country sure has a problem towards feelings about others.

So people are putting fault of the bad economy situation on immigrants? Not on the banks or whoever leads them?

Well there is something a university degree never got and never will give to people no matter how much one studies and self proclaims intelligence; which is love and consideration for others. Rotten society.
11:21 December 4, 2010 by raandy
The downturn in economics brings out the true feelings of the those that are not living on the edge of the income stream, towards those that do,which are generally immigrants. Unbelievable Arrogance..
12:48 December 4, 2010 by Viva Melita
Total hogwash, establishment propaganda. People know exactly who is to blame. It is just a case of finding what exactly to do about it as the crooked system blocks all avenues to change. But change will come as sure as night follows day. Then the present crooked ruling elite will face the just deserts.
07:50 December 5, 2010 by hOU
^ No they won't. They never do.

Besides, Greed Is Good!
10:41 December 5, 2010 by karin69
There are people who work hard, spend money prudently and take responsibility for their own life. There are others who do not fancy a job, spend carelessly on booze, drugs, big screen TVs, fancy clothes and other rubbish and they are surprised if they are poor. Of course they don't blame their own laziness or backward culture, but blame those who work, are responsible and successful. And then the scum is emotionally and in the name of political correctness blackmailing society. It must be end.
03:29 December 6, 2010 by derExDeutsche
You mean to tell me that Germany still allows the drinking 'Schampus' on Mountain Tops?

That obviously needs to be BANNED.
03:50 December 6, 2010 by HollyMacarony
@karin69

''And then the scum is emotionally and in the name of political correctness blackmailing society.''

So you are calling poor people ''scum'', and you present rich people as moral and responsible? lol nice going

You also probably think that its the immigrants fault the economy is bad?
10:22 December 6, 2010 by karin69
In Germany today there is only relative poverty, but no one is starving. If a healthy person is homeless or has nothing to eat it is his own fault in 99% of cases.

No, I do not blame immigrants as a whole, perhaps German yobs and freeloaders are much more responsible for the present situation than immigrants. On the other hand, it is also true that immigrants of certain countries and cultures are reinforcing the already existent German idleness.

Everyone, be immigrant or echte German is responsible for his own life, and it is not taxpayers job to feed the scum.
14:12 December 6, 2010 by mixxim
Scum floats on top. The dregs are at the bottom. Both expect taxpayers to bail them out.
14:23 December 6, 2010 by derExDeutsche
@ karin69

"and it is not taxpayers job to feed the scum. "

oh thats not all they want you to do. They want anybody with any sort of disposable income to walk around like Guilt ridden sad saps. Worried about what the Poor People might think. Gosh those hungry souls ::sniff::.

Its just a bunch of class warfare loving Player Haters.

Germany will guilt its way into Communism sooner than later. Personal freedoms seem to generous when people are Starving.
16:57 December 6, 2010 by SockRayBlue
Enjoy life and live it to the fullest. If you are financially secure enjoy it even more. To those that occupy a lower rung in the societal ladder....get used to it and stop compelling government to change the world for you. Life isn't fair and you only have to enjoy/tolerate it once. So either stop whining or dispose of your sorry selves.
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