• Germany edition
 
Hundreds of great job opportunities for foreign professionals at Germany's top employers - in cooperation with Monster, Experteer, Stepstone, and CareerBuilder.
What
Where
3,344
jobs available
Find English-speaking professionals with The Local.
Advertise a vacancy
Germany 'risks unrest if inequality not tackled'
Photo: DPA

Germany 'risks unrest if inequality not tackled'

Published: 13 Dec 2012 11:30 CET

More than five million Germans were squeezed out of the middle classes between 1997 and 2010, according to the study, carried out by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) and the University of Bremen. In 1997, the middle classes made up 65 percent of the population: this had fallen to 58 percent by 2010.

The movement has been overwhelmingly downwards. While the group of top-earners expanded by 500,000 over this period, the number of people in the lower income brackets shot up by almost four million.

"In terms of real wages, real household income, and assets, middle-income earners have suffered real losses in recent years," the authors wrote.

This trend has serious implications for the health of society as a whole, the authors of the study cautioned. Rising wealth has not led to "prosperity for all," the great rallying cry of the 1950s post-war Germany.

Instead, benefits have become increasingly restricted to a handful of "social elites", while the rest of society has struggled to maintain its standard of living.

At the same time, social mobility has declined: those born into poor families are more likely than ever to remain there. As many as 70 percent of those in the lowest income categories were still to be found there three years later.

"A social mingling of the population is happening less and less," claimed the authors. "The polarisation of income distribution corresponds to an increasing segmentation of society into upper, middle, and lower."

The study highlighted a number of factors that have contributed to the increased inequality: a rising numbers of single households, single-parent families, and immigrants with limited education, as well as reductions in the top rate of income tax and the failure of social welfare payments to keep up with inflation.

Researchers behind the study urged the government not to be complacent about the situation. DIW analysts Martin Gornig and Jan Goebel warned in a statement that "a strong middle class is important for the maintenance of social stability."

"A growing number of poor people risks the development of ghetto areas," they said.

Decisive government action is needed to address the situation - and the rich should take their share of the burden, they argued. The planned austerity measures are likely to be counter-productive, Goebel said.

"The concrete suggestions up to this point only affect those on lower incomes. But the proportion of rich people is constantly growing, and the rich are also earning more than ever. We've got to ask whether this group shouldn't also make a contribution to the cuts," he said.

DAPD/The Local/pmw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)


Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article:

The comments below have not been moderated in advance and are not produced by The Local unless clearly stated. Readers are responsible for the content of their own comments. Comments that breach our terms and conditions will be removed.

ADD YOUR COMMENT   (YOU MUST LOG IN OR REGISTER TO MAKE A COMMENT)
Your German Career
Germany's Federal Employment Agency has identified the job sectors the country is most short of workers for. JobTalk looks at where the vacancies lie.
Students at German universities have shown themselves to be a risk-free lot in a survey by Ernst & Young. The civil service is their most popular choice of future profession, while job security is valued above all else.
Jenny Core, originally from Bolton, England, shares her tips in this week’s My German Career on being an artist in Berlin. The 27-year-old exhibits her work regularly in the city, including next to a Turner Prize shortlister.
In this week's JobTalk, Tanya Schober, who is originally from India, talks us through her journey to German citizenship.
In this week's My German Career, Anupama Gopalakrishna, who is originally from Bangalore in India, tells The Local about her new life in Frankfurt.
In this week's My German Career, US pastor Jeff Ingram, 54, talks about life in the church and the advantages as well as the downside of Germany's desire for order.
German Employment News
What would happen if everyone was suddenly paid €1,000 a month with no strings attached? "Let's try it," says Michael Bohmeyer, who raised the money through crowdfunding and will now experiment with the idea of a basic income for one year.
Germany lags its rivals when it comes to innovation, according to global rankings. But in other measures it leads Europe in technological progress. How innovative is the country really?
Germany's Federal Employment Agency has identified the job sectors the country is most short of workers for. JobTalk looks at where the vacancies lie.
JobTalk this week looks out of the classroom window and up from the translator’s desk at some of the best jobs for expats in Germany.
What holds back talented foreigners in Germany's job market? Recruitment expert Chris Pyak looks at three misconceptions which may be hindering your success when applying for jobs.
US vice president Joe Biden suggested Germany was “xenophobic” last week. His comments caused a lot of debate among our readers. But was he right? Are immigrants hindered in the job market? JobTalk takes a look.

Officer - Submission & Bio/Cash
VFS TasHeel International is seeking a Submission & Bio/Cash Officer to manage day-to-day activities of the Visa Application Centre in Frankfurt and Berlin.
FULL JOB AD »

Trainers of English
British Council is recruiting a team of English Trainers to work on a new and exciting project: English for Education College Trainers (EfECT), in Burma. This is an excellent opportunity to develop your teaching career.
FULL JOB AD »

DHL Express
Leipzig
Stepstone
Added 07/26/14

DHL Express
Leipzig
Stepstone
Added 07/26/14

Deutsche Post DHL
Bonn
Stepstone
Added 07/26/14

DHL Express
Leipzig
Stepstone
Added 07/26/14

DHL Express
Leipzig
Stepstone
Added 07/26/14

EagleBurgmann Germany GmbH & Co. KG
Wolfratshausen
Stepstone
Added 07/26/14

Robert Bosch GmbH, Leonberg
Leonberg
Stepstone
Added 07/26/14

Deutsche Post DHL - Inhouse Consulting
Bonn
Stepstone
Added 07/26/14

Deutsche Post DHL - Inhouse Consulting
Bonn
Stepstone
Added 07/26/14

BMW Group
München
Stepstone
Added 07/26/14