From 1993, until 2009....I lived in Germany. Toward the last eight years....almost monthly....I would receive this nifty free offer in the mail. It was a credit company would would loan me ten thousand Euro....at a rate of roughly sixteen percent interest a year. I always tore it up, but I would imagine that one out of 500 Germans....would react to the offer.
Today....out of the Local, came this article discussing the increasing number of Germans in heavy debt. It's now believed that one out of ten Germans are at a point where they really can't pay off their debt. They analyze their bills and come to this conclusion that they can only pay X number of bills and start to fall behind. It's a trend.
Ten years ago....I doubt if it was this bad. The problem is....these credit companies are making more and more offers. Germans get themselves into a bind and want something. The only quick solution is to take advantage of credit, borrow money, and get yourself deeper into debt. It's not a traditional German habit.
Germany has become a society with spending habits and expectations. It's easier than ever to log on and buy something via the internet. Deals are offered daily on fantastic vacations to Egypt or Thailand for a sum of money that is half of what you would normally pay. Car loans are rigged up so you don't pay the first three months.
Climbing deeper into the pit? As an American watching the trend....I don't see how they avoid it. The German government could do some things about rigged deals and car loans, but the rest is part of a free society. You can't stop a dimwit from getting himself into deep debt.
As much as Germans dislike hearing about their society become like Americas.....I think in this case....it's true.