Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Burger-Flipper Volk (People)

Volk translates usually from German into English and means common people.  It's not a slam or just qualifies for regular people (not the intellectuals or rich).....just working class.

I write this blog or essay piece from the prospective of an American.

When I arrived in Germany in was like an adventure and you were allowing me a chance to just walk around some new fantasy land.  Frankfurt was not a hundred-percent recovered from the could still find a few areas which had not been rebuilt.  What you saw was a massive reconstruction turbo-charged society.  New apartments were going up.....industry was catching up....unemployment was like 4-percent or less....Turks were being brought in to make cars or produce could feel enthusiasm in Frankfurt.

When you looked around over the next decade of Germany (I returned again in 84-85) still saw a segment of society with enthusiasm and old-fashioned German charm.

Oh, I agree....these were not the Germans with a sense of humor, or drawn to intellectual arguments.  These were regular guys who watched soccer with a passion.....sipped beer maybe to an excessive point....were still thrilled with Opel cars....and were happy with just two weeks of vacation which they'd spend in Bavaria or some isle in Greece.

If you were to divide up German society.....I'd say that 70-percent were middle-class people and lived in a fairly happy mode.  Ten-percent were upper-class people.....making real money.....flying off to Australia....drinking champagne....and likely to sit in some opera or musical on weekends. The remaining twenty-percent?  They were the ones who were at the bottom and still had some hope of moving up.  Welfare recipients were still in abundance but everyone had some negative view of welfare and it's good intentions.

Somewhere in the 1990s.....things changed.

I think the middle-class got divided up into five or six categories by that point.  I think politics crept up into a daily conversation piece, with the news media preaching to the public via state-run TV.  Roughly five to ten percent.....depending on who you hear the data come from....are permanently attached to the bottom class now, and will likely never move up.

We have jobs existing now, which people just won't work for 8-Euro an hour.  I stood there on Monday at McDonalds in the Wiesbaden Bahnhof and observed a fairly big sign there....wanting applicants.  From various grocery operations, stores, and coffee-shops....I've seen similar signs in the past six months.  They seek people but the bare minimum wage is the most they will pay.

Who applies for these jobs now?  It's the new burger-flipper 'volk'....the new immigrants....the new migrants.

Right now, they will take anything....just to have money on the table.  No arguments.

My suspicion is that within five to eight years.....they will wake up and realize that they are attached to a dead-end job, without much chance of advancement, and wondering how you ever get your pay level up to 10-Euro an hour.

All this talk about job-training (with an attached bill for the training)?  Maybe if there were tons of jobs might all be worth the pain and cost involved.  I don't see this listing of numerous jobs with skills or crafts....just mostly minimum wage opportunities.  The current unemployment rate sits at around 6-percent.  If it were three or'd have the open window for such people being needed.  Frankly, the need isn't there unless you talk about mini-jobs or 8-Euro an hour jobs.

In some way, we are creating in Germany a new class of people....the burger-flipper volk.  They walked a long way....dreaming of a new life....a new start....and end up with service-sector jobs with limited to zero future.  In twenty years, they will eventually get around to talking about pension expectations and realize that they've got nothing much to dream about as they grow older.

The politicians?  You can promise a ton of things, but I don't see how you can afford to deliver on this type of situation.

For me, it's odd trying to compare 1978 to today.  You saw a ton of enthusiasm in 1978.  You just don't see that today with the Germans.  With the migrants, there's some enthusiasm but you sense that this is not a stable enthusiasm or a predictable outcome enthusiasm.

I remember some professor from years ago commenting on financial cuts, and he made some comment out of thin can carve as much as you want.....but eventually when you have nothing...and you attempt to carve on nothing....out of nothing will come nothing.  I think the Germans have a road-map to such a place.

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