On 27 November, the FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE ZEITUNG discussed a poll conducted by the renowned Allensbach Institute for Public Opinion Research. I hold the Institute in the highest esteem, not least because I was personally acquainted with its founder, Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann, and learned a lot from her. A key issue on which Allensbach polls have focused, and continue to focus, is the appreciation of liberty among Germans. Sad to say, there has been a manifest trend for some years now to champion equality over liberty.
The latest poll revealed that 71 percent of Germans are in favour of a rent ceiling fixed by the government. As an aside: 46 percent would generally welcome it if the government imposed “price ceilings on staple foods.”
The pollsters of Allensbach Institute asked people for their associations with the terms “market economy,” on the one hand, and “state-run economic system,” on the other hand. Some of the returns are quite alarming: Only 12 percent associate market economy with “social justice,” whereas 43 percent find a “state-run economic system” associable with “social justice.” In fact, market economy implies greed for 56 percent, ruthlessness for 53 percent, exploitations for 51 percent, and inflated prices for 49 percent. The term state-run economic system, by contrast, inspires a sense of “safety” in 51 percent of the poll respondents.
It appears that the political parties’ and the media’s incessant reiteration of the presumed deficits in “social justice” has done its work. Two out of three respondents are now of the opinion that the situation in Germany is “unfair,” while a mere 18 percent beg to differ. What is particularly absurd: 36 percent of the poll participant in West Germany, and 42 percent in East Germany believe that their personal lot would be improved by an economic system more tightly controlled by the state!
Reading things like this makes me almost regret that Communist states such as East Germany and the Soviet Union are defunct. In the days of the Cold War, anyone could see for themselves that a market economy runs circles around a centrally planned economy. All you needed to do was compare East with West Germany, or the USSR with the USA. You can still see the difference if you compare North and South Korea. But Korea is on the other side of the globe.
So the so-called Grand Coalition of Social Democrats and Christian Democrats do what the majority of Germany expect them to do as they commence regulating, restricting, and redistributing. The social-democrat welfare state will eventually collapse, however, just like the socialist system in Eastern Europe did in the late 1980s. It will collapse under the sheer weight of an excessive debt load, as ever new social hand-outs are financed at the expense of future generations.