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Nazi Germany - Income of low-wage workers, and prices of food and other items?

Nazi Germany - Income of low-wage workers, and prices of food and other items?


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I'm trying to write a fictional piece in which the main character is an unemployed Jew, searching for jobs on the streets. Assume that he (the character) finds a temporary low wage job to do, like cleaning or helping out with things, not by actually getting employed.

  1. How much would a small low-wage job in Nazi Germany have paid (in German Marks, the currency in the time of Nazi Germany)? This piece takes place in 1935, after the hyperinflation of Germany. Prices should be relatively stable and regular.

  2. What were the average prices of basic food staples, like bread/meat/milk and common items?

I need a sense of what and how many common items could a temporary low-wage German worker buy with their income.


I find a couple of figures concerning wages. According to HistoryLearningSite:

The KdF also involved itself in introducing a scheme whereby the workers could get a car. The Volkswagen - People's Car - was designed so that most could afford it. The Beetle, designed by Ferdinand Porsche, cost 990 marks. This was about 35 weeks wages for the average worker. To pay for one, workers went on a hire purchase scheme. They paid 5 marks a week into an account.

Theoretically, when the account had reached 750 marks the worker would be given an order number which would lead to them receiving a car. In fact, no-one received a car. The millions of marks invested into the scheme were re-directed into the rapidly expanding weapons factories.

Not a great business practice, but the quote gives us a number to work from. Doing the math this works out to an average wage of 28.28 Marks per week.

Another source, a book published in 2000, Hitler:1889-1936 Hubris, by Ian Kershaw has some figures within it showing nearly 50% of German workers earned

18 Reich Marks or less per week, which was substantially below the poverty line.

So wages for German workers in this era could be expected to typically fall between 18 and 28 Marks per week.


Nazi Germany - Income of low-wage workers, and prices of food and other items? - History

Almost one in six people in Germany lives in poverty. This is the headline finding in the Poverty Report 2019 prepared by the organisation Paritätische Wohlfahrtsverband (Joint Welfare Association). According to the report, 15.5 percent of the population are poor.

Although the poverty rate experienced a slight decline of 0.3 percentage points between 2017 and 2018, it remains at a high level and has even increased in some regions. The Ruhr region, an urban area with 5.8 million inhabitants, is described as “problem area number 1” with a poverty rate of 21.1 percent, which equates to more than one in five.

The new report, published by Paritätische Wohlfahrtsverband in mid-December, contains detailed figures on the development of poverty in Germany, including within states and regions. It also shows comparative figures from a 10-year period between 2008 and 2018.

The authors of the study divide Germany into four segments when it comes to measuring poverty. The south, which includes Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, has a poverty rate of 11.8 percent. The states in eastern Germany have an average poverty rate of 17.5 percent, although the states of Mecklenburg-Pomerania and Saxony-Anhalt have poverty rates of 20.9 and 19.5 percent respectively.

With a population of 18 million, North Rhine-Westphalia has a poverty rate of 18.1 percent, making it the area with the highest poverty rate among the four large regions. It also shows the fastest increase in poverty over a ten-year period. The main responsibility for this is the long-standing, widespread poverty in the Ruhr region. Poverty has increased four times faster there over the past 10 years than the national average. The Cologne and Düsseldorf regions have also seen an increase in poverty.

In Brandenburg, Hamburg, Hesse, Mecklenburg-Pomerania, Schleswig-Holstein and Thuringia, poverty also increased between 2017 and 2018.

The fourth area considered in the study are the remaining parts of western Germany, which have an average poverty rate of 15.9 percent. Significant regional differences exist within this area, such as in the state of Bremen, which stands out with a poverty rate of 22.7 percent. The city of Bremerhaven’s poverty rate is even higher at 28 percent.

Over the past 10 years, poverty has risen particularly sharply in Hesse, Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein. In Hesse, poverty rose by 25 percent, from 12.7 percent in 2008 to 15.8 percent in 2018. At the end of 2018, poverty had also risen significantly in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein to 15.3 percent.

Paritätische Wohlfahrtsverband bases its calculation of poverty on European Union guidelines. According to this, all persons are counted as poor who live in households with an income less than 60 percent of the median income. However, this only includes the entire net income of the household. This results in the upper limit for poverty being an income of €1,035 for a single person or €2,070 for a single parent with two children aged between 14 and 18.

The report does not reflect the true scale of poverty. People living in poverty in multi-resident accommodation, such as care homes or refugee centres, are not included in the study. In reality, one in three of the 800,000 people living in care homes depends on social welfare support. The poverty rate also excludes the many refugees forced to reside in camps, and the hundreds of thousands of homeless people. It is thus clear that the real rate of poverty is much higher than the official figures suggest.

The rates of child poverty are particularly shocking and are typically higher than the average in every state. To mention a few examples: in Berlin, the poverty rate is 18.2 percent, while child poverty is 23.8 percent. The corresponding figures for Bremen are 22.7 and 35.8 percent, 15.3 and 21.7 percent in Hamburg, 15.8 and 21.1 percent in Hesse, 20.9 and 27.7 percent in Mecklenburg-Pomerania, 18.1 and 24.7 percent in North Rhine-Westphalia, and 19.5 and 27.3 percent in Saxony-Anhalt. Some cities in the Ruhr region and other areas have even higher rates of child poverty.

In addition, the Ruhr region has seen a steady increase in poverty over a 10-year period of 28 percent. Poverty has increased four times faster there over the past ten years than the national average. One area that stands out is Duisburg-Essen, where poverty rose from 14.8 to 20.9 percent over the past 10 years. This corresponds to an increase of 41.2 percent, amounting in the words of the report to a “poverty landslide.”

The rate of Hartz IV welfare claimants in the Ruhr region has also risen more rapidly than the national average. Although the claimant rate declined nationwide from 10.3 to 8.9 percent between 2008 and 2018, it rose to 15.3 percent in the Ruhr region in 2018, 1.4 percentage points higher than in 2008. Almost every district in the Ruhr has a high rate of Hartz IV claimants. One in four residents in Gelsenkirchen and one in five in Essen are now dependent on Hartz IV.

While millions of working people and their families either live in or are at risk of poverty—and have to fear for loss of their homes due to rising rent and electricity prices—the wealth at the top of society continues to grow. The richest 400 families in Germany own more wealth than the poorest half of the population, some 40 million people.

Central political responsibility for the rise of poverty in Germany must be borne by the Social Democrats and Greens. It was the Social Democrat (SPD)-Green coalition government under Gerhard Schröder and Joschka Fischer that between 1998 and 2005 created a huge low-wage sector with their Agenda 2010 reforms and the introduction of Hartz IV. This policy of wealth distribution from the bottom to the top occurred on an international scale and is supported by all the established parties.

The SPD’s responsibility for the rampant poverty rates in the Ruhr region and North Rhine-Westphalia is particularly striking. Apart from a few exceptions, the SPD has governed continuously in North Rhine-Westphalia for decades. Together with the trade unions, they organised the shuttering of the mining industry and the destruction of tens of thousands of jobs in the steel industry.

These relatively well-paid jobs have been lost for good. In 2014, the Opel plant in Bochum, which was built on the grounds of the shuttered Dannenberg mine in 1960, was closed down. Prior to the plant shutdown, the IG Metall forced the workers to accept wage cuts and other concessions to benefit the company, supposedly to save jobs.

The Opel plant is just one example of thousands of similar cases. The vast majority of the jobs created over recent years are low-wage jobs. This, together with the associated rise of precarious working conditions, have resulted in a rapid increase in the so-called working poor.

At the same time, workers confronted a savage assault on social services and the enforcement of austerity. The municipalities in the Ruhr region, which were almost all governed by the SPD until a few years ago, imposed these measures with particular ruthlessness.

Due to the austerity policies, there are hardly any public swimming pools or youth centres left in the cities in the Ruhr region. District libraries often no longer exist or are opened on a part-time basis and staffed by personnel lacking qualifications. Schools and cultural institutions are also in a sorry state due to the decades-long austerity drive.

Roads, public transport, and infrastructure are falling apart. Conditions are also miserable at social welfare offices. Wait times are often intolerably long, due to the fact that increased workloads for those workers who have survived the job cuts have led to a rise in sickness-related absences. The job cuts thus trigger a vicious circle.

The most recent state governments led by the SPD in North Rhine-Westphalia have all committed to abide by the debt brake, which prohibits the government from taking on any new debt. Between 2010 and 2012, the SPD governed under the leadership of Hannelore Kraft in an SPD-Green minority coalition tolerated by the Left Party.

Between 2012 and 2017, the SPD governed in a coalition with the Greens. Norbert Walter-Borjans, one of the two new federal SPD leaders, was finance minister at the state level during this period. He ruthlessly imposed austerity policies on the working class. He threatened to impose sanctions on the highly indebted cities in the Ruhr region that failed to impose austerity rigorously enough.


Social polarisation in Germany is continuing apace. This is clear from the draft of the third report by the German government on wealth distribution presented by Labour Minister Olaf Scholz (Social Democratic Party, SPD) on Monday, May 19.

Scholz’s appearance before the press was not entirely voluntary. As has been the case with similar reports in previous years, the draft report on wealth distribution had been sitting in his ministry for some time where it was due to be revised in order to present its contents in a better light. However, following publication of figures featured in the draft by several newspapers, Scholz decided to go on the offensive.

The report begins with the sentence: “Poverty is a social phenomenon with many faces. On that basis, it is therefore difficult to measure exactly.” In line with this statement, Scholz goes on to use a different database than that used in the last two wealth distribution reports, citing the data of the EU-SILC (European Union Statistics on Income and Living conditions) instead of the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). Officially, this shift to the EU-SILC database is justified on the basis that it permits a better comparison with other countries.

With the help of this new criterion, Scholz could report that in 2005, 13 percent of the German population, or 10.7 million citizens, were officially regarded as poor. Since 2003, this represents a rise of “only” 1 percent, a rise that Scholz seeks to play down by declaring that the current economic upswing in Germany only began in 2006. According to Scholz, the upswing will benefit all sections of the population, but this is not “reflected” in the figures of the current report.

By employing the new database, Scholz has been able to clearly reduce the threshold for the definition of poverty: from €935 to €781 per month for single citizens. This in turn puts the poverty threshold for families below the subsistence level granted by Germany’s current standard unemployment and welfare payment—Hartz IV.

If one proceeds from the old database—which is hidden away in an appendix to the 413-page draft under the chapter “core indicators”—then the poverty ratio is much higher: i.e., 18 percent in 2005 and—despite the economic upswing—18.3 percent in 2006.

The differences in statistics are even more pronounced when it comes to child poverty. According to the SOEP, child poverty in 2005 averaged 26 percent, while the EU SILC statistics put this figure at 12 percent. According to the SOEP data, child poverty increased by around 3 percent between 2003 and 2005, while the EU data registers a decline over the same period of 3 percent. The latter estimate contradicts all of the latest studies dealing with child poverty, which conclude that one in six children in Germany—i.e., a total of 2 million—are dependent on Hartz IV payments.

A similar picture emerges with regard to single-parent families and low-paid workers in east Germany. According to Scholz’s EU statistics, the rate of poverty in east Germany declined between 2003 and 2005 from 19 to 15 percent according to the SOEP, it rose from 20 to 22 percent. According to Scholz, 24 percent of all single parents are poor, 12 percent (!) lower than two years previously according to the SOEP, the figure has remained the same for the past seven years—i.e., around 36 percent. Scholz concludes that the ratio of so-called “working poor”—those in work but with an insufficient income—is 6 percent of the population the SOEP calculates this figure at 12 percent.

Scholz does admit there has been “an increase in the low-wage sector.” In 2005, more than a third of all workers were employed in cheap-wage jobs. At the start of the 1990s, this figure was slightly more than one in four.

Scholz’s sleight of hand is clearly aimed at diverting attention away from the disastrous consequences of the policies introduced by the former SPD-Green Party government led by Gerhard Schröder (SPD), which opened the way for a massive low-wage sector in the German economy and growing poverty through the introduction of its so-called Agenda 2010 and Hartz IV laws.

Growing social inequality

Despite all attempts by the government to present the findings of its draft in the best light, the labour minister was unable to hide the fact that the gulf between rich and poor in Germany has widened considerably. “There is an increase of persons at both the lower and top end of the [income] spectrum,” the draft concludes, with a corresponding shrinkage of the “middle class.”

The wealthy elite who earn at least 200 percent of the middle-income level, or €3,268 net per month, constitute 6.4 percent of the total population. If one includes property and shares (persons with more than €3,418 net per month), this proportion rises to 8.8 percent. This income refers only to single households. A couple with two children under 14 years must receive net incomes of €6,863 to be considered wealthy.

The decline in incomes for the poorest layer of society is made clear by the following statistic: in 2002, 30.4 percent of all net income was shared by the poorest 50 percent of the population. Just three years later, in 2005, this share had shrunk to 28.7 percent. Those to profit from this redistribution are the wealthiest 10 percent. They were the only group to increase their share of social wealth, by around 1.6 percent between 2004 and 2005 alone.

This redistribution went hand in hand with declining wages and salaries. Between 2002 and 2005, wages declined from an average €24,873 to €23,684—i.e., around 4.7 percent—according to the government report.

Net wages also declined under conditions where inflation is increasing—in particular, for food and energy. The report charts that the price for energy alone in Germany rose between 2002 and 2006 by 7.3 percent per year.

The report remains sketchy on the issue of Germany’s wealthy elite. It records that the total assets of all private households at the end of 2002 approximated €7.8 trillion. The wealthiest 10 percent control 56 percent of this total, while the poorest 50 percent possess just 2 percent.

Reactions to the draft

The wealth distribution report unleashed a host of political reactions. Politicians and parties have resurrected old demands for cuts in tax and social security contributions for the middle class (Christian Democratic Union, CDU) and tax increases for the rich (the Left Party), as well as calls for the introduction of a minimum wage (SPD, German Trade Union Federation—DGB). But it would be a mistake to conclude that the parties will undertake any measures aimed at the fairer distribution of social wealth based on the findings of the draft. The main parties in the current “grand coalition” government, the SPD and CDU, have so far reacted to any pressure from below with a swing to the right.

In its introduction, the wealth distribution report makes clear that the existing policy of redistributing wealth should be continued: “However the financial room for manoeuvre for investment, and active and preventive measures to avoid poverty, is limited by the indebtedness of the public budget. The federal budget of 2008 has allocated approximately 15 percent of all expenditures (€283 billion) exclusively for interest payments. The continuation of the process of budget consolidation remains necessary as before,” the report declares.

In line with this policy priority, German Finance Minister Peer Steinbruck (SPD) has ruled out any proposals for tax cuts: “If this is meant seriously, it would question the reliability and stability of the coalition government,” he warned.

Any official reactions will be strictly limited to measures of a cosmetic nature under conditions where the governing parties are increasingly aware of the extent of public hostility to their policies. According to a recent poll by the British Financial Times, 87 percent of the German population regard the social inequality gap to be unacceptable.

The issue is also addressed—notably for the first time—in the wealth distribution draft. “Social acceptance of wealth strongly depends on the extent to which it is possible to fairly arrange the distribution mechanisms from the standpoint of the citizen,” the report declares. “Should the differences between rich and poor be perceived as too large and too difficult to surmount, this could place the acceptance of the social free-market economy and democracy in question.”

And further: “A large proportion of the population is of the view that one can only become rich if one has the right connections and initial conditions.” Eighty percent of those asked regarded these as the two most important reasons for becoming rich. Far fewer are of the opinion that “hard work” is an important criterion for acquiring wealth. More important is “dishonesty.” The report warns: “This estimation, however, is incompatible with the general understanding of equal chances for all.”

At the same time, there is a growing chorus of those appealing for the government to ignore and defy popular sentiment. This was clear in connection with reactions to the recently agreed decision to cancel plans for increased salaries for members of the German Bundestag (parliament). Following a storm of popular protest at the plans to increase deputies’ salaries by €1,100 per month, the chairmen of the party fractions—Peter Struck for the SPD and Volker Kauder for the CDU—agreed to postpone the measure.

Struck and Kauder were immediately criticised for backing down to “pressure from the streets.” Education Minister Annette Schavan (CDU) told German television: “It has never paid off to back down under pressure.” CDU politician Jürgen Gehb declared that the decision represented a “poor mark for political reliability” and accused the SPD of “populism.” Newspaper commentaries went on to attack the “absence of authority” on the part of the CDU and SPD, together with their “lack of courage,” “clumsiness” and “cowardice.”

Growing mass poverty and social polarisation are seen by the government solely as factors threatening the status quo. It has no qualms about the fate of those affected by its policies. Rather than take any effective measures to deal with poverty, it will inevitably respond by beefing up the apparatus of the state in order to prepare for future mass protests.


The Nazi Tax on Jewish Wealth: An Early Warning Sign of the Holocaust

In the damp dark streets of early morning Vienna, SS Gestapo Chief Heinrich Himmler's agents raced to find one of the biggest ideological enemies of the Nazi state--a 58-year-old Ludwig von Mises. A political economist and critic of the socialist state, von Mises narrowly managed to flee to Switzerland just as his would-be captors were closing in.

Himmler and his Nazi thugs had another reason to find and kill von Mises. It was 1938 and he and other enemies of Hitler's state--Jews, like von Mises as well as anti-socialists reformers--held private wealth the Nazi war machine desperately needed to keep running.

The Nazi Party rose to power in when their leader, Adolf Hitler was appointed Germany's Chancellor 1933. Hitler has achieved this position by hammering at two powerful themes: restoring the German supremacy robbed by the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, and "the Jewish question." Hitler dreamed of uniting "racially desirable" Germans in a new and powerful state. But this unison could not happen without first weeding out the rest of Germany (i.e. Jews as well as homosexuals, gypsies, and freemasons, among others).

The Jewish question referred to a European debate that had been raging for centuries regarding the appropriate civil, legal and political status of Jews as a minority within European countries. German economist and sociologist Werner Sombart had praised German Jews as positive contributors to German society for their entrepreneurialism and capitalism, but within the Nazi party this sentiment was considered radically left wing.

It was this climate--mere months after von Mises escaped Vienna--that eventually led to the infamous Kristallnacht--when entrepreneurs like Trudi Kanter were driven from their homes, lost their livelihoods, and in some tragic cases, were killed. Trudi, who's brilliant autobiography Some Girls, Some Hats, and Hitler tells the story of going from freedom and entrepreneurship to living under the oppression of Nazi Germany, lost her business almost overnight. But, how did the Nazi's target entrepreneurs for their theft? Why did they block entrepreneurship and free ideas? And, perhaps most importantly, how did their efforts to tax and seize Jewish wealth so quickly turn into a genocide?

Wealth Confiscation and the Nazi State
The Nazis considered German Jews "a foreign race"--but they were also very interested in their wealth. Anti-Semitism had a long history in Europe: it was largely influenced by the Christian belief perpetuated in the Middle Ages that the Jewish people were collectively responsible for the death of Jesus. Persecution of European Jews was widespread during the Crusades, beginning in 1095, when Jewish communities along the Rhine and the Danube were massacred. Due to this discrimination, many Jews adapted by turning to entrepreneurship and some had become quite successful by the twentieth century. Hitler pointed to their wealth in order to pit many economically stressed German citizens against German Jews. This was Hitler's first step in fueling anti-Semitism, long before he made a move against Jewish lives, as Götz Ally explains in his probing and well-researched study of Nazi economic policy, Hitler's Beneficiaries: Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State.


Counting gold bars confiscated by Nazi soldiers
(source)

According to a study released in 2010 by Hans-Peter Ullmann, a Cologne history professor, Jewish wealth confiscated by the Nazis paid for roughly one third of Germany's World War II effort. Nearly 120 billion marks--over $17.4 billion today--was plundered from German Jews by laws and looting. According to Ullmann, the tax authorities under the Nazis actively worked to "destroy Jews financially." Even Jews who managed to escape Germany before the Holocaust had to leave part of their wealth behind in the form of an "exit tax."

Another critical piece to Hitler's rise in popularity was his promise to restore German power. The Treaty of Versailles had not only forced Germany to disarm, but had also stripped Germany of land that was turned over to neighboring countries. The ascension of the Nazi party to national prominence was meant to be a first step in rearming Germany for an attack on those neighbors that would take back that territory, and restore the nation to its former glory.

By 1934, Hitler had broken several key agreements in the Treaty of Versailles by increasing the German military to one million men. The treaty limited the German army to 100,000, and also prohibited German manufacturing of new military equipment, in which Hitler was investing heavily. Hitler had to solve the problem of how to pay for both the rearmament and the vast increase in government services he planned to use to fight raging unemployment and keep the beleaguered middle class on his side.

With Hitler's approval, Göring developed a three-step plan to confiscate Jewish wealth. First, all Jews would be required to declare their wealth. If they hid any assets, they would receive an automatic ten-year prison term and have their wealth confiscated.

Next, Göring used this data to institute a 20% tax on Jewish wealth, raising millions for the government. With the military budget still growing, however, deficits continued to soar and Goering moved to step three: In 1938, a law was passed nationalizing all property owned by German Jews.


Wedding rings stolen during Kristallnacht
(source)

Feedback from his ambassadors in other countries, however, made Göring realize that Germany would be harshly criticized if perceived to be outright stealing the Jewish community's assets. That is when he came up with a diabolical plan to make it appear that German Jews were being treated fairly. In 1939, in return for their stolen wealth, the Nazis issued war bonds to the Jews that paid a small amount of interest, and would only be honored if Germany were to win the war that had begun on September 1, 1939 with Germany's invasion of Poland.

Having stolen most of the Jewish wealth, which prevented Jewish people from maintaining their businesses or starting new ones, the Nazis next declared that only specific pawn shops could be used by the Jews to sell their jewelry, which it was no longer legal for them to own. At these pawn shops, the prices were set far below market value.

Even with this grotesque theft from some of Germany's most productive citizens, the massive military buildup still required more money, so Hitler's government decided to impose a 50% surtax on most German groups. To avoid lowering the morale of the average German citizen, however, the Nazis made an informal but clear pact with the German people: If the Wehrmacht (the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany) were to successfully conquer and plunder other countries, the German people would not have to pay the tax. This was a clever move that consolidated German support for World War II and ultimately for the Holocaust, as well.

Once a country was conquered by Germany, its wealth was looted through confiscation and through taxes on its businesses. In France, the Germans seized the stock market and sold off portions of it to pay the bills of the war. Each country that was conquered was forced to remit most of their gold holdings to the German central bank. Another way the Nazis transferred wealth back to Germany was to raise the pay of German soldiers in a particular country while at the same time devaluing the currency of the conquered country relative to the Deutsche Mark. This handed purchasing power to the occupying German soldiers, who were encouraged by their commanders to buy goods to use themselves and to send back to Germany. The stores in the conquered country would be left with too few goods for its own population, driving up prices, starving citizens and in effect bankrupting the local economy.

German soldiers were encouraged to plunder and loot homes, businesses and farms. The rule was that anything that would fit into a postal bag could be sent back to their own families with no tax paid. In 1940, during the first six months of the Third Reich's invasion of Russia, German soldiers shipped 3.5 million bags of stolen property back home.


An apartment after being looted by Nazi soldiers
(source)

As a result of all these policies, as well as generous social programs back home, the average German enjoyed a higher standard of living and benefited directly from the systematic plundering of their own German-Jewish neighbors, as well as the citizens of occupied countries under the Nazi regime.

Sadly, once millions of European Jews had been stripped of their wealth by the Reich, they became expendable to the Nazis and Hitler's "final solution" to "the Jewish question" was launched. Three years later more than six million Jews had lost their lives to the Holocaust so did other "undesirable" minorities, including freemasons and gypsies.

By studying the economic decisions that led up to the Holocaust, perhaps we can learn from this horrific chapter in world history. In Part 2, I will explore similarities between how the Nazis used taxation to disempower German Jews before launching into full-blown genocide and strikingly similar economic policies enacted by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia before they, too, became genocidal and massacred three million Cambodians between 1975-1978.


Economic Miracle Eludes Germany’s Lowest-Paid

BERLIN — Low unemployment and steady growth despite the global downturn have made Germany the envy of its less robust European partners.

But hidden behind the so-called German economic miracle is an underclass of low-paid employees whose incomes have benefited little from the country’s stability and in fact have shrunk in real terms over the last decade, according to recent data.

And because of government policies intended to keep wages low to discourage outsourcing and encourage skills training, the incomes of these workers are not likely to rise anytime soon.

That, in turn, means they are likely to continue to depend on government aid programs to make ends meet, costing taxpayers billions of euros a year.

The paradox of a rising tide that does not lift all boats stems in part from the fact that Germany has no federally set minimum wage. But it also has its roots in recent German politics, which have favored measures to keep unemployment low and win support from employers.

While the top net income for middle- to higher-income Germans, generally defined as those earning 3,400 euros a month, or $4,870, rose slightly in real terms from 2000 to 2010, net incomes for low-wage earners, or those earning 960 euros a month or less, have fallen 10 percent, according to a new study by Markus Grabka, an economist at the DIW German Institute for Economic Research.

“Someone who earned 1,073 euros in 2000 earned 963 euros in 2010,” Mr. Grabka said.

And despite Germany’s renowned inflation-fighting efforts, which kept consumer price increases at an average of 1.7 percent a year from 2000 to 2010, more and more low-income Germans report that they cannot make ends meet despite having a job and that they must rely upon state aid to supplement their income.

This aid, which often includes rental support, costs German taxpayers 11 billion euros a year, according to Ver.di, the trade union representing the services sector.

Nowhere is this deepening chasm more visible than in Berlin-Mitte, the prosperous center of the capital, full of handsome government buildings and fine restaurants that cater to officials and lobbyists.

On a rainy summer morning here, only a 10-minute walk from the glamorous Unter Den Linden boulevard, hundreds of poorly dressed men and women lined up inside the district employment office. Some of them had come to look for work, some were applying for state help and some just wanted to accompany a friend.

Maria Müller, 63, works in a clinic in Berlin that cares for elderly handicapped people. “Before tax, I earn 900 euros a month,” she said while waiting for her friend to finish her business in the district employment office. “I haven’t had a pay rise since 2002. I can barely survive even though the government here talks about how good the economy is doing.”

Mrs. Müller said she was too proud to approach the Labor Office herself to apply for state help. “I can’t do it,” she said. “Not yet. I just feel so angry that I have to count every euro I earn.”

According to the Institute for Employment Research, which is affiliated with the Federal Agency for Labor, 1.37 million people who are working full time, part time or are self-employed are dependent on state aid to supplement their income. “Take the 358,000 people of that total in full-time work,” said Helmut Rudolph, a labor expert at the Institute for Employment Research. “They cannot live off their income. Their wages are just too low. They have no choice but to receive help from the state.”

Image

Dieter Heymann, 63, knows all about low pay. He worked for a security firm, earning 5.52 euros an hour before tax. “I wanted to take early retirement, but when I did, I realized I needed to return to work,” he said. “I did not have enough to live on.”

Mr. Heymann asked the security firm to rehire him. It did, but the contract was changed. “My hourly rate was reduced to 4.60 euros,” he said. “You can’t live on that. There was no use complaining because these security firms are in the driving seat. There is no minimum wage.”

The reason for this lies in Germany’s history of strong trade unions, which has allowed the state to stay out of wage negotiations.

The system still works for sectors like the construction industry or the chemical industry, where most workers belong to trade unions. On a building site in western Germany, even an unqualified worker earns a minimum 11 euros an hour.

But other industries have not done so well. Over all, during the last seven years, a third of companies have pulled out of collective wage agreements that are negotiated between employers and the unions. The withdrawal gave more power to the companies to set wages.

The lowest wages are paid in the services sector. Shop assistants are often paid 6 euros an hour, hairdressers 4 euros and bakers 5.50 euros, amounting to as little as 640 euros a month for a full-time job, according to Ver.di. That compares with Germany’s average monthly wage of 2,366 euros in 2010, according to provisional government statistics.

The Confederation of German Employers’ Associations says the introduction of a minimum wage would push up labor costs and lead to more unemployment. Jobs would simply move out of Germany and to Eastern Europe or Asia.

And some economists argue that higher pay for low-skilled work would attract young people who might otherwise have become apprenticed for a highly skilled job. “If you make lower-skilled work more attractive, you might reduce incentives to upgrade,” said Stefan Schneider, a macroeconomist at DB Research.

But other economists say that if the wages for unskilled work remain so low, then the state will have to continue to subsidize these employees. A minimum wage, on the other hand, would reduce the cost to the state and even increase consumer spending. It would also give lower-paid people more dignity, said Cornelia Hass, a spokeswoman from Ver.di.

Squeezing wages and tackling unemployment were the twin goals of Gerhard Schröder, the former Social Democrat chancellor. In 2004, he pushed through sweeping changes to the social benefit system to move people back into the labor market. Unemployment then was nearly five million, or a rate of 11 percent. Unemployment benefits were reduced and stringent income tests were introduced to determine benefit levels.

The Schröder government also introduced “mini jobs” in which people could earn, untaxed, up to 400 euros a month.

It did not, however, impose a minimum wage across the board. Neither has the center-right coalition led by the current chancellor, Angela Merkel. The coalition fears that a minimum wage would endanger the upswing in the labor market that brought unemployment in July to 2.95 million people, or 7 percent, the lowest level since German reunification. The state pays nearly 40 billion euros a year in unemployment benefits.

With Mrs. Merkel facing a series of regional elections in the coming months and federal elections in 2013, maintaining high levels of employment and support from industry are her priorities, not an across-the-board minimum wage.

“I would jump at the idea of a minimum wage,” said Thorsten Schulz, a 60-year-old mechanic who lost his job four years ago after the company he worked for went broke. He now has temporary work paying about 7 euros an hour.

“It’s not enough to support my son and wife,” he said, locking his old bicycle outside the Labor office in Berlin-Mitte, where he was going to apply for supplementary state aid. “If I had a job with a decent wage, I could even take the bus.”


The Poverty Fallacy

Another common fallacy involves the claim that minimum wage laws decrease poverty, decrease public expenditure on welfare programs, and stimulate the economy.

Minimum wages do decrease poverty rates. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office has an interactive tool discussing it. But we must examine how it accomplishes this. Empirically, the total amount of payment compensated to workers does not change when minimum wage laws are enacted. Some money is “freed up” by unemployment, reduced hours and other cutbacks. That money is transferred to workers who retain their jobs after the minimum wage increase, including those whose incomes are slightly greater than the new minimum wage. Since a greater percentage of retained workers now make more than the poverty threshold, they’re removed from poverty in the eyes of the census.

But since some workers’ incomes drop and others’ increase, the minimum wage is effectively a transfer payment of wages from a lower-skilled group to a slightly higher-skilled group. It’s bringing some people out of poverty by taking wages from others in poverty. Clearly, that does not reduce poverty’s genesis and makes matters significantly worse for a sizeable chunk of the population. And since it’s a binary indicator, the poverty rate gives no hint about the distribution of incomes below or above the poverty threshold.

Another graph appears on the Congressional Budget Office’s minimum wage tool: real family income. And one can see a clear, significant drop in real family income with any minimum wage increase.

Real income is income adjusted for inflation and local living costs. One can accomplish this by dividing the dollar value of one’s nominal income with the Consumer Price Index (CPI), an aggregate market “basket of goods” that reflects how expensive relevant goods and services are in a particular area. So while one’s dollar value income may increase, their “real” income may actually decrease, depending on the CPI-U/W (CPI for urban residents and wage earners). Similarly, if the CPI-U is negative, a stagnant income may actually increase in buying power.

Since a minimum wage increases the effective disposable income of workers who retain those jobs, the overall amount of spending on discretionary goods — not commodities, like housing, food, utilities, etc. — increases. Commodities are generally more resilient to fluctuations in demand, meaning that their equilibrium price is less prone to change. But discretionary goods, like furniture, electronics, apparel, home improvements, and consumer services, are more sensitive to increases in demand mostly since their supply is, for the most part, inelastic and unchanging.

Therefore, the increase in discretionary spending as a ratio of overall spending due to a minimum wage increase drives up the equilibrium price of discretionary goods, driving up the CPI and thusly the cost of living. A “spillover effect” means that commodity prices will also rise. Seattle’s CPI, for example, increased from 2% to 3% per annum after the minimum wage increase. Germany’s CPI likewise increased from 1.5% to 2.5% per annum. These seem small, but over time they can make the cost of living prohibitively expensive, much like ballooning urban housing prices.

Unlike a state minimum wage hike, a national minimum wage hike precludes laid-off workers from migrating to a state with better job opportunities conducive to their productivity. Hence these workers remain unemployed or severely underemployed, and bear the brunt of a CPI increase. If anything, this unemployment (“deadweight loss” from before) offsets the decrease in welfare dependency by workers whose wages improve from a minimum wage increase. In fact, since the welfare difference between low-wage workers and unemployed workers is so great, public welfare expenditure will increase, especially if history is any guide.

There’s an economics concept known as “sticky wages,” describing wages’ general “slowness” to adjust to changes in market conditions. For example, an economic downturn may severely decrease a company’s long-term outlook, but workers are laid off before “sticky” wages will decrease. Similarly, the cost of living in an area may increase due to inflation, supply shocks, or simple income demographics — yet “sticky” wages will “lag” behind these changes, often not performing a cost of living adjustment for years at a time.

The principle works in reverse when wage increases drive up the cost of living. A “sticky CPI,” while not unprecedented, will tend to lag nominal wage growth, implying that CPI increases may soon become significantly larger in countries and states with consistent minimum wage increases. Historically, national minimum wage increases have been followed by year-over-year CPI gains, once factors like oil shocks and government fiscal spending and monetary policy are controlled for.

Many claim that minimum wages don’t increase inflation by simply comparing national inflation rates to minimum wage hikes. But this is an apples to oranges comparison. External factors, like an oil crisis, cold war, and even the political party controlling congress, confound inflation rates. An accurate comparison cannot be made without controlling for these factors, and even after controlling for known factors, previously undiscovered factors can suggest a lack of patterns where they exist and patterns where they do not exist.

Nevertheless, a correlation between inflation and minimum wage becomes stronger as more factors are controlled for in the economics literature. The most rigorous and comprehensive studies of U.S. inflation point to significant CPI increases caused by minimum wage hikes. (Read my article “On income inequality” for more examples of apples-to-oranges comparisons fueling misleading conclusions.)

I’ll conclude this section by addressing the most basic fallacy of the minimum wage — that it puts money in workers’ pockets, and their subsequent spending “boosts” the economy. Through a minimum wage, the total wealth transferred to workers doesn’t change — just its distribution favoring some low-wage workers over others. Those who retain their jobs do increase their spending — but so does their savings rate. The marginal propensity to consume, a measure of how much of one’s income he or she spends, decreases as one’s income rises. Individuals who make more money will likely save more. Hence, a minimum wage decreases net spending and increases net saving, undermining the overall economy by depressing aggregate demand. The effect is masked in state minimum wage hikes since disaffected workers leave — but the net negative result in economic activity can be obtained by combining the economic “prosperity” and economic “downturn” caused by higher wages and unemployment, respectively.

Whether it’s Connecticut, New York, Washington, or any state that has increased their minimum wage in pursuit of “fairer treatment,” it’s important to be critical of subjective language in policy-making and examine their real effects — especially if they have little empirical evidence to back them up.


3. Balanced Savings and Investments

Germany had the largest current account surplus in the world, which means that the country exported more than it imported. But this implies that German citizens are saving rather than spending, which hampers economic growth. Lagarde considers the current account surplus too large. She saw a significant challenge for Germany in terms of reducing the need for the population to save for retirement by encouraging older workers to stay in the workforce.

It is true that the coronavirus crisis led to temporary border closures and a reduction in trade. On the other hand, Germany's relatively low coronavirus-related deaths and early reopening of the economy could increase its advantages as trade resumes.


When Paper Clothing Was the Perfect Fit

For cost-conscious clothing shoppers in 1920, it must have seemed like a miracle: men’s suits in a choice of 50 different styles for a mere 60 cents each (about $7.66 today). What’s more, when a suit got dirty, you could easily clean it—with an eraser.

Paper clothing had arrived, largely imported from Germany and Austria, where World War I shortages of wool and other materials had spurred its development. It had already caught on in Italy and Turkey as well as England, which was still recovering from the effects of the war. As the Washington, D.C., Evening Star reported, German-made suits were selling in London for the equivalent of 46 cents to $1.95, and at the current exchange rate, a man could buy a new suit each week of the year for less than a single British-made wool suit would cost him.

Before the U.S. entered the war against Germany in April 1917, American newspapers and magazines ran admiring articles about the country’s inventiveness in developing substitutes for all kinds of raw materials. The German word ersatz, for “substitute” or “replacement,” was introduced to the everyday American vocabulary.

In January 1917, the New York Sun noted that the Germans had devised paper-based threads for making “sacks and bags, girdles, doilies, aprons, working garments,” as well as dresses and other clothing. “The inventors have discovered a way to give the ‘paper cloth’ great resistance to dampness,” the reported added, answering one obvious question on readers’ minds. Other articles noted that the Germans made parts of military uniforms out of paper, including those worn by their pilots and submarine crews.

Despite what skeptical readers may have assumed, the clothing wasn’t made by simply gluing sheets of paper together. As the trade publication Paper explained, the most common method was to “cut the paper into narrow strips and twist these strips on spindles” for weaving yarn. The yarn could then be woven into cloth on a loom, much like traditional fibers.

After the war’s end in November 1918, paper was heralded as an all-purpose super material perfect for the rebuilding of battle-ravaged France and Belgium. That included waterproof housing made of pasteboard and other paper products. “Such dwellings have oiled paper in place of glass windows. They will be put together with screws made of wood pulp,” the New York Sun reported in February 1919. “Tables, chairs and other bits of furniture now are being made of paper. Even kitchen utensils are so constructed.”

The advantage of paper-based products wasn’t just that they could be produced inexpensively they were also lighter to ship. What’s more, although countries like Germany and Austria were able to import wool again after the war, there wasn’t enough of it to go around. Even the United States, a wool exporter, faced a shortage, in part because so much of the material had been diverted to make uniforms, blankets, and munitions during the war. Trees, however, remained relatively plentiful, and the Germans had discovered that in a pinch it was possible to make cloth from reeds and other plants.

But it was the possibilities of paper clothing that captured attention in the U.S., especially after the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce imported a batch of Austrian paper suits, displayed them at its offices in Washington, D.C., and then sent them on tour to cities around the country. When the Washington exhibit opened in September 1920, the Associated Press noted that “one suit is quoted at fifteen cents, and is washable.” The exhibit also featured paper table covers, laundry bags, wall decorations and twine, among other items.

The A.P. reported that the suits were “described as warm, comfortable and durable, considering the fabric of which they are made, and not liable to tear or go to pieces when wet.” But a widely published news photo taken around the same time seemed to belie that image. A family of three—“mama, papa, and sonny”—posed for the camera wearing paper suits from Austria and looking about as comfortable as if they’d been dressed in grocery sacks.

Paper Dress, Campbell's Soup Company (National Museum of American History)

It might have seemed like a magnanimous gesture on the government’s part to promote products from nations the U.S. had recently fought on the battlefields of Europe. But there were more practical motives at work. The U.S. was still a major exporter of inexpensive clothing at that point, and American manufacturers would now have to compete against the far-cheaper paper products in foreign markets, where consumers often had little disposable income. The Commerce Department’s traveling exhibit could give clothing makers across the country a chance to examine their competition first-hand. What’s more, if paper clothing were to catch on, American paper mills and manufacturers might want in on the action too.

“It seems quite evident now that the German and Austrian manufacturers intend to cover the markets of the world with their paper substitutes for real clothing,” the American trade publication Textile World observed. On a more hopeful note, it added that, “Officials in Washington do not believe that this competition will ever be felt in the United States. The material used in the German product is too coarse and crude to meet with favor here to any extent unless many refinements are adopted.”

Still, the American public was intrigued, and some adventurous souls decided to try paper clothing on for size.

One reporter found a Philadelphia businessman strolling the boardwalk of Atlantic City in a “natty” suit of lightweight brown paper. Not only was his suit made of paper, he told his interviewer, but his shirt collar and necktie were as well. The suit had cost him 75 cents, the collar and tie 7 cents each, for a grand total of 89 cents. At the time, a wool suit alone would have cost him $30 or more.

While menswear seemed to get most of the attention, paper clothing for women and children was hitting the racks of many retailers, as well. A 1920 news photo showed three women happily modeling paper suits said to cost from 25 to 50 cents. And, the caption added, “they are washable.” In fact, some paper clothing could be washed, though only by hand, and it couldn’t be rung out afterwards but had to be hung up to dry.

The following summer, a news photographer snapped a female beachgoer in Chicago, modeling a $1.50 bathing costume created by a local paper manufacturer. The suit “has withstood surprisingly well all tests for rough treatment and water wear,” the caption reported. In the fall came reports of a Chicago manufacturer whose fancy $2 women’s hats offered an “imitation of straw and cloth [that] defies detection,” complete, in some cases, with paper feathers.

Also that fall, a paper suit created by a Wisconsin manufacturer drew crowds at a New York City trade show. The New-York Tribune reported that the suit was “extremely light in weight, a dark blue in color and to appearance very durable. At a short distance one easily mistakes it for a suit of tweed.”

Not everyone was convinced. A representative of the National Clothing Manufacturers’ Association scoffed that paper clothing “would not be practicable in America. We are too accustomed to pushing out our elbows or to stepping lively to exist long in a paper suit.”

The magazine Scientific American said that while the German imports “come pretty close to our American ideas of cheap but wearable clothes” they were “too heavy for comfort.”

Even the paper industry was unenthused. “No one,” a Yale professor of forest products wrote, “wants to wear paper clothing if he can get anything better.”

Indeed, by the mid-1920s, the novelty had worn off, due not only to paper’s limitations but to America’s roaring prosperity. It was a rare man who wanted to be seen about town in a 60-cent suit.

The arrival of the Great Depression in 1929 did little to revive interest in paper clothing, no matter how cheap. Consumers preferred to wear wool and cotton until it was threadbare rather than put on paper. Perhaps they thought they were suffering enough already.

Decades later, in the 1960s, paper dresses would make a brief comeback, with bold colors, pop-art patterns, and psychedelic designs. Groovy as the fad might have seemed at the time, it proved even shorter-lived than its 1920s forerunner.

While the 󈨀s dresses didn’t revolutionize the clothing business, they turned out to be a surprisingly good investment for anyone with the foresight to save one. An Andy Warhol-inspired paper dress featuring Campbell’s soup cans (which the soup company offered for $1 in 1968) sold for $1,600 at an auction this past May. Similar dresses are already in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington.

From that perspective, at least, paper clothing might not have been such a bad idea, after all.


NAFTA, globalization, and the U.S. economy

The U.S. economy created 21 million jobs between 1992 and March 2001 (Bureau of Labor Statistics 2003c). All of those gains are explained by growth in domestic consumption, investment, and government spending. The growth in the overall U.S. trade deficit eliminated production supported by three million jobs in the same period (Scott 2001). Thus, NAFTA and other sources of growing trade deficits were responsible for a change in the composition of employment, shifting workers from manufacturing to other sectors and, frequently, from good jobs to low-quality, low-pay work.

Since the onset of recession in early 2001, trade-displaced workers have been especially hard hit. Workers have experienced longer unemployment spells, and they have found it much more difficult to get new jobs. Many have concluded that their jobs in manufacturing will never come back. The growth of the trade deficit since early 2001 has contributed to an absolute decline of jobs, not just a shift in jobs from manufacturing to other sectors.

When trying to identify the causes behind trends such as the disappearance of manufacturing jobs, the rise in income inequality, and the decline in wages in the United States, NAFTA and growing trade deficits only provide part of the picture. Other major contributors include deregulation and privatization, declining rates of unionization, sustained high levels of unemployment, and technological change. While each of these factors has played some role, a large body of economic research has concluded that trade is responsible for at least 15% to 25% of the growth in wage inequality in the United States (U.S. Trade Deficit Review Commission 2000, 110-18). In addition, trade also has indirect effects on wage inequality by contributing to many of these other causes. For example, the decline of the manufacturing sector attributable to increased globaliza
tion has resulted in a reduction in unionization rates, since unions represent a larger share of the workforce in this sector than in other sectors of the economy.

Although NAFTA is not responsible for all U.S. labor market problems, it has made a significant contribution to the state of the U.S. economy, both directly and indirectly. Without major changes in NAFTA to address unequal levels of development and enforcement of labor rights and environmental standards, continued integration of North American markets will threaten the prosperity of a growing share of the U.S. workforce. Expansion of a NAFTA-style agreement, such as the proposed Free Trade Agreement of the Americas, will only worsen these problems. Past experience suggests that workers have good reasons to be concerned as NAFTA enters its second decade.

The author thanks Adam Hersh for his research assistance, and Josh Bivens for comments on earlier drafts.

EPI gratefully acknowledges the support of the Ford Foundation for the Workers and the Global Economy project.


Hyperinflation and Weimar Germany

Weimar Germany had greeted with total horror the financial punishment of Versailles. If Germany had paid off the sum of £6,600,000,000, she would have remained in debt to the Allies until 1987 !! However, by signing the Treaty of Versailles, she had agreed in principle to the issue of reparations and in 1921, Germany just about managed to pay its first installment of 2 billion gold marks. Weimar Germany was allowed to pay in kind (actual materials) as opposed to just cash. Most of this 2 billion was paid in coal, iron and wood.

In 1922, Weimar Germany simply could not manage to pay another installment. This the Allies did not believe – especially France where anger towards Germany still ran deep – and the German government was accused of trying to get out of her reparations responsibilities. This apparent refusal was only four years after the end of the war, and the attitude of the public towards Germany was still very hostile – and not just in France.

In 1923, French and Belgium troops invaded the Ruhr Germany’s most valuable industrial area. The French and Belgium troops took over the iron and steel factories, coal mines and railways. Those Germans who lived in the Ruhr and were considered not to be co-operating with the Germans were imprisoned. Food was taken. That this action by the French and Belgium broke the rules of the League of Nations – which both belonged to – was ignored by both countries. France was considered one of the League’s most powerful members and here she was violating its own code of conduct.

Weimar’s government responded by ordering the workers in the Ruhr to go on strike and it ordered all people in the Ruhr to passively resist the French and Belgium soldiers. This meant that they were not to openly confront the French and Belgium soldiers, simply that they were not to help them in any way whatsoever. This lead to violence and over the next 8 months of the occupation, 132 people were killed and over 150,000 Ruhr Germans expelled from their homes.

The order for workers to go on a general strike may have been patriotic but it had disastrous consequences for Germany as a whole. The Ruhr was Germany’s richest economic area and produced a great deal of wealth for the country as a whole. The huge Krupps steelworks was there. By not producing any goods whatsoever, Germany’s economy started to suffer. The striking workers had to be paid and the people expelled from their homes had to be looked after. To do this, the government did the worst thing possible – it printed money to cover the cost. This signalled to the outside world that Germany did not have enough money to pay for her day-to-day needs and whatever money may have been invested in Germany was removed by foreign investors.

Such a drop in confidence also caused a crisis in Weimar Germany itself when prices started to rise to match inflation. Very quickly, things got out of control and what is known as hyperinflation set in. Prices went up quicker than people could spend their money.

In 1922, a loaf of bread cost 163 marks.

By September 1923, this figure had reached 1,500,000 marks and at the peak of hyperinflation, November 1923, a loaf of bread cost 200,000,000,000 marks.

The impact of hyperinflation was huge :

People were paid by the hour and rushed to pass money to loved ones so that it could be spent before its value meant it was worthless.
People had to shop with wheel barrows full of money
Bartering became common – exchanging something for something else but not accepting money for it. Bartering had been common in Medieval times!
Pensioners on fixed incomes suffered as pensions became worthless.
Restaurants did not print menus as by the time food arrive…the price had gone up!
The poor became even poorer and the winter of 1923 meant that many lived in freezing conditions burning furniture to get some heat.
The very rich suffered least because they had sufficient contacts to get food etc. Most of the very rich were land owners and could produce food on their own estates.
The group that suffered a great deal – proportional to their income – was the middle class. Their hard earned savings disappeared overnight. They did not have the wealth or land to fall back on as the rich had. Many middle class families had to sell family heirlooms to survive. It is not surprising that many of those middle class who suffered in 1923, were to turn to Hitler and the Nazi Party.

Hyperinflation proved to many that the old mark was of no use. Germany needed a new currency. In September 1923, Germany had a new chancellor, the very able Gustav Stresemann. He immediately called off passive resistance and ordered the workers in the Ruhr to go back to work. He knew that this was the only common sense approach to a crisis. The mark was replaced with the Rentenmark which was backed with American gold. In 1924, the Dawes Plan was announced. This plan, created by Charles Dawes, an American, set realistic targets for German reparation payments. For example, in 1924, the figure was set at £50 million as opposed to the £2 billion of 1922. The American government also loaned Germany $200 million.

This one action stabilised Weimar Germany and over the next five years, 25 million gold marks was invested in Germany. The economy quickly got back to strength, new factories were built, employment returned and things appeared to be returning to normal. Stresemann gave Germany a sense of purpose and the problems associated with hyperinflation seemed to disappear.

1924 to 1929 is known as the Golden Age of Weimar. Berlin became the city to go to if you had money, the Nazis were a small, noisy but unimportant party. Above all, Stresemann gave Germany strong leadership.


Civil War Industry and Manufacturing

C. L. Bragg et al., Never for Want of Powder: The Confederate Powder Works in Augusta, Georgia (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2007).

Barry L. Brown and Gordon R. Elwell, Crossroads of Conflict: A Guide to Civil War Sites in Georgia (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2010).

T. Conn Bryan, Confederate Georgia (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1953).

Robert S. Davis Jr., Cotton, Fire, and Dreams: The Robert Findlay Iron Works and Heavy Industry in Macon, Georgia, 1839-1912 (Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 1998).

John R. deTreville, "The Little New South: Origins of Industry in Georgia's Fall-Line Cities, 1840-1865" (Ph.D. diss., University of North Carolina, 1985).

Clarence L. Mohr, On the Threshold of Freedom: Masters and Slaves in Civil War Georgia (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1986).

Chad Morgan, Planters' Progress: Modernizing Confederate Georgia (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2005).

Harold S. Wilson, Confederate Industry: Manufacturers and Quartermasters in the Civil War (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2002).