In capitalist Europe, Germany is seen as the shining example of capitalist success. It is meant to be what the rest of Europe should try to aspire to, prosperity for all. Of course like all the tales of capitalist success, as far as the ordinary people are concerned it is all an illusion. The German Joint Welfare Association report on poverty for 2013 shows a very definite pattern of increasing poverty for Germany as a whole. It also states that from 2006 to 2012 the growth of poverty was steady going from 14% to 15.2%. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), approximately 10% of German children live in families whose income is below the poverty line. A UNICEF study finds that 8.6% of children in Germany have long term experiences of poverty that seriously affect their entire future. It also finds that more than 1 million adolescents have spent more than one third of their childhood and youth living in poverty.
Officially, homelessness doesn't exist in Germany, there are no official figures held by the state. So we have to rely on estimates made by independent groups that offer social assistance to such people. One institution that offers assistance to homeless, Bundesarbeitgemeinschhaft Wohnungslosenhilfe (BAG) states that their figures suggest that there are approximately 591,000 homeless in Germany, however if you add the homeless immigrants, the total looks more like 860,000, roughly the same size as the population of one of Germany's largest cities, Cologne. This figure breaks down as, approximately one third are women, almost the same number are young people and children, men making up 39%. BAG also estimates that approximately another million are under threat of homelessness, or living in sub-standard housing. It also estimates that some homeless with families can get some temporary accommodation with friends and relatives, but approximately 35,000 single people face living on the streets. A further figure from BAG states that in the winter of 1996/97, a staggering 27 people froze to death on the streets of Germany, one of the worst figures among the world's most prosperous nations.
That is the irony, one of the most prosperous nations on the planet and poverty, homelessness and freezing to death on the streets is accepted. It is the economist apologists for the capitalist system that can only see one side of the equation and spout German as a success story. Germany is growing rapidly in wealth, according to Manager Magazin, October issue, the assets of the richest 100 have increased during the last twelve months by 5.2% to a staggering €336.6 billion and there are 135 billionaires living in Germany and according to a recent study by Credit Suisse, there are approximately 1.7 million, “dollar millionaires” living in Germany.
In this insane capitalist world, success means rich getting richer, and the rest can go to hell in handcart.