Berlin underperforms as Capital
A new study from a think tank in Cologne found that Berlin is the only capital in Europe that drags down its country’s average GDP per person. It means that Germans would be richer on average without Berlin.
This has partly historic reasons, for which today’s Berliner cannot be blamed: Germany is a federalist republic made up of 16 Länder, and because a strong, centralized Germany started two World Wars, it is now finally forbidden–written into German Basic Law, co-signed by the Allies–to centralize ever again. That in stark contrast to very centralized neighbors Great Britain and France, for example, where all important institutions, industry and commerce are located in London and Paris.
Federalism has ensured that the German lands have their own very important capital cities and seats of governments. They have their own economies, education systems, and they have developed their own trades and unique industries. Hamburg is known for its publishing industry and global trade. Frankfurt is the financial center. Stuttgart is home to the automobile industry. Munich is pharmacy, research, and agricultural industry. As a rule, Germany’s economic prowess is spread widely and distributed evenly, and wealth is transferred to weaker states in socialist Germany with the goal to raise and improve all regions and cities simultaneously. But Berlin… is a problem child.
A shameful past as the city’s best marketing strategy? Total fail!
Berlin is the official capital of reunified Germany. The West German government moved from Bonn to Berlin in 1991, when most pundits warned Berlin could rise again to pre-war eminence, drawing the best and brightest, disadvantaging the other Länders, and, finally, compete again as a Western center of civilization with Paris, New York and London. But somehow, that didn’t quite happen. Who came and “enriched” Berlin first were the leftists and hippies, the penniless artists, the petty criminals, the organized crime syndicates, the politicians, the diplomats, the shadow offices and letterbox companies, and–of course–tens of thousands of migrants from Eastern Europe. Add to this the disenfranchised East Germans. Half of Berlin looked like a communist shit hole. Really.
In short, there were never enough industries in Berlin for 4 million inhabitants, so the largest sections of the population form a permanent underclass. This can also be ‘cultural’. Educational levels are low. Crime rates are abysmal. Living costs are cheap. The city, because of its history of division and Nazi past, tries to attract tourists and send them down a presentable history lane with cool souvenir shops. But tourism produces little in terms of lasting material value. Sly marketers advertise Berlin as “poor but hip.” Students from all over Europe love Berlin, because it is dirt-cheap, the night-life is awesome, and everybody has no real job but seems to exist just fine.
The city’s former glory was killed by endless graffiti and the desecration of most public property. Tunnels and underground passages reek of beer and piss. Idiotic architecture projects have ruined the beauty. The Tiergarten, Berlin’s “central park,” is meeting point for heroin addicts, prostitutes, and migrant gangs. The central train station, made of glass and steel for saving costs, is ugly, short, and plastered with homeless, beggars, and pickpockets. The regime media ARD and ZDF are wasting tax payers money for propaganda, and so do most governmental Stiftungen: unproductive, government-leeching foundations.
The new Humboldt Forum, a replica of the pre-war Berlin palace, suddenly reminds everyone of Germany’s colonial atrocities. The Berlin TV tower has the thinnest, ugliest girth, and the Brandenburger gate–a clever optical illusion–is in reality tiny, while the US Embassy with its CIA headquarters is way too big. In truth, the main attraction in the square is an overcrowded US Starbucks cafe, reminding everyone that Germany really did surrender unconditionally. A ‘German shame and guilt’ holocaust memorial was erected, not vertically but horizontally, filling thousands of square-meters valuable city center space: “What is that for?” asked a boy his mother. “The Germans killed the Jews,” she replied.
It’s not going to be the last, final capital anyway
The Merkel regime meanwhile, now in power for a 4th term, resides in its security quarter solemn and alien: it is the most corrupt and criminal regime in Germany’s post-war history, and it is building an authoritarian, socialist state. Hence the retreat of capital and productivity from Berlin. A new central airport, Berlin-Schönefeld, now under construction in the eleventh years (!) and still no opening, is became the city’s ultimate proof of corruption, incompetence, and mismanagement.
As Berlin slows down Germany’s overall GDP growth, it certainly has made up for it in terms of “multiculturalism”–the new Marxist theory. There’s this deranged liberal ideology of ‘let it all mix and go to rot’… and a new breed will emerge–beautiful–and will repair and refresh the city’s economy. As to Berlin’s reputation as the capital of the German lands, the politicians and expert visionaries couldn’t care less: they see the future capital of all of Europe anyway in Brussels, so why work so hard.