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Buy Buy Europe, Part 4: Bratwurst, Lederhosen and Minijobs

by Stuart Jeanne Bramhall, Film Review

Buy, Buy Europe by Peter De Vos (2013) is a five-part miniseries describing how European banks have hijacked the euro monetary union to vastly increase their wealth. The upcoming Brexit vote in Britain makes this a particularly relevant topic.

Part 4:  Bratwurst, Lederhosen and Minijobs

This was the most eye-open segment for me. It exposes the punitive conditions imposed on German workers from 2000 with the goal of making German export industries more competitive. Under former chancellor Gerhart Schroeder, massive wage reductions were imposed on all German workers – something IMF chief Christine LaGarde likes to call “labor market reform.”

Among other labor “reforms,” were a massive increase in “minijobs” – low wage part-time temporary positions that pay an average of 400 ($US 448) euros a month. Given Germany’s high cost of living, both parents need to work 2-3 “minijobs” (if they can find them) to cover a family’s basic needs.

The result was truckloads of cheap German imports flooding into southern EU countries (Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy), shutting down local industries that couldn’t compete.

In this way, Germany’s vicious attack on their own workers forced wages down in other EU countries. This, in turn, forced countries like Greece and Spain to borrow lots of money from German banks to keep their governments going.

Ironically Germany currently has the highest number of working poor (7 million) of all EU countries.

Dr. Stuart Jeanne Bramhall is a retired child psychiatrist, activist, author, blogger, and journalist.   She is the author of The Most Revolutionary Act: Memoir of an American Refugee (e-book, soft cover), 21st Century Revolution, a collection of political essays, and two young adult novels, The Battle for Tomorrow (e-book, soft cover) and A Rebel Comes of Age.

 

 

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