The German people are not happy with their country’s financial system. Almost three quarters of them think it is unfair, according to a survey released on June 16 by the Bertelsmann Foundation. Of course, it is perfectly natural for people in almost every nation to complain about the economy, but the Germans may actually have grounds for genuine grievance considering that Germany is the largest goods exporting nation in the world—ahead of even China—yet a portion of its people are plagued by low wages and high unemployment.
In 2007, Germany produced its greatest trade surplus ever as its exports exceeded its imports by an astounding $288.5 billion. At the same time, the unemployment rate now stands at 7.9 percent. German export surpluses reputedly pay for deficits in Ireland, Italy, Spain and even France, while the German people scrimp and save to make ends meet. Between 2 and 7 million full-time employees in Germany could be classified as “working poor.”