Author Topic: The Berlin Wall’s great human experiment  (Read 1413 times)

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Offline Chris_

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The Berlin Wall’s great human experiment
« on: November 19, 2014, 03:44:23 PM »
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The Berlin Wall’s great human experiment

Over the past decade, the Berlin Wall has emerged as a uniquely powerful tool for answering questions about politics, economics, and human nature. How well does state propaganda actually work? What role do friendships play in stimulating business and trade? How does living under a repressive regime affect people’s inclination to trust strangers and government institutions?

At first, the researchers didn’t know what to expect. On the one hand, East Germans might be resentful of the system that had constrained their lives; on the other hand, it was also plausible that they had become comfortable with the notion that a government would provide for basic needs at the expense of an open society.

Alesina and Fuchs-Schundeln used data from a German survey administered in 1997, and split the respondents into two groups based on where they had lived before reunification. What they found was that, at that point, people from the East still tended to believe in the social-service model. They were also more likely to support a robust government program to help the unemployed, and significantly more inclined to believe that social conditions, rather than individual will, determined a person’s lot in life.
Boston Globe

It's a short article that raises some interesting questions.  Does dependence breed more dependence?
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Offline Eupher

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Re: The Berlin Wall’s great human experiment
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2014, 04:50:46 PM »
While active duty in the Army, I spent almost 15 years in Germany. I got to Berlin more than 6 years before the Wall came down and I saw it collapse. I spent the next two years in watching and actively supporting Reunification.

The article nails it. The Ossis came over the Wall, expecting government handouts left and right. And got them. This irritated the Wessis to no end, even with their left-of-center socialistic viewpoints on the role of the state in providing for the welfare of the people.

There was a LOT of animosity expressed toward the Ossis by the Wessis. The Wessis I talked to pretty much had the opinion that the Ossis needed to bust their collective asses in building their own society before they have the right to stand there with their hand out.

Meanwhile, trillions of Euros poured into the former East Germany. To the point that a lot of routine stuff in the West (particularly the sectors formerly occupied by the western Allies in Berlin) was neglected.

I think there's a lot of credence to the gist of this article. Humans can be lazy, and once humans begin to understand (falsely) that the government is the be-all, know-all, it's very easy for humans to acquiesce in their own responsibilities to themselves.

I call it the fundamental fallibility of man.  :whatever:
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Offline thundley4

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Re: The Berlin Wall’s great human experiment
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2014, 06:16:41 PM »
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For the next 28 years, East and West Germany were run about as differently as two countries could be. In East Germany’s controlled economy, every citizen was guaranteed a (low-paying) job, housing was owned and allocated by the state, and people couldn’t buy Levi’s jeans except on the black market. West Germany, meanwhile, grew into an economic and industrial powerhouse: By 1989 it was the third largest economy in the world, producing and selling a panoply of consumer goods

The East sounds like the DUmmies Utopia, doesn't it?  :stoner:

What's that story about feeding wild animals in the forest and slowly building a fence around them until they are trapped and ready for slaughter?

Offline Chris_

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Re: The Berlin Wall’s great human experiment
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2014, 06:18:43 PM »
The East sounds like the DUmmies Utopia, doesn't it?  :stoner:
Exactly.
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